31 Community Highlights: Lava Lamps to Cannonballs. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes.

Cannonballs are an excellent way to support an interests in math and history! Kids can learn about physics and how sailors in the past sent cannonballs through the air at the Westfield Athenaeum on Tuesday morning, July 29 during their free program, Under Pressure! Presented by the USS Constitution Museum, this hands on event will be a “blast” for the entire family!

Lava Lamps to Cannonballs. Biomimicry to Experimentology. Tap Dancing to Rotochutes… 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 ever wonder what life was like in New England during the Civil War? On Friday, August 1st, families can experience life in 1860s Stockbridge at the Stockbridge Library’s “Stroll Back in Time: Life Along Main Street 150 Years Ago,” a free event that transforms Stockbridge’s Main Street into a mid-1800s New England village with historically accurate activities like chores, games, and more. Learn about professions of the time by seeing a blacksmith forge horseshoes and meeting a local shopkeeper, hear music from the Civil War era, enjoy historic games, and discover how people lived 150 years ago. This is a unique opportunity to see Stockbridge as it once was and to think about the ways the town has changed since the 1860s.


AstronomyMusic StudiesNature AdventuresCommunity MealsPresidential HistorySTEMAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryHikesTheaterInsectsCrafts


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

33 Community Highlights: Whalemobile to TrolleyFest. Scottish Festival to Bang on a Can.

Guess how many owl species have been recorded in New England… twelve! On Saturday afternoon, July 19, Eyes on Owls will be at the Sunderland Library with their free owl program. This program features six live owls and will teach about the owls of the northeast. Owl pellets will be dissected and are a fascinating way to learn about owl anatomy and physiology, along with what their diets consist of and the habitats necessary to support not only owls but the prey these raptors survive on.

Whalemobile to TrolleyFest. Scottish Festival to Bang on a Can. William Cullen Bryant to Sojourner Truth… 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 Whalemobile is a 43-foot, life-sized inflatable whale named Nile, modeled after a female humpback whale born in 1987 who summers off the coast of Massachusetts. This traveling educational program teaches kids all about whales – where they live, how they communicate, what they eat, what their behavior is like – and then gives them a chance to climb inside the inflatable replica to learn about whale anatomy and physiology. The Whalemobile will be visiting several libraries in western Massachusetts this summer. Don’t miss this free interactive program for all ages. Find out where it will be appearing here.


Animal StudiesShakespeareTransportationCulturePlaygroundsNature StudiesAgriculture/Farm ToursLocal HistorySTEMInsectsCommunity MealsGeologyFestivals


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

34 Community Highlights: A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Casablanca. Service Dogs to Bald Eagles.

Lemons… they can be a catalyst for community service and STEM based learning!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Casablanca. Robots to Rockets. Service Dogs to Bald Eagles… 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: Step back in time at Cummington’s Kingman Tavern, which opens for the season on Saturday afternoon, July 12, and will be open on Saturdays through August 30 with no admission charge. The Tavern is a historic building from the early 1800s that contains 17 rooms, with a replica country store, a barn, a cider mill, and a carriage shed. Families can discover the local history of Cummington and the Hilltowns by exploring the museum and seeing many of its historic artifacts. The general store, in particular, is a great resource for understanding life in the past – it contains many things that would have been sold in a New England general store from 1900-1910!


Film StudiesLocal HistoryEntomologyTheaterArtBird StudiesSTEMSustainabilityWritingAnimal Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

35 Community Highlights: Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic.

Join the Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield for a free program on dragonflies and damselflies with naturalist Julia Blyth on Friday afternoon, July 11. Kids 5 and up and their families can learn all about these interesting insects, their lifecycle from water to sky, and search for them using field guides and nets. 

Construction to Cottages. Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic… 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:  Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Double Edge Theatre at their “Celebrate Living Culture” event on Sunday afternoon, July 6. Located in Ashfield, Double Edge Theatre is a rich environment for both experiential learning and performance on 105 acres of historic buildings, forests, pastures and organic gardens. The afternoon includes an open house, tours, fun family activities, raffles, and an exhibition following the Theatre’s 20-year history. This is a great free opportunity to learn more about Double Edge Theatre, their theater philosophy, and explorations of their farm.


Local HistoryAnimal StudiesArchitectureMusic StudiesCulturePerformance ArtFarmingNature StudiesSTEMMagicEntomologyFamily Performances


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

32 Community Highlights: Summer Kitchens to Cultural Chaos. Mona Lisa to James Joyce.

Father’s Day is on Sunday! Head to the farmers’ market on Saturday and pick up fresh produce and meats to make a delicious meal for the father in your life! Great opportunity to meet local farmers and for kids to learn where their food comes from!

