Suggested Events for July 5th-11th, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“I use your Facebook updates and your regular emails to find things to do with my kids every week. We just moved to western Mass about a year ago . . . at one of our first trips to the park another mom told me about you, and I am so glad she did! I’d be lost as a SAHM otherwise.” – Barbara Smith (Greenfield, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 5-Aug 3

Stiltwalkers, puppets, masks, theater and storytelling make for magical performances under the stars at Ko Festival of Performance — July 5-August 3 in Amherst! KoFest’s 23rd season, on the Amherst College campus, presents five weeks of theater, 15 performances, two all-ages events, three intensive theater workshops, a Story Slam, and so much more. Special family events are Saturday, July 5 at 5:00 pm: Carpetbag Brigade’s outdoor acrobatic stilt extravaganza, “Callings.” And Sunday, July 20 at 8:00 pm, don’t miss Mettawee River Company’s “The Dancing Fox” wisdom tales from the Middle East, told through puppetry and masks. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit: www.kofest.com or email: info@kofest.com

Jul 7-Aug 15

The Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums features great family entertainment every weekday, including fun art and science activities, live reptile demos and more, all free with museum admission! Great family shows every Wednesday – Friday, including the Tanglewood Marionettes on Thursdays, plus Grammy-nominated The Pop Ups, Mister G, and many others. There’s also Music in the Museums every Tuesday & Thursday for parents and kids age 0-5, plus the special Life Through Time exhibit of roaring, stomping mechanical dinosaurs and Ice-age mammals (extra fee). General admission is free on Friday, July 18 through the Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Friday program! Check www.springfieldmuseums.org for a full schedule.

Jul 10

Explore the amazing, up-close worlds of common animals—from butterflies and birds to frogs and flying squirrels—with award-winning photographer and writer David FitzSimmons at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley on Thursday, July 10 at 11am. With the help of the audience, David will perform parts of his Curious Critters picture books. Children will shriek like hawks, hop like toads, and slither like snakes. Learn how butterflies drink, ways mammals fly, and why frogs sing. Show includes puppets and take-home activities for all children at this free event! If that weren’t already enough, staff from Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary will share fun facts and artifacts from local critters, as well as a live turtle! www.odysseybks.com

Jul 9 – Aug 9

Join NCT Kids! this summer for 2 family-friendly musicals based on beloved children’s books. First up is Judith Viorst’s classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day about a boy who is having the world’s worst day! Sing along with Alexander as he learns that everyone has a bad day every now and then but the great thing is…there’s always tomorrow! Next up it’s the rollicking, mischievous, off-the-wall adventures of SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole! Based on the bestselling book series about the Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a chihuahua super hero, SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole is a tuneful romp through the big-top of Skippy’s imagination. For tickets call 413-585-3220 or online www.newcenturytheatre.org

Amherst Montessori School is now enrolling children ages 12 months – 6th grade for Fall 2014. AMS fosters the natural self-construction, cognitive development, and social-emotional well-being of each child in programs that include music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. Spanish language exposure for ages 3-12, with an optional Spanish bilingual classroom for ages 3-6 (Casa de Niños). Afterschool programming includes options like private instrument lessons, theater, soccer, and band. Limited spaces available at all levels. Contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org for more information. www.amherstmontessori.org

Circus Smirkus is coming to Northampton on July 29 & 30, and Hilltown Families is a proud premier sponsor! Find out how you can be our guests at one of the four shows taking place at the Three-County Fairgrounds! Subscribe to our eNewsletter and find out how you can enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets with preferred seating! Best seats in the house will give our guests an opportunity to see the award-winning, international traveling youth circus up close during this exuberant & joyful two-hour show! Presented by North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. For more info about the show, or to purchase tickets, visit www.northstarteens.org/circus-smirkus.

From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of Fourth of July celebrations happening in western Massachusetts! On the eve for July 4th, you can catch fireworks in Easthampton or South Hadley, and then on Friday, July 4th, fireworks and parades take place across the region, from North Adams to Springfield (some with rain dates)! Check our post, 2014 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western Massachusetts, for all the details!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer program, school, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
July 5th-11th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets

Berkshire Family Fun

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Time Capsule: Extraordinary Exhibit Lifts Lid on Historical Education

Artifacts from a Historical “Time Capsule” Revealed at Old Sturbridge Village
Ongoing through Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hingham, Massachusetts., known as “Bucket Town” due to its prominence in the early New England coopering industry, was also the home of the first and largest community of professional toymakers in America.

Now through mid-January 2015, visitors to Old Sturbridge Village will have the opportunity to view artifacts from a recently-excavated workshop on the Hersey Family Farm in Hingham, MA.  The workshop spent a century undetected, hidden under vines on the historical farm property, before being discovered in 2008.  It had inadvertently become a time capsule, capturing the scene of an early twentieth century New England woodenware and toymaker’s workshop and lying undisturbed for decades.

The exhibit, Bucket Town: Four Centuries of Toymaking and Coopering in Hingham, is on view at Old Sturbridge Village’s Visitor Center Gallery for the next six months.  It contains objects from the Hersey Shop that have never before been seen by the public – an intriguing collection of tools, personal artifacts, and exquisite handicrafts – in addition to a generous selection of handcrafted toys and woodenware made by Hingham-based toymakers and coopers.

