31 Community Highlights: Symphony to Silk. Spiders to Ghost Tours.

Symphony to Silk. Spiders to Ghost Tours. Hikes to Parent Workshops… 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: Have some spooky fun this Halloween season at the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever Kids’ Monster’s Ball in Abbey Memorial Chapel (50 College Street, South Hadley, MA) on Saturday, October 25 at 3pm. Kids of all ages can attend the Ball in costume and dance away the afternoon to classic waltzes and polkas by Chopin and Johann Strauss II. There will also be soundtrack music from popular television shows to enjoy and dance to. Students can experience classical music at this event, see and hear a variety of instruments up close, learn to dance with friends and family, and ask the musicians questions about their instruments. The Kids’ Monster’s Ball is a super fun and unique way to introduce kids to symphony music and get them thinking about the amazing world of musical instruments. Tickets (>$) can be purchased in advance.


HalloweenSTEMSymphonyHistoric TradesAnimal StudiesCultural StudiesHaunted HistorySkillshareHikingParent WorkshopsPreschool Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Learning Ahead: Oct 20-24, 2014

learning ahead

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all year long!

This week we are featuring 15 events that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 18th & 19th, 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 October 18th-24th, 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, 35 Community Highlights: Mandarin to Historic Hike. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know! Plus, we have a comprehensive list of Halloween Events in Western MA for spooky community & learning events.

October 18th-24th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

ArchaeologyChinese LanguageTextilesLocal History  ♦ PaleontologyWomen’s StudiesAnimal StudiesCemeteriesPumpkin FestsNature StudiesParent WorkshopsPreSchool Activities

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Parenting Possibilities: Chores and Halloween
  2. HFVS Halloween Episode with Guest DJ, Heidi Swedberg (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3. Community Service: An Alternative to Halloween Candy
  4. One Clover & A Bee: Poetry for Halloween
  5. Halloween Math: Counting Kit Kats & Charleston Chews

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Warm thank you to our sponsors!

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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35 Community Highlights: Mandarin to Historic Hike. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest.

Are you carving your Halloween pumpkin this weekend? Pumpkins are the focus of many community celebrations this weekend, including the Franklin County Pumpkinfest, Mount Warner Pumpkin Fest, Easthampton Harvest Festival, and the Westhampton Great Pumpkin Roll! (Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield)

Mandarin to Historic Hike. Archaeology to Paleontology. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest… 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: It’s hard to imagine dinosaurs roaming the earth, let alone the Connecticut River Valley, but that is exactly what they did some 190 million years ago, during the Jurassic period. Families can learn about dinosaurs in the region with geologist Dan Vellone at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s Family Dino Day on Saturday, October 18 from 10:30am-2:30pm. Through exploration stations, arts and crafts activities, dinosaur tracks and bones, and a presentation (12noon), all ages can have fun learning about dinosaurs. Vellone’s presentation will focus on the origins of dinosaurs and how they are rooted in the Connecticut River Valley. Pack a picnic and explore Northfield Mountain’s trails after the dino festivities. Call 1-800-859-2960 to pre-register for this free event. Northfield Mountain is at 99 Millers Falls Road in Northfield, MA. (FREE)


ArchaeologyChinese LanguageTextilesLocal History  ♦ PaleontologyWomen’s StudiesAnimal StudiesCemeteriesPumpkin FestsNature StudiesParent WorkshopsPreSchool Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 11th & 12th, 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 October 11th-17th, 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, 33 Community Highlights: Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Wild Rice to Apples., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know! Plus, we have a comprehensive list of Halloween Events in Western MA for spooky community & learning events.

October 11th-17th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STEMFilm StudiesLocal HistoryAgricultureArcheology/TextilesService-Based LearningPaleontologyArchitectureCommunity CelebrationsMedieval HistorySukkotLocal Food HistoryHaunted HistoryOutdoor AdventuresTheater Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. What’s the Alternative to a Sexualized Halloween Costume? Make Your Own!
  2. 8 Halloween Costume Safety Tips
  3. DIY: Halloween Paper-Maché Piñatas
  4. HFVS Halloween Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Sojourner Truth Memorial: American and Western MA History

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Warm thank you to our sponsors!

