23 Community Highlights: Peter Rabbit to Cinderella. History of Calendars to History of New Year’s Eve.

History of Calendars to History of New Year’s Eve. Snowshoeing to Hiking. Peter Rabbit to Cinderella

These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week:  Julian calendar, Gregorian calendar, Lunisolar calendar, Sumerian calendar, Mayan calendar… with the new year approaching, let’s talk calendars! The history behind each one of these systems of keeping track of the days in a year tells an interesting story about the societies from which they came and how they saw time and the cycles of nature. On Saturday afternoon, Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams is offering an educational program on the history of the calendar. Stop in with your interest and questions and learn about the history of the calendar.


Outdoor AdventuresFoodHistoryNew Year’s EveSTEMFamily PerformancesAstronomy


Outdoor Adventures

Once used as a necessary tool for fur traders and trappers, snowshoeing is the fastest growing winter sport in the U.S. With nearly 10% if all snowshoers being youth ages 7-11, it’s an exciting outdoor activity that encourages kids (and adults!) to get off their electronic devices and out into nature. This Saturday, December 28th, there are a couple of organized community opportunities to take your families on a snowshoe hike in the Berkshires! In the morning, families can explore Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield during a Snowshoe Trek, organized by the Trustees of Reservations, and in the afternoon families can join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for a 3-4 mile hike at Hollow Fields in Richmond.

First Day Hikes will be happening on the Wednesday, January 1st, the perfect way to start off your new year! The first is in Williamsburg with Williamsburg Woodland Trails on a hike along the Petticoat Hill Reservation/Locke’s Loop Trail. The hike goes through 100-year-old forest and shows signs of past land use, including old stone walls, cellar holes, and foundations of early farmsteads. In Monterey, celebrate the first day of 2014 with a hike at Beartown State Forest with DCR, exploring the forest while looking for signs of winter wildlife, and evidence of prior land use. In the afternoon in Lanesborough, hike Mt. Greylock with DCR and explore abandoned farmland and forest succession while looking for winter wildlife.

Food

Growing fresh vegetables in your own home garden contribute to gratifying and healthy family meals. But growing fresh veggies at home doesn’t have to only be limited to the warm months! Learn how to sprout seeds at the Amherst Winter Farmers’ Market free workshop, “Sprouting Seeds for Fresh Vegetables in the Winter Months” on Saturday afternoon, December 28th. Families can learn the many ways sprouts can be used and how they offer the opportunity to grow nutritious food in your kitchen in any season.

History

You are likely familiar with the Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but do you know the history or meaning behind it? Dr. Thomas Bernard will be at the Jones Library in Amherst on Saturday afternoon, December 28th, to discuss the deeper symbolic meaning of this well-known song, and how it can be used to tell a coded story in a talk, The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Mystery and the Meaning. This free talk will engage audience members with little-known facts and information about this classic song and inspire those interested in history and Christmas.

Julian calendar, Gregorian calendar, Lunisolar calendar, Sumerian calendar, Mayan calendar… with the new year approaching, let’s talk calendars! The history behind each one of these systems of keeping track of the days in a year tells an interesting story about the societies from which they came and how they saw time and the cycles of nature. On Saturday afternoon, Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams is offering an educational program on the history of the calendar. Stop in with your interest and questions and learn about the history of the calendar.

New Year’s Eve

Ever wonder about the history on New Year’s Eve? When was if first celebrated? Where did our modern day traditions originate? How is it celebrated in other cultures and countries? Check out this clip for facts about New Year’s Eve that we bet you didn’t know!

On New Year’s Eve here in Western MA, there are a number of community celebrations families can join in to celebrate the arrival of a new year: “Rockin’ Art Countdown” in North Adams; 17th Annual First Night Jr. in Holyoke; New Years Eve for Kids  in South Deerfield; and First Night Northampton, are a few families can choose from!

STEM

As part of School Vacation Week, the Springfield Museums presents a special Fun With Energy show with Jeff Boyer on Saturday afternoon, December 28th. Boyer will demonstrate the science of energy through interactive activities, get kids excited about the laws and forces that govern our world in this science show.

LEGOs are much more than small pieces of plastic that clutter up your living room floor and smart something awful when stepped upon with your bare feet… they are a great creative medium for kids interested in design and architecture, and can help them develop their own creative stories based on characters and structures that they build.  Kids can come have fun with Legos and Duplos on Monday, December 30th in the late afternoon at the East Longmeadow Public Library’s “Legos Block Party!” Stop by and use your imagination to create a Lego masterpiece!

Family Performances

Most kids are on Winter Vacation and there are several family performances to entertain the crew over this weekend, like Little Red Riding Hood in Amherst, David Grover and Grover’s Gang in StockbridgeToe Jam Puppet Band in Springfield, Peter Rabbit and the Bunny Hop in Pittsfield, and Cinderella Marionette Show in Lenox, During school vacation week, Rockin’ Art Countdown in North Adams, Gustafer Yellowgold in Springfield, and The Pirate, the Princess, and the Pea in Pittsfield happen too! So much fun to have in so little time!  How will you choose? Don’t forget that your library probably has a museum pass you can borrow for free museum admission to any of these show happening at one of our fabulous local museums!

Astronomy

Join the Springfield Museums for “Stars Over Springfield,” an introductory astronomy talk and star viewing at the Science Museum’s observatory, on Friday evening, January 3rd. Astronomy educator, Paul Cardone, will present a talk titled, “What’s New in Our Solar System?” The event is recommended for kids 8 and up, but younger children are welcome. If it is cloudy or rainy, a planetarium show will be presented in place of the live star viewing.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and many other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.

[Photo credit: (cc) Constance Taylor]

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