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Five Catalysts to Connect us with Community-Based Learning

Catalysts + Communities: connecting children to learning

National awareness days, weeks and months are excellent catalysts for learning, like National Moth Week which takes place each July!

When engaging children in enriching learning experiences, the key to successfully identifying educational opportunities for your family is by providing relatable context. Not only are good learning experiences grounded in a familiar physical and cultural situations, they are also timely and should align with the seasonal and calendar-dictated events and natural phenomena that take place throughout the year.

Summer is, of all four of the seasons, perhaps the most opportune season during which to engage children in community-based learning. Traditional students have lots of freedom once school is out for the summer, and along with the pleasant weather comes fascinating natural events and endless community events, both big and small. All of these things can serve as catalysts for learning, helping to either spark curiosity in a new subject or deepen children’s understanding of a topic of special interest to them.

Catalysts for community-based learning come in all shapes and sizes, and no two are alike. Common catalysts for learning include seasons, holidays, current affairs and events, phenology, anniversaries, and special awareness times (days, weeks, months). Each of these catalysts can provide engaging and exciting learning for families, and opportunities are available throughout the summer (and the rest of the year as well!) for learning about almost any topic. In fact, there are some fantastic examples of catalysts for community-based learning coming up during the next few weeks here in western Massachusetts – each of which represents one of the categories into which such experiences typically fit.

Read on to see five highlighted catalyst categories…

Parenting Green: Make Yourself Re-useful

Lead by example and develop new habits in reusing materials

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. But do it from reusable water bottles.

I know this to be true about water bottles… They make you drink more water; especially when they’re new, and you’re a kid. It’s worth it to me for our kids to get excited about the purchase of a new one, especially now that summer is finally here. I often forget in those first weeks about switching gears into full-hydration mode, and making sure that everyone is drinking enough water. Without fail, getting a new containment method for liquids provides enough entertainment that even I have fun drinking more.

There are so many choices of BPA free plastic ones and gloriously colored stainless steel ones, you’ll be sure to find your muse. In the $15-30 sticker price, you might convince yourself you’ll be done buying them because they last forever, but they also get lost so easily. (Maybe they’re all where I left my reusable bags.) Then I think about all those moments when I want a cold drink when I’m out and about: an iced coffee, or chai, or a smoothie from the cafe. These are ALL moments we can hand our reusable container over the counter and have it filled up. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Times Summer Reading Contest for Teens Inspires Literacy via Current Affairs

New York Times Summer Reading Contest for Teens

For many teens, summer can be a whirlwind of activity – between outdoor explorations, visiting friends, working on hobby projects, and maybe some volunteer work or a part-time job, there often isn’t much free time left! However, many schools send students home with a list of books – some required, some suggested – that they are to read and fully digest during their break from classes. Adding some educational material to the summer isn’t a bad thing – though teens can be very busy, it’s also quite healthy for them to stimulate their intellectual curiosity. School lists can include everything from Fyodor Dostoevsky to Barbara Kingsolver, and are compiled with the students’ learning and growth in mind.

The New York Times is, for the fifth summer in a row, offering an additional way for teens to learn and grow through summer reading. However, instead of focusing on major literary works, the program uses the Times’ own content as “required” reading. The New York Times Summer Reading Contest asks teenagers to read at least one interesting news item per week, and to share a brief piece of writing about why the piece sparked their interest. Open to students ages 13-19, the contest allows for one entry per week – meaning that students are welcome to read as many pieces as they want, but that they must choose a single one to write their submission on. After the week has ended, one student opinion will be posted on the New York Times website!

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4th of July: Connecting us to History

Day of celebration offers opportunity for families to reflect on history

4th of July means fireworks but also is a time for families to reflect upon the historical significance and meaning of this patriotic holiday

The most patriotic of all American holidays, the 4th of July, is a day filled with history and tradition. With its roots reaching over 200 years back, the holiday’s origin is well known by all – it’s the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed, sparking a revolution and the creation of the United States. Today, we remember the historical significance of the day with parades, readings, and – of course – lots of fireworks.

Community celebrations of the 4th of July will take place all across western Massachusetts, and bring with them not only celebration but also opportunities to learn about our country’s history, and to reflect on the meaning of freedom. Beginning with a morning filled with parades and running right straight through to the end of the very last fireworks show, the region is jam-packed with 4th of July events.

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Hindsight Parenting: The Rise and Fall of The “Cool” Kid

Popularity is a Bad Word

Most of know the movie and how cool kids had quite the air about them. Of course it’s not restricted to girls. Popularity and ‘cool’ kids applies to boys too.

Dear Moms and Dads of Future Cool and Popular Kids,

I’ve seen your children—in my classroom, on the playground, at my daughters preschool. I’ve seen them shun the non-conformists, the quirky kids, the ones who may be poorer, or look different, or think different. I’ve seen them. I know them. I once wanted desperately to be them (and perhaps in retrospect WAS one of them.)