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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33 Community Highlights: Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Wild Rice to Apples.

Pumpkin games this weekend at the Ashfield Fall Festival!

Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Haunted History to Paleontology. Wild Rice to Apples… 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: Travel back to colonial times with the Buckland Historical Society at their Colonial Day celebration on Sunday, October 12 from 2pm-5pm at the Wilder Homestead. Colonial Day replicates life in New England several hundred years ago, and engages visitors in everyday activities that are characteristic of the period. There will be demonstrations of open hearth cooking, basket making, weaving, spinning, quilting, folk painting, and cider pressing, as well as oxen and performances of Morris dance and music from the 1700s. How do these activities compare to those of today? Most people no longer weave their own baskets or spin their own yarn – why do you think that is? Colonial Day will get all ages actively engaged in learning about history and will help them see how much has changed in a few hundred years! 413-625-9763. 129 Route 112. Buckland, MA. (>$)


STEMFilm StudiesLocal HistoryAgricultureArcheology/TextilesService-Based LearningPaleontologyArchitectureCommunity CelebrationsMedieval HistorySukkotLocal Food HistoryHaunted HistoryOutdoor AdventuresTheater Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 4th & 5th, 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 October 4th-10th, 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, 27 Community Highlights: Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Butter Churns., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know!

October 4th-10th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Creative-Free PlayLocal HistoryEntomologyBiologyCultural HistoryHistoric TradesFood CultureCraftsSkillshareLanguage ArtsSTEMGeologyImmigrationPreK ActivitiesLocal/Handmade

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 10 Picture Books for Halloween
  2. 5 Ways to Enjoy Shorter Days with Less Light
  3. Let’s Play: Nature Based Play & Art in Autumn
  4. Seasons at Our Table: Harvest Season
  5. Social Learning Made Easy with Sophia

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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27 Community Highlights: Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Butter Churns.

Do you like spooky scarecrows? What about silly scarecrows? You can make your own scarecrow and decorate it however you like at Atkin Farms in Amherst on Saturday, October 4, and the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Sunday, October 5. Terrific intergenerational activity the family can do together while supporting creative-free play!

Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Corn Relish. Stethoscopes to Butter Churns… 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: The Hatfield Fall Festival is on Sunday, October 5 from 11am-3pm and is full of tons of fun activities and exhibits related to local history! Stop by for classic fall festival activities, like a parade, farmers’ market, cider pressing, crafts, demonstrations, kids’ activities, and others. In addition to these activities, there will be many opportunities to learn about what Hatfield was like in the past. Check out the Cutter Farm Museum to see demonstrations of historic trades, meet farm animals, learn about antique vehicles, and see the actual sleigh that Hatfield town physician Dr. Charles Byrne used for winter house calls in the late-1800s. Inside the Historical Museum (2nd floor of Hatfield Public Library), there will be a used book sale, a viewing of the exhibit, “Simple Tools, Elegant Script: The Lost Art of Cursive,” which features traditional writing implements, and an activity for visitors of all ages to use some of these tools to practice writing. The Hatfield Fall Festival is great fun for history buffs of all ages! Call 413-315-9793 for more information. Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Creative-Free PlayLocal HistoryEntomologyBiologyCultural HistoryHistoric TradesFood CultureCraftsSkillshareLanguage ArtsSTEMGeologyImmigrationPreK ActivitiesLocal/Handmade


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

7 Living History Events in Western Mass this Fall

Living History Events Bring Multi-Faceted Education Experience for All Ages

Combining the magic of theater and the mystique of history, living history events provide families with the opportunity to experience the past (and its people) as they were – in character and in context. By teaching history with a theatrical – yet incredibly realistic and accurate – approach, the age range to which a topic appeals becomes wider, allowing younger children to learn about the aesthetic aspects of certain historical eras, while their older counterparts explore the culture, politics, and relevance of the same time periods

Season of Thanks: Society of the 17th Century, Hall Tavern Visitor Center, Historic Deerfield, MA.