It must feel mighty comfortable there on the top. It might feel good to have the daughter who is the “it” girl or the son who’s the “it” guy. However, don’t get too comfy with your child’s top of the world status. Nope. I wouldn’t. Here’s the thing, I know something because of my mighty friend, Hindsight, that was just confirmed by scientist Joseph Allen. It might be great to be on top of the school food chain but that stature is short lived and quite often those kids deemed popular flounder as young adults because they don’t learn the highly necessary skill of learning to adapt to challenges and the constructs of real life. Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 2014

“I moved to Western MA a year ago and this website is my resource for most of our family outings. I look at it weekly to plan an adventure and have used it as my ‘summer fun’ planning guide this year. I appreciate the work you are doing to collect this information and it has made a huge difference in my understanding of the variety and cultural diversity there is to offer in this area!” – Erica Cruz (Adams, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of July. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Vocabulary Parade: The Personality of Words Brought to Life

Looking beyond the definition and putting essence into your word

Students at Littleville Elementary School in Huntington, MA, created costumes that sent hundreds of words marching through the building just before school let out this summer!  Over 250 students, teachers and staff took part in this year’s parade. –“This celebration is a great way for children to expand their vocabulary, and gives them words they can use in their Writer’s Workshop,” said Principal Megan Coburn.

Looking for ways to support children in adding new words to their vocabulary? Dress up your child’s inner dictionary – literally! Inspired by children’s author Debra Frasier’s story Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster, children everywhere have been creatively solidifying their understanding of big, new, and necessary words by dressing up as a definition and joining together for a Vocabulary Parade!

Just like in Frasier’s story, kiddos can use new words as inspiration for a creative costume. Working to determine what a word would look like if its essence could be worn challenges young readers and writers to think critically about what it is that a word truly means. Even words with definitions that seem simple to understand (or simple to dress as) can become complex, well-though-out projects costumes. Searching for meaning other than a dictionary definition can help add depth to the activity, too. Try working on a word like “dinosaur” – sure, making a T-Rex costume would certainly convey what a dinosaur might look like, but we might also say that a corded rotary phone is a dinosaur, or that a DOS computer is a dinosaur. Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Arthur Dorros’ “Abuela”

Abuela
by Arthur Dorros

Literature Guide: Abuela

Set in urban Manhattan, Arthur Dorros’ story Abuela combines magic, memories, and bilingual text to tell a beautiful and imaginative story about childhood, family, immigration, and Hispanic culture. Paired with beautiful images created by illustrator Elisa Kleven, Abuela is an excellent example of a bilingual and multicultural children’s book.

In the story, young Rosalba and her abuela (grandmother) are returning by bus from a trip to feed the birds. During the ride – perhaps inspired by recent interactions with feathered friends – Rosalba wonders what it would be like to fly, and to see the city from the sky. She and her grandmother go on a wonderful imaginary adventure, exploring some of Manhattan’s greatest sights from a new angle. They examine the shapes of clouds, pay a visit to the Statue of Liberty, and greet the rooftops from above. Alongside the events of Rosalba’s imaginary journey are stories that her grandmother tells of her life before she immigrated to New York. Inspired by Rosalba’s ideas, the stories teach Rosalba (and readers of the story) about her abuela’s cultural roots and what her life was like before she immigrated to New York City.

Abuela is a fantastic story to pair with studies of Hispanic culture, and presents families with an opportunity to learn some basic Spanish phrases together. Read the rest of this entry »

State Forests & Parks: Treasure for all to Enjoy

So Much Fun for So Little Money
Massachusetts State Forests & Parks

In the extreme southwest corner of Massachusetts is a cluster of state parks noted for their spectacular scenery and breathtaking views, including Mount Washington State Forest. Adjacent to the state forest is Bash Bish Falls, one of the state’s most dramatic waterfalls. Cascading water tumbles through a series of gorges, and then plummets some 60 feet into a sparkling pool below. One of the many “so much fun for so little money” locations the DCR manages.

  • “Come out and play!”
  • “Find yourself in a state park.”
  • “It’s your nature.”

These are some of the phrases Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has used over the years to invite visitors to Massachusetts state Forests and Parks.  They are all true. Here’s another one:  “So much fun for so little money!” It’s unofficial, of my own invention, and so true, too.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation – the state forests and parks – kicks its recreation season into high gear in June.  Plan a visit.  Plan lots of visits.  Let’s talk about the “so much fun” part first.  “For so little money” is covered later in this article.

SO MUCH FUN

The first thing to know about your state Forests and Parks is that there are lots of them – approximately 150 sites throughout Massachusetts. They range from small “pocket parks,” such as playgrounds, in eastern Massachusetts, to several thousand acre forests in western Massachusetts. October Mountain in Berkshire County, at over 16,000 acres, is one of the largest.

The point is this:  Each park is special in its own unique way, whether it is a geologic wonder, like Natural Bridge‘s marble formations in North Adams; or the state’s highest peak, Mt. Greylock State Reservation, in Lanesboro; or waterfalls like the 80-foot Bash Bish Falls in Mt. Washington; or even re-claimed forest land, such as Erving State Forest and many of our other state forests. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Local Food Episode with Guest DJ, Orange Sherbet Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Local Food Celebration with Guest DJ, Orange Sherbet

Listen to Podcast:

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am

June  28th & 29th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video:  Orange Sherbet wrote this little musical ditty about seasonal foods that can be found on the Local Foods Wheel. Animation by Sarah Klein www.orangesherbet.org


 Archived Podcasts ♦ Radio  Facebook  Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Brady Rymer – Fresh Brown Eggs – What’s Eatin’ Yosi?
  • Michelle Shocked – Strawberry Jam – Arkansas Traveler
  • Orange Sherbet – Waffle Day – Delicious
  • The Nields – Aiken Drum – All Together Singing in the Kitchen
  • The Little Willies – Roly Poly– The Little Willies
  • Dan Zanes – All Around the Kitchen – Family Dance
  • Henhouse Prowlers – Homegrown Tomatoes – Henhouse Prowlers
  • Orange Sherbet – Garden Song – Delicious
  • Barenaked Ladies – Food Party – Snacktime!
  • King Curtis and the Kingpins – Memphis Soul Stew – King Size Soul
  • Orange Sherbet – Springtime – Delicious
  • Chip-Man & The Buckwheat Boys – Peanut Butter Jelly Time – Peanut Butter Jelly Time
  • Session Americana – Food Opera – Table Top People Vol 1
  • Jose-Luis Orozco –El Chocolate – De Colores – Vol 9
  • Dave Rawlings Machine – Sweet Tooth – A Friend of a Friend
  • The King Cole Trio – Save the Bones for Henry Jones – Nat King Cole
  • Orange Sherbet – Delicious – Delicious
  • Cab Calloway & His Orchestra – Everybody Eats When They Come to My House – Nicky’s Jazz For Kids

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 28th & 29th , 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 28th-July 4th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 26 Community Highlights: Fireworks to Bedrock. Garden Party to Campfire. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: June 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs, and 2014 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks gives you a heads up for the 4th of July!

June 28th-July 4th, 2014

SaturdaySunday MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


4th of July ♦ Geology ♦ Bird Studies ♦ History ♦Museum Adventures ♦ Dance ♦ Astronomy ♦ Plant Studies ♦ Outdoor Adventures ♦ Community Celebrations ♦ Reading & Writing ♦ STEM ♦Community Service ♦ Maps ♦ Agriculture

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Journal-Making: Inspiration for Writing & Drawing
  2. Five Picture Books That Bubble And Splash
  3. Get involved! Service-Learning Opportunities in Western MA
  4. Oak & Acorn: Edible Summer Flowers
  5. Camping with Kids

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too! Click here to read the rest of our RECAP MAP!…

26 Community Highlights: Fireworks to Bedrock. Garden Party to Campfire.

Grow Food Amherst will have a special free event for kids each week at the Amherst Wednesday Market in Kendrick Park. This week on Wednesday afternoon, July 2, kids can learn how to become a “fungi ally.”

Fireworks to Bedrock. Dancing to Fungi. Garden Party to Campfire… 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:  Did you know that Hawley has a rich geologic history? From pillow rocks to a 25-foot by 25-foot charcoal kiln, Hawley has plenty of interesting geology to learn about! You can explore Hawley’s geology with the Sons and Daughters of Hawley at their annual Hawley tour, “The Bedrock of our Foundation: Rocks and Gardens of Hawley,” on Saturday, June 28. Bud Wobus, Professor of Geology at Williams College, will speak about Hawley’s many interesting rocks and geologic features. Participants can also see and learn about the town’s charcoal kiln, which dates back to 1870 and was used to produce charcoal fuel for local industry. Older students interested in local history and geology would enjoy this fascinating and unique tour.


4th of JulyGeologyBird StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresDanceAstronomyPlant StudiesOutdoor AdventuresCommunity CelebrationsReading & WritingSTEMCommunity ServiceMapsAgriculture


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Suggested Events for June 28th-July 4th, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“My husband, young son and I moved to the area almost exactly a year ago and we have been avid readers of Hilltown Families since months before then! It’s been an invaluable resource for getting to know the community and for learning about some of the amazing activities, events and institutions…” – Alla K. (Northampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Jun 28

Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield (25 Greenfield Road) is hosting a Doll’s Day Out Luncheon on Saturday, June 28th at 11am. Whether it’s an American Girl doll or a beloved baby, every doll deserves a fabulous day out! The award winning kids menu will be available with a special sweet treat included. Adults will be offered the brand new lunch menu! Mrs. Claus will be making a special appearance with her own favorite doll and beautiful handmade doll clothes will be for sale. Call 413-665-1277 to make reservations for this great event! Chandlers.yankeecandle.com ($)

Jul 1 – Aug 19

Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley hosts Camp Odyssey this summer! This once-a-week one hour craft camp features one book and activity for kids every Tuesday afternoon, July 1-Aug 19. Activities range from designing your own glitter tattoos, decorating cupcakes, making and taking home your very own lava lamp, plus many other activities. Appropriate for ages 4-12, depending on activity. Visit their web site at www.odysseybks.com for a full list of their summer long activities. There is a $3 supply fee (or the purchase of the book) to participate, and RSVPs are required at least two days prior. Hurray! Spots are filling up fast! Odyssey Bookshop is located at 9 College Street in South Hadley. 413-534-7307