Early fall in western Massachusetts brings with it this year a wealth of immersive living history events, affording families a multitude of opportunities to learn experientially about a variety of historic eras, events, people, and practices. By attending one (or many!) of the upcoming living history events, families can explore new ideas and deepen their preexisting understanding of the roots of modern American society. Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: October 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
October 2014

October 4 & 5, the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area presents Heritage Walks, which celebrate the Berkshire communities, natural areas, history, and different cultures of the many places recognized as part of this National Heritage Area. A full list of Heritage Walks can be found here.

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of October. 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.

“I’m relatively new to the Berkshires so I’m mostly familiar with the southern Berkshires. I love finding out about all these lovely little towns north of me, and knowing about all the various events going on ALL THE TIME, from concerts to theater, to apple picking. I moved here to live in the country and Hilltown Families keeps me informed of all the wonderful things country life has to offer.” – Valerie Sheehan (Lenox, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 27th & 28th, 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 September 27th-October 3rd, 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, 38 Community Highlights: Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know!

September 27th-October 3rd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STEM  ♦ Citizen Scientist  ♦ Music/Cultural StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceFall FestivalsCommunity MealsJapanese StudiesParent WorkshopsMythologyCollaborative Consumption

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Family-Friendly Farms for Pumpkin Pickin’ in Western MA
  2. Maps of Massachusetts: Supporting Social Studies & Local History
  3. Oak & Acorn: Kale Chips for Kids (and their Adults too!)
  4. Lessons Worth Sharing
  5. The Dinner Table: Don’t Yuck on My Yum!

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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38 Community Highlights: Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival.

Bear Swamp Orchard in Ashfield

Find a PYO apple orchard near you and take your kids pickin’ this weekend!

Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival. Cuatro to Kouta… 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: Double Edge Theatre will perform an outdoor presentation on Don Quixote, Odysseus, and Shahrazad on Sunday, September 28, 6pm-7:30pm. They will use poetry, flying, humor, music, puppets, and visual arts to tell these tales, and will then discuss them after the show. Older students with an interest in literature, mythology, and performance arts will enjoy this lively outdoor performance, which takes place at Amherst College. 860-335-8421. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


STEM  ♦ Citizen Scientist  ♦ Music/Cultural StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceFall FestivalsCommunity MealsJapanese StudiesParent WorkshopsMythologyCollaborative Consumption


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 20th & 21st, 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 September 20th-26th, 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, 30 Community Highlights: Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know!

September 20th-26th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Film StudiesLocal HistoryAstronomyBanned BooksEntomologySkillshareOrnithologyNature StudiesPoetryGeologyLocal FoodMusic StudiesHistoryRosh HashanahAnimal Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Q&A: Where to Pick Local Pears?
  2. HFVS Autism Awareness Episode with Guest DJ, Marc Bazerman (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3.  Pair of Fall Favorite Picture Books
  4. How to Plan a Bioblitz
  5. Recommend an Educational Podcast or Website for Families

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA
Cup & Top in Florence, MA

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

30 Community Highlights: Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox.

What do rubber duckies have to do with poetry? Find out this Saturday at the Amherst Poetry Festival!

Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox. Skillshare to Science Cafe… 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: Learn about the annual hawk migration with The Trustees of Reservations at “Hawks Over Holyoke” at Heritage State Park on Sunday, September 21 from 10am-3pm. Celebrate these unique birds and see live bird demonstrations like “Eyes on Owls” and “Hawks with Tom Ricardi.” This free day of family fun is a great chance for all ages to learn about these magnificent birds. 413-532-1631. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


Film StudiesLocal HistoryAstronomyBanned BooksEntomologySkillshareOrnithologyNature StudiesPoetryGeologyLocal FoodMusic StudiesHistoryRosh HashanahAnimal Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Rhubarb Circus to Jam Making. Paper Marbling to Chilifest.

Have you been making jam this summer? Why not trade it with others at the Preserve Swap this Saturday, Sept 13, at the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market? Never made jam or just want to improve your skills? Join Grow Food Amherst at All Things Local Cooperative Market in Amherst for a jam making workshop on Sunday, Sept 14!

Honey Festival to Chilifest. Paper Marbling to Jam Making. Rhubarb Circus to Science Cafes… 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: Don’t be scared away by that chill in the air! Grow Food Amherst has moved their weekly Sustainability Sunday Workshops indoors for the fall! They will now be holding them at All Things Local Cooperative Market (104 North Pleasant St.) in Amherst. All Things Local is a year round, six day a week, farmers’ and craft market focused on sustainability and community. Learn how you can support local farming and food sources by turning your local produce from those fun filled fall apple picking excursions into delicious homemade jam at the Sunday September 14 workshop on jam making from 2-4pm! Other highlights from this season’s lineup of workshops include local residents sharing their knowledge and skills in the handmade soap workshop and how to make herbal oils, creams, and lip balms to keep your skin and lips healthy when the cold weather comes.


EntomologyHistorySkillshareVolunteer OpportunitiesSTEMFood FestivalPerformance/AstronomyOrnithologyMusic StudiesEnvironmental JusticeCulture/ArtLiteracyCommunity CelebrationsPastry Arts/ArchitecturePoetry


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Science Cafes Provide Unique Community-Based Learning Opportunity

Non-traditional Setting makes Science Accessible

Science Cafes, a grassroots movement to open science to everyone and to bring presentations and engaging conversations into casual community settings, have come to Western MA. Here we feature two that take place on Mondays in the Pioneer Valley…

For families living in western Massachusetts, there are lots of opportunities to learn about science topics present within our communities. Local museums offer endless science-related exhibits, and explorations of the biodiversity and natural history present within our local landscape take place year-round (we’re hardy in these parts!). However, opportunities to interact with actual scientists – the experts and researchers who make discoveries – are far fewer and further between. But now, thanks to two local Science Cafes, students can do just that!

In Hadley, the OEB Science Cafe brings monthly events to Esselon Cafe on Mondays. Run by graduate students and faculty of the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology program at UMass (hence the OEB title), the cafe’s topics follow along the theme of evolutionary biology and teach participants about topics ranging from the similarities between ants and humans to the way that a bird’s brain learns songs. Though the cafes are designed with adults in mind, self-directed teens and tweens with an interest in biology are welcome and can certainly learn lots by attending. Each OEB Science Cafe takes place from 6-7pm, and is free!

In Amherst, the SciTech Cafe meets at Amherst Brewing Company on the 4th Monday of each month. Covering topics within the realm of science and technology – a vast field, the cafe’s next two upcoming topics are the science of alien worlds (also known as space technology) and the science of sleep. Each event will include a talk by an expert, as well as time for questions and even a game!

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for September 6th & 7th, 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 September 6th-12th, 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: Water Mills to Woodworking. Family Volunteering to Radical Mycology., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

September 6th-12th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

TransportationEntomologyMuseum AdventuresMycologyArtisan TradeImmigration U.S. HistorySTEMLocal HistoryCommunity ServiceAnimal StudiesFood HistoryAstronomyWater MillsPreK Activities

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. In Search for Mushrooms!
  2. Oak & Acorn: Everything’s Coming up Apples!
  3. Citizen Scientists Opportunity: School of Ants
  4. 11 Recommended Art Studios/Classes in Western MA
  5. Woods of the World on Display at Lyman Plant House

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA
Cup & Top in Florence, MA

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

26 Community Highlights: Water Mills to Woodworking. Family Volunteering to Radical Mycology.

Interested in mushrooms? There are a couple of mycology opportunities this week: Radical Mycology in Great Barrington on Thursday (Sep 11) and Fungus Among Us in Easthampton on Friday (Sep 12)