Jul 9 – Aug 9

Join NCT Kids! this summer for 2 family-friendly musicals based on beloved children’s books. First up is Judith Viorst’s classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day about a boy who is having the world’s worst day! Sing along with Alexander as he learns that everyone has a bad day every now and then but the great thing is…there’s always tomorrow! Next up it’s the rollicking, mischievous, off-the-wall adventures of SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole! Based on the bestselling book series about the Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a chihuahua super hero, SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole is a tuneful romp through the big-top of Skippy’s imagination. For tickets call 413-585-3220 or online www.newcenturytheatre.org

Ticket Giveaway: 2014 Green River Festival! The 28th annual Green River Festival happens again this year on July 12th & 13th, 2014… and Hilltown Families has two pairs of tickets to giveaway, one pair for each day! With a free pair of tickets, and free admittance for children ten and under, two adults can take a gaggle of kids and plan on spending the day at this great western Massachusetts music festival! Find out how you can enter for a chance to win!

Circus Smirkus is coming to Northampton on July 29 & 30, and Hilltown Families is a proud premier sponsor! Find out how you can be our guests at one of the four shows taking place at the Three-County Fairgrounds! Subscribe to our eNewsletter and find out how you can enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets with preferred seating! Best seats in the house will give our guests an opportunity to see the award-winning, international traveling youth circus up close during this exuberant & joyful two-hour show! Presented by North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. For more info about the show, or to purchase tickets, visit www.northstarteens.org/circus-smirkus.

From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of Fourth of July celebrations happening in western Massachusetts beginning this weekend! Fireworks are happening in Holyoke on Friday, June 27, and four more displays are planned for Saturday, June 28. On the eve for July 4th, you can catch fireworks in Easthampton or South Hadley, and then on Friday, July 4th, fireworks and parades take place across the region, from North Adams to Springfield! Check our post, 2014 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western Massachusetts, for all the details!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer program, school, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
June 28th-July 4th 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Talk: Applying the Puppy Blueprint in a Toddler’s World

Puppy and Toddler: Nine Teaching Tips

The Puppy learns through play as it helps sharpen the senses and develop problem solving skills- just like toddlers.

I bought a 4 month old puppy last month. It’s been a lot of years since even my grandchildren have been “puppies” and I’m working to reacquaint myself with the motivations of my new dog, Cricket. Luckily, I’m also working with toddlers lately in my practice. I’m finding that I can use many of the same guidelines when teaching both.

Obviously, children have many more cognitive skills than dogs, but I’ve found that some general guidelines apply to both toddlers and puppies!

1. A puppy and a toddler learn through play. It’s their “job” to use all their senses to develop fine and gross motor skills, social skills, and problem solving skills. As disruptive as that can be for time schedules and efficiency, learning happens in play. Toddlers are experiencing most things for the first time. So allow time for these rich moments of exploration. (Last night, during potty time outside, Cricket discovered fireflies!) Also, all activities should be fun so they will want to do it again. Repetition is how they learn deeply. It’s up to the adults to keep activities safe and fun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Western MA State Forests: Hands On Education in Our Backyard

Western MA State Forests & Parks Offer Educational Opportunities for Students
By Guest Writer, Gini Traub

As a tax-supported agency, DCR’s educational programs are offered free of charge. They are available to public, private, and home school groups, scouts, and adult learners. Here’s a quick run-down of field trip opportunities in the Connecticut River Valley.

When you hear the term, “Field Trip,” what do you think?

Recently I spoke with a teacher at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter School in Framingham. This middle school emphasizes expeditionary education with field trips for students. “But we don’t call them field trips,” the teacher said. “Students think a field trip is a day to goof off. We call them field work and field research, just like scientists do.”

I couldn’t agree more, even though I still call them “field trips.” I’m a regional educator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the agency that manages the state forests and parks. There is so much to learn and discover in them. And it fits with so much of what’s taught in the classroom.

Why not take classroom learning and see how it’s applied in the field? The subjects can be geology, soils, plants, and ecology. It can be history, too: No matter where we walk in wooded Massachusetts, chances are we will find evidence of past human activity, what I sometimes call hidden history. Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Pulling the Chicken Chore Card

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Keeping Chickens with Toddlers

Chicken CoopHaving chickens is rewarding in many ways; they connect us directly to the food chain, give us a sense of belonging to the land and allow the children to take a hands on approach to caring for animals. Having chickens in or backyard brings the farm to us. It gives us the familiar rewarding feeling that hard work can bring. This sense of accomplishment is tri-fold to a toddler!

We have just recently begun the art of animal husbandry at our family day care, and my toddlers love chickens! When they pull the chicken chore card, they are so excited, becoming focused and eager. The chicken chore is combined with the compost chore, since the compost area is nearby. We usually have four chicken and compost helpers per day. With the proper preparation is in place, I have found caring for chickens to be extremely easy and rewarding for toddlers. Read the rest of this entry »

Harriet the Spy Turns 50!

After surviving early library bans; continues to inspire critical thinking, writing and observation skills in children. 

Now through November 30, 2014, the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst invites you to a special exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of author and illustrator Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 book Harriet the Spy.  The exhibition will feature a selection of original drawings from both Harriet the Spy and its sequel, The Long Secret.  Eleven year old Harriet, the only child of wealthy New York socialites, wants to be a writer, and spends her afternoons secretly observing her friends and neighbors and recording her observations in a notebook.  The book helps readers explore themes of class, gender, and friendship in the 1960’s.

Harriet the Spy is now widely regarded as a classic children’s story – even more well-known and well-loved following its reincarnation as the 1996 film of the same name starring a young Michelle Trachtenberg – but, interestingly enough, when the book was first published in the mid-sixties, it received a good deal of controversy and was even banned by some libraries!  Compared with other children’s and young adult book characters at the time, Fitzhugh’s curious, independent, impatient, and tomboyish young protagonist challenged dominant social ideas about how children, girls in particular, could and should behave.  Many reviewers have since noted, though, that it is precisely Harriet’s fierce independence and desire to understand other people through observation that endears her to readers of all ages.  Her “bad” behavior is relatable, and a refreshingly honest portrayal of childhood, while her struggle to stay true to herself and her ideas in a world that doesn’t understand or appreciate deviance from the norm resonates deeply with readers on their own path to self-discovery. Read the rest of this entry »

Family Camping Grows Respect for Nature

Great American Backyard Campout invites families to camp outdoors, even if it is in their own backyard

Get up close and personal with nature with you family via camping…even if it’s just in your own backyard!

One of the most classic summertime adventures is a weekend of camping. Those of us who went camping as children likely have fond memories (or cautionary tales!) of sleeping in a tent, cooking over a fire or camp stove, and spending full days exploring outside, collecting treasures, and building forts and nature sculptures. It’s likely, too, that many of our readers have made a commitment to sharing these experiences with our children – taking them to sleep outside, teaching them basic survival skills, and giving them small-scale adventures similar to those we enjoyed as kids. And it’s a good thing that so many of us do so – studies have shown that people who are given the opportunity to explore nature as children are far more likely to grow up to have a respect for nature and to support environmentally conscious behaviors.

This month, the National Wildlife Federation offers families a chance to experience the magic of camping together, while also helping to raise money for the organization’s wild-life saving conservation efforts. This year’s Great American Backyard Campout takes place on June 28th, and calls for families to spend a night camping out together – even if it’s just in their own backyard. Read the rest of this entry »

Family Volunteer Event Helps to Close the Summer Meal Gap!

Summer Family Volunteer Event at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
Tuesday, July 1 from 12noon –  4pm

You can help close this “Summer Meal Gap” for working families in Western Massachusetts by bringing your family to The Food Bank’s Summer Family Volunteer Event on Tuesday, July 1 from 12noon-4pm in Hatfield, MA. Everyone is welcomed.

Without school meals, grocery budgets are stretched to the brink, and many parents find it difficult to replace the two to three free meals they receive five days a week during the school year. Nearly half of the families must make tough choices between paying for food and paying for utilities, fuel, rent, mortgage or medical care, because they don’t have enough money to meet all these basic needs.

How important are school meals to kids in our area?

  • 1 out of 5 children in Western Massachusetts are classified as “Food Insecure.”
  • More than 365,000 children (nearly 2/5 of Massachusetts students) receive free or reduced meals in school.
  • Families that rely on school feeding programs must provide an additional 10 meals per child for each week of summer!

You Can Help

You can help close this “Summer Meal Gap” for working families in Western Massachusetts by bringing your family to The Food Bank’s Summer Family Volunteer Event. Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Esther Averill’s “The Fire Cat”

The Fire Cat
by Esther Averill

Sometimes, you just need a silly story.

And Esther Averill’s The Fire Cat is exactly that.

A Harper Collins I CAN READ book, and originally published in 1960, The Fire Cat tells the story of a spotted cat named Pickles, who has big paws and lots of trouble figuring out what to do in life. After bumbling around a bit, and receiving help from the wonderful Mrs. Goodkind, Pickles is eventually adopted by a fire department, and learns to be a fire cat! He uses his big paws to do all sorts of fire cat jobs, and grows into himself more and more the longer he stays at the fire house. Read the rest of this entry »

Innovative Library Summer Reading Programs Stimulate Learning

Holistic and collaborative approach to reading programs boosts child’s summer learning experience

Children are stimulated to learn more about science through reading fiction and non-fiction books with this year’s nationwide reading program, “Fizz, Boom, Read!”

Once school days come to an end, children’s free time becomes seemingly endless. From a youngster’s perspective, the summer reaches on forever – nine or ten weeks can feel like an eternity when it’s impossible to imagine all of the things that will occupy the time between now and September. In addition to camp, family vacations, and endless outdoor adventures (swimming especially!) is another summer tradition – public library summer reading programs!

In Massachusetts – and across the country – public libraries participate in the Collaborative Summer Library Program. Each year brings a new theme to the program, and libraries work to incorporate educational programs, celebrations of learning, and constant reading in order to provide a comprehensive summer reading program that not only encourages families to read together, but allows participants’ reading to be supported by educational activities that relate to the program’s theme. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Lifeline Waterways

River Trees

Make the world of rivers bigger than the world of pavement inside of you!