Water Mills to Woodworking. Immigration to Magna CartaFamily Volunteering to Radical Mycology… 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:  All day on Sunday, September 7th, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield is holding their 2nd annual Family Volunteer Day for family members of all ages – even toddlers can help out!  Activities include touring the Food Bank warehouse, sorting food, educational opportunities for kids, and more.  It is important that kids understand the value and importance of volunteering and community service, and this is an excellent opportunity to give them some hands-on experience volunteering for a great local organization.  This all-ages event shows that no one is too young to start making a difference in their community.  Please RSVP on their Facebook event page to let the Food Bank know how many family members will be attending.


TransportationEntomologyMuseum AdventuresMycologyArtisan TradeImmigration U.S. HistorySTEMLocal HistoryCommunity ServiceAnimal StudiesFood HistoryAstronomyWater MillsPreK Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Bird Identification in Western Massachusetts Made Easy, and Fun!

The Fun of Bird Identification in Western Massachusetts Made Easy

Blue bunting in West Chesterfield, MA.

Birds are everywhere this time of year, some migrating, some that stay with us over winter. Do you know who you’re sharing your yard with? Birds of all sorts have long since migrated to and from western Massachusetts, nesting here for the summer or passing through in their migrations… and it’s high time to get out and get birding!

Birds species can, of course, be identified by looking at them – their size, shape, color, feather pattern, and other distinctive markings help to distinguish one species from another. But what happens if you can’t get a close look at a bird? What if a flash of red passes by up ahead on a trail, or you’ve spotted a raptor soaring high above you? Often times you’re left with only a roadside silhouette of a sighting with which to try and identify a species, and using physical features alone can sometimes be very difficult. On top of the challenges presented by partial sightings are the similarities that some species share – it can be hard to tell which small, semi-spotted brown-and-white bird you’re seeing if you don’t have binoculars allowing you a closer look.

Click here to read on for resources on how to identify birds by their calls and upcoming birding events in Western MA…

Berkshire Family Fun: September 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
September 2014

Housatonic Heritage Walks take place Sept 20 & 21 and then again Oct 4 & 5. Don’t miss these community-based educational opportunities taking place in Western MA this fall!

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. 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.

“I love Hilltown Families for helping us find something to do on any day of the week. We have meet such wonderful people at the various events they have posted. They are a great source for community.” – Alisa Blanchard (Pittsfield, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 30th & 31st, 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 August 30th-September 5th, 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, 23 Community Highlights: Corn Maze to Kimchi. Hoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 30th-September 5th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

AstronomyMusic StudiesHaunted HistoryGeology/Natural HistoryAgricultureFood HistoryMuseum AdventuresSkill Share/FermentationAgricultural FairsCulture/MusicCommunity MealOrnithologyPlant Studies

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. How to Get Kids to Practice Their Musical Instruments
  2. 5 Solutions to Packing a Waste-Free Lunch
  3. Change of Seasons Bring Nature, Art & STEM Discoveries
  4. HFVS Back to School Episode with Guest DJ, Joanie Leeds (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Let’s Play: Organizing & Creating for Back-to-School

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA
Cup & Top in Florence, MA

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

23 Community Highlights: Corn Maze to Kimchi. Hoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry.

Teens and tweens can learn how to play the ukulélé at the Sunderland Public Library on Saturday afternoon, August 30! This is a free chance for kids to get introduced to this fun and unique instrument. Celebrate the SPL’s new ukulélés with this ukulélé workshop facilitated by musician, Julie Stepanek. Open to youth ages 10-18. Beginners welcomed!