Imagine—by float, boat or walking, you’re in the river as it wends past farmland, backyards and woods, through plains, valleys and gorges. After an hour, the initial thrill of united movement, of flesh and water and flow, has passed, and so have the conversations. The river begins to insinuate your skin and re-network your synapses; you start thinking like a river. Feel the expansion.

Hear the river sound; its voice (like ours) combines the everything it passes through, and that passes through it (for it breathes and eats with its mouth open): the more obstructions, the more turbulence; the more turbulence, the louder the growl. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Bluegrass & American Roots Episode with Guest DJ, Jordan Shapiro (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Bluegrass & American Roots Episode
with Guest DJ, Jordan Shapiro of Astrograss

Listen to Podcast:

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
June 21st & 22nd, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: “This Land is Your Land” by Astrograss, filmed in Manhattan & Brooklyn, NY. – www.astrograssforkids.com


 Archived Podcasts ♦ Radio  Facebook  Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • The New Lost City Ramblers – Sail Away Ladies – The New Lost City Ramblers – Volume Five
  • The Foghorn String Band – Golden Slippers  – Weiser Sunrise
  • Pete Seeger – Yankee Doodle – American Folk, Game and Activity Songs for Children
  • Cat Stevens – If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out – Footsteps in the Dark: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
  • The Be Good Tanyas – Oh, Susanna – Blue Horse
  • Jerry Garcia/David Grisman – Hot Corn, Cold Corn – Not For Kids Only
  • Astrograss – Cluck Old Hen – The Colored Pencil Factory
  • Barry Lewis Polistar – All I Want is You – ‘Juno’ soundtrack
  • Billy Bragg/Wilco – Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key – Mermaid Avenue
  • Pete Seeger/Arlo Guthrie – If I Had a Hammer – Precious Friend
  • Astrograss – Drunken Sailor – Let Me Stay Up All Night
  • Dan Zanes – Sloop John B. – Sea Music
  • John Hartford – Good Old Electric Washing Machine – Catalogue
  • Shel Silverstein – Boa Constrictor – Where the Sidewalk Ends
  • Astrograss – Hungry Mungry – Astrograss for Kids
  • Woody Guthrie – The Car Song – This Land is Your Land: The Asch recordings, Vol. 1
  • Woody Guthrie – Rubber Dolly – Muleskinner Blues (The Asch Recordings 2)
  • Astrograss – This Land is Your Land – This Land is Your Land

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 21st & 22nd , 2014


Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 21st-27th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 29 Community Highlights: Battle of the Books to Scavenger Hunt. Shaker Dinner to Strawberry Jam. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: June 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs, and 2014 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks gives you a heads up for the 4th of July!

June 21st-27th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


American HistoryRiver StudiesAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryInsectsFizz, Boom, Read!Local Food/StrawberriesLiteracyMusic HistoryCultureHikes

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Q&A: What’s a Good Non-Toxic Bug Repellant?
  2. Make Your Own Natural Itch Relief Spray Using Wildcrafted Herbs
  3. 30 Recommended Folk Remedies to Make in the Summer
  4. 3 Podcasts for the Summer
  5. Language Play: Transitions in the Summer

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Click here to read the rest of our RECAP MAP!…

29 Community Highlights: Battle of the Books to Scavenger Hunt. Shaker Dinner to Strawberry Jam.

Join Grow Food Amherst for a strawberry jam making workshop on Saturday, June 21! Come pick your own strawberries and then learn how to cook and preserve it so you can enjoy the fruit all year long. This workshop would be best for teens and adults interested in food preservation. This skillsharing workshop is free but you must pay for the strawberries you pick, and you must preregister.

Scavenger Hunt to Bug Safari. Strawberry Jam to Shaker Dinner. Battle of the Books to Medieval Festival…. 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:  Did you know that some animals can survive in sub-zero temperatures? And that some are able to climb great heights and steep slopes or rocks? It is amazing how animals are able to evolve and adapt to their surroundings! You can learn about how and why some of these animals had to change to make themselves better suited to their environments at the Hatfield Public Library‘s “Amazing Adaptations” program on Tuesday morning, June 24. This free program focuses on mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates and how they have evolved and adapted over time. Kids will have fun meeting and learning all about these fascinating creatures and how where they life impacts their adaptations.


American HistoryRiver StudiesAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryInsectsFizz, Boom, Read!Local Food/StrawberriesLiteracyMusic HistoryCultureHikes


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for June 21st-27th, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“I discovered Hilltown Families about 3 years ago, shortly after the birth of my first child.  I grew up here, and felt like I had a pretty good grasp on community events and going-ons.  I read the local newspaper, worked in a public school, attended town meetings…but I still felt like I wasn’t ‘in the loop’ when it came to family-oriented life in the area.  Hilltown Families has definitely opened us up to new adventures, even things that have been going on for years that we just hadn’t ever checked out…” Lillian W. (Shelburne Falls, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Jun 26

Acupuncture and Cancer Care. There are increasingly complex and successful interventions for the treatment and management of cancer. While supportive care for symptom management has improved, there are many side effects of treatment and consequences of cancer that affect quality of life in cancer survivors. The Role of Acupuncture in Cancer Care, a Cooley Dickinson/Mass General Hospital lecture, will examine the role of acupuncture in the alleviation of symptoms of pain, bowel disorders, neuropathy, anxiety, and depression. The importance of a holistic approach to cancer care and survivorship issues will be reviewed. Thursday, June 26, 6pm. Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Registration required: www.cooley-dickinson.org/classes or 888-554-4234.