Ukulélé to Shape Note SingingCorn Maze to KimchiHoosac Tunnel to Marble Quarry… 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:  Do you want to learn more about astronomy, but don’t know where or how to start? Arunah Hill Days is a free, family-oriented weekend all about astronomy, nature, and science education at Arunah Hill Natural Science Center  in Cummington. Come to Arunah Hill on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this Labor Day weekend for astronomy-related talks and activities for astronomy fans of all ages! Observe the night sky and search for Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, galaxies, star clusters, and more using large, powerful telescopes; see sunspots and solar prominences with a special filtered solar telescope in the daytime; enjoy guided nature walks, disc golf, and a rocket building/launch fest; and hear talks on telescope design and other astronomy topics. Bring the whole family and come early to camp on the Hill! This is a great opportunity to learn as a family and enjoy quality time spent together outdoors.


AstronomyMusic StudiesHaunted HistoryGeology/Natural HistoryAgricultureFood HistoryMuseum AdventuresSkill Share/FermentationAgricultural FairsCulture/MusicCommunity MealOrnithologyPlant Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 23rd & 24th, 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 August 23rd-29th, 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, 29 Community Highlights: Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 23rd-29th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Plant StudiesLocal FoodTransportation HistoryLocal HistoryMusic StudiesBack-to-SchoolInsect StudiesSafetyAgricultural FairsSTEMAstronomyPoetrySummer Celebrations

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. 11 Suggestions on How Western MA Families Can Make Wise Back-to-School Purchases
  3. Q&A: Hair Cuts in Western MA
  4. Tips for a New School Year
  5. 6 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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29 Community Highlights: Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing.

With only a few more weeks left of summer, wildflowers like goldenrod and joe-pye weed dot our landscape. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment is offering a Native Wildflower Workshop with naturalist Nancy Goodman on Saturday, August 23. Discover many of the beautiful and unique wildflowers that grow in the area and learn how to use Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, the most well-respected guide to northeastern wildflowers. Older students and adults can learn about these fascinating plants and their importance to our local ecology at this program in Amherst.

Poetry Slam to Classical Music. Back-to-School to Stargazing. Tomatoes to Pickles…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:  In the summer evenings, when the darken skies fill with a cacophony of sounds, have you ever wonder what insects are making these beautiful noises?  You can find out at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary’s Night Insect Sounds program in Easthampton on Thursday evening, August 28. Learn about katydids, grasshoppers, crickets, and others. The program starts with a slideshow of the insects and their sounds and then proceeds outside where you can try your hand at identifying the sounds. Best for older students and adults.


Plant StudiesLocal FoodTransportation HistoryLocal HistoryMusic StudiesBack-to-SchoolInsect StudiesSafetyAgricultural FairsSTEMAstronomyPoetrySummer Celebrations


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 16th & 17th, 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 August 16th-22nd, 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, 30 Community Highlights: Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Stone Masonry.. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 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, and our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Other posts to read for summer fun include 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks for outdoor walking adventures, Beach Day Trips for a list of shoreline adventures, Swimming Holes in Western MA for local discoveries, and Local Agricultural Fairs for a list of upcoming fairs in our region.

August 16th-22nd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

School HistoryLocal HistorySTEMAgricultural FairsCommunity MealRepair & RepurposeCulture/GreekTransportation/IndustryFoodOutdoor AdventuresHorsesMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesKindergarten Readiness

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Harriet the Spy Turns 50!
  2. MASS MoCA’s “It’s Only Human” Illuminates Art, Science & Education
  3. Springfield Museums’ New Exhibit Snapshots The Emergence of the 20th Century American Individual
  4. Time Capsule: Extraordinary Exhibit Lifts Lid on Historical Education
  5. Suggestions & Recommendations for Back-to-School

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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30 Community Highlights: Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Stone Masonry.

Peaches (cc) Phil Romans

Peach Festival at Outlook Farm this Sunday, August 17 in Westhampton!

Peach Festival to Greek Festival. Harvest Supper to Food Future. Stone Masonry to Copperheads… 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:  Summer is winding down and it’s time to get ready for school! Are your quills sharpened? Have you purchased your new chalk and slate? Wait a second – it’s not the 19th Century! What would “back-to-school” look like for children in the 1800’s? Families can step back to the time of quills and ink and one-room schoolhouses at Storrowton Village during their freeBack to School: 19th Century Style” event on Friday, August 22 in West Springfield. Here kids can experience hands-on school activities for this era, like writing with a quill, taking notes using chalk and slate, recess games, reciting in front of the class, and more. All ages will love getting to experience what school was like in another time and comparing it with school today!