Jun 28

Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield (25 Greenfield Road) is hosting a Doll’s Day Out Luncheon on Saturday, June 28th at 11am. Whether it’s an American Girl doll or a beloved baby, every doll deserves a fabulous day out! The award winning kids menu will be available with a special sweet treat included. Adults will be offered the brand new lunch menu! Mrs. Claus will be making a special appearance with her own favorite doll and beautiful handmade doll clothes will be for sale. Call 413-665-1277 to make reservations for this great event! Chandlers.yankeecandle.com ($)

Springfield MuseumsSpringfield Science Museum. See stomping, roaring, robotic dinosaurs and life-like Ice Age mammals come to life! Experience the thrill of meeting enormous pre-historic creatures up close, including Maiasaura, Apatosaurus, and T-rex, along with a Woolly Mammoth and a family of Smilodon saber-toothed cats. The exhibit also includes dino-dig and fossil rubbing stations, plus a host of educational displays. The Springfield Museums are open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm (also open Mondays from June 30-August 30). There is a special exhibition fee of $5 in addition to museum admission for all visitors ages 3 and up to view Life Through Time. For more information, visit www.SpringfieldMuseums.org.

Worthington Swim Club. Enjoy family fun this summer at an outdoor pool in Worthington. The W S C is located at 35 Huntington Road (Rte 112) in a sunny, tree-screened setting. Membership is open to everyone and includes: Certified Lifeguard on duty Monday – Friday from noon to 5 p.m., Children over age 10 can swim without their parent during lifeguard hours, 24-hour key access for adult members (and children with an adult family member), a 25-yard-long pool w/ a low diving board, swimming lessons available. 2014 membership is: Family Plan $365, Individual Plan $160. Payment schedules available. Call Lynn at 238-8038 or Alain at 238-5954 or visit us on FB www.facebook.com/worthington.swimclub

The Amherst Survival Center has volunteer opportunities for teens ages 15yo+ on weekdays (not Wed). Shifts are typically 2 hours/week between 9am-3pm. There are several places for teens & adults to volunteer. In an inquire about volunteer opportunities for teens they responded, “We look for a minimum of a two hour/week commitment for a minimum of 8 weeks…If they are able to get here in the morning, we need help organizing and sorting through fresh bread and produce from area markets and farms which we then distribute to about 100 people/day. If they have a super organized closet, they may be a good fit for helping in our Free Store. Certain days we also need help serving lunch and doing dishes. And our Emergency Food Pantry often needs help keeping the shelves stocked and helping folks fill their carts with their monthly food “box.” Strong folks can help pick up furniture from around town in the mornings. And people who like to clean can help clean the place after 2:30PM. Lots and lots of options.” For more information visit their website at www.amherstsurvival.org or email tracey@amherstsurvival.org

Ticket Giveaway: 2014 Green River Festival! The 28th annual Green River Festival happens again this year on July 12th & 13th, 2014… and Hilltown Families has two pairs of tickets to giveaway, one pair for each day! With a free pair of tickets, and free admittance for children ten and under, two adults can take a gaggle of kids and plan on spending the day at this great western Massachusetts music festival! Find out how you can enter for a chance to win!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer program, school, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
June 21st-27th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Solstice Illuminates Learning for Families

Time & place literally provides for experiential education opportunity on the longest day of the year!

Here in western Massachusetts, families can take part in three different events that provide the opportunity to learn experientially about solstice-related cultural traditions – all of which will be held on the solstice itself, Saturday, June 21st…

Soon, celebrations will take place all over the northern hemisphere to mark the arrival of the summer solstice – our portion of the globe’s longest day of the year. The light-filled solstice that our days have been lengthening towards will bring with it, of course, the shortest night of the year, and will place our geographic location as close to the sun as it will be for the rest of the year. Of course, the simplest way to celebrate the solstice is simply to enjoy the extra daylight while it lasts, but there are a variety of other community-based ways to celebrate that will encourage children to learn why we have extra hours of daylight in the summer but traditional celebrations, world cultures, ancient civilizations, and the summer landscape.  Read the rest of this entry »

What to Play? Summer is Time to Absorb the World

What to Play? by Carrie St. John

Stories and Reading and Writing and Drawing

The flood of articles is out for the end of the school year. Summer reading. The percentage of material lost over the school vacation. Summer classes. Summer learning activities. Educational trips. I ask, “Is there a play solution to all these things we, as parents, are told to worry about during July and August?” Absolutely.

I believe summer vacation is vacation. A break from the routine of school. Time to be a kid. Time to explore your favorite things.

I have an avid reader. Books are the favorite free time activity at our house. The trick is to keep up with her. Library visits. Bookstore finds. Recommendations from friends.  Read the rest of this entry »

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