School HistoryLocal HistorySTEMAgricultural FairsCommunity MealRepair & RepurposeCulture/GreekTransportation/IndustryFoodOutdoor AdventuresHorsesMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesKindergarten Readiness


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 9th & 10th, 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 August 9th-15th, 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, 30 Community Highlights: Water Mills to Urban Forestry. Fibonacci Sequence to Artbotics.. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 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, and our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Other posts to read for summer fun include 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks for outdoor walking adventures, Beach Day Trips for a list of shoreline adventures, Swimming Holes in Western MA for local discoveries, and Local Agricultural Fairs for a list of upcoming fairs in our region.

August 9th-15th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Citizen ScientistLocal HistorySTEMNature StudiesGeologyHikingCultural Studies/MusicIndustrial HistoryCommunity ServiceArtFilm StudiesAgriculture/Dairy FarmingAnimal StudiesOrnithology/RaptorsEducators WorkshopCurrent Affairs

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Tidal Pool Day Trips from Western MA
  2. The Dinner Table: Extending Dinner Time with Walking Desserts
  3. Exhibiting at the Fair
  4.  How Does Your Family Handle Screen Time Limits in the Summer?
  5.  Q&A: Ear Piercing

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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30 Community Highlights: Water Mills to Urban Forestry. Fibonacci Sequence to Artbotics.

The Holyoke Public Library hosts Nature’s Designs, a special program that will show how the Fibonacci Sequence and Golden Ratio appear in nature, using plant and animal shapes to illustrate on Friday, morning August 15. Presented by Kevin Kopchynski, the free program will be exciting, informative, and surprising! Read our post, Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education, to discover how nature’s patterns reveal mathematical reasoning!

Fibonacci Sequence to Artbotics. Silent Film to Art Walk. Water Mills to Urban Forestry… 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:  Do you want to learn more about notable Worthington residents of the past? Discover interesting bits of local history on a free cemetery tour with the Worthington Historical Society on Saturday evening, August 9. One night before the full moon, you can explore Worthington’s oldest surviving cemetery (Center Cemetery) and see the grave sites of notable residents. The tour will also take you past the site of the town’s first cemetery, which is now a pasture, as well as the town’s first parsonage and oldest building. Cemetery tours can teach about local history through their focus on people who lived in the past – who lived here? What did they do? How/when did they die? What legacy did they leave behind? Older students who are interested in local history will enjoy this opportunity to discover the history of the Hilltowns in Worthington.


Citizen ScientistLocal HistorySTEMNature StudiesGeologyHikingCultural Studies/MusicIndustrial HistoryCommunity ServiceArtFilm StudiesAgriculture/Dairy FarmingAnimal StudiesOrnithology/RaptorsEducators WorkshopCurrent Affairs


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 2nd & 3rd, 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 August 2nd-8th, 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, 29 Community Highlights: Bottle Rockets to Binoculars. Meadowlands to Beavers.. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 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, and our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Other posts to read for summer fun include 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks  for outdoor walking adventures,  Beach Day Trips for a list of shoreline adventures, Swimming Holes in Western MA for local discoveries, and Local Agricultural Fairs for a list of upcoming fairs in our region.

August 2nd-8th, 2014

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

RocketsBlacksmithing/ToolsService Based Learning/Food SecurityInsect StudiesCultural Studies/Native AmericanSports HistorySTEMAnimal ScienceAstronomyLocal HistoryOutdoor AdventuresAbolitionism

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Geocaching & Letterboxing Support Learning and Outdoor Adventures as a Family
  2. Letterboxing: Adventure, Art and the Great Outdoors
  3. 10 Outdoor Summer Music Series in Western MA
  4. 18 Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Western MA
  5. Aerial Adventure Parks in Western MA

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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