Geologic Bike Ride to Classic Cars. Summer Kitchens to Cultural Chaos. Mona Lisa to James Joyce… 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 you ever wondered what day-to-day life was like in New England in the 19th Century? What was it like to cook and clean, to go to school, or to make crafts? What kinds of medicine existed? Family members of all ages and with varied interests can learn about all these topics at Storrowton Village Museum‘s Opening Day on Saturday, June 14 in West Springfield. At this free event, visitors can tour historic buildings, learn from costumed interpreters, discover open hearth cooking and blacksmithing, experience a one-room schoolhouse, see demonstrations in chairmaking and broommaking, study historic artifacts, learn about historic plant uses, and more. By coming to Storrowton Village and immersing yourself in 19th-century New England life and culture, you can learn what it was truly like to be alive in the time period.


GeologyAstronomyNew England HistoryMusic HistoryAviation HistoryArchitectureChoreographyArt HistoryParent WorkshopsCommunity CelebrationsAutomotive HistorySTEMNature StudiesCommunity ServiceLiterature


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

28 Community Highlights: Aviation to Yo-Yos. Vintage Music to Bioblitz.

Did you know that Shelburne Falls was originally known as Salmon Falls, an important fishing site to both colonial settlers and native people? Find out about the interesting history of Shelburne, and make plans to visit Shelburne Falls this Saturday to learn about the history and importance of the Deerfield River Watershed during their annual RiverFest celebration!

Aviation to Yo-Yos. Civic Hackathon to RiverFest. Historic Weapons to Cemetery Tour. Vintage Music to Bioblitz… 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:  There are twelve species of owls that live in New England (although some are very rare), and about 200 throughout the world. You can learn about some of these owls, as well as their behaviors, habitats, calls, and more, at the Great Falls Discovery Center‘s free live owl show with Eyes on Owls on Saturday, June 7 at 10:30am and 12:30pm. Eyes on Owls is an organization that teaches the public about owls through live owl shows. During this program, you can learn field marks and signs in order to find owls in the wild without disturbing them, get a hooting lesson, and get tips on attracting and protecting owls in your area. All ages will love learning about these fascinating birds of prey. Call 413-863-3221 for more information. The Great Falls Discovery Center is located at 2 Avenue A in Turners Falls, MA.


Aviation/AerodynamicsCommunity MealCivic EngagementEntomologyPlant StudiesOrnithologyNature StudiesLocal HistoryFarming & FoodRiver EcologyLocal Music HistorySTEMCultural StudiesCitizen Scientist/Biology


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Worthington Historical Society Educates all Ages About a Community’s Roots

Community learning opportunity for the family in local history treasure trove

Worthington Historical Society, MASome parts of local history are easy to access, no matter what community you live in. Families can learn about an area’s past informally by walking through cemeteries, reading plaques and memorials around town, and by looking for construction dates posted on signs and buildings. There are some things, though, that are nearly impossible to discover on your own. Stories about the people whose names mark graves, photographs of events held at local landmarks, and information about the inhabitants of historic homes or the former uses of old buildings could fill in the blanks, and the resources offered by local historical societies help us to do just that.

Of particular interest to local families are the resources offered by the Worthington Historical Society. A very active community resource, the Worthington Historical Society offers a museum full of local artifacts, frequently hosts educational tours and events, publishes a periodic blog of stories and photographs, and has an extensive library of books and DVD’s all about Worthington history.

Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Orienteering to Archaeological Dig. Violins to Jazz Music.

Stamell Stringed Instruments in Amherst is hosting a Violin and Viola Exhibit, Guadagnini’s Galore! through June 28. The instruments are all copies of the famous 18th century Italian violinmaker G.B. Guadagnini. A free opening will be held on Thursday evening, June 5, and all of the instruments will be offered for trial and playing in house.

Orienteering to Archaeological Dig. Veterinary Medicine to Folk Medicine. Violins to Jazz Music…. 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:  Are you interested in stargazing? Families can learn about astronomy and the night sky with members of Arunah Hill Natural Science Center and The Trustees of Reservations at Notchview on Saturday, May 31 from dusk until 11pm. You can try out different types of telescopes to search the night sky for stars, galaxies, planets, meteors, and more. Learn about telescopes and how they work by comparing what you can see with them with what you can see with the naked eye. There are an infinite number of things in space just waiting to be discovered by people – maybe even you! Come to Notchview to spend time with family learning about astronomy at this free event. Notchview is located on Route 9 in Windsor, MA. Call 413-532-1631 x10 for more information.


OrienteeringArchaeologyLocal FoodEntomologyCommunity ServiceVeterinary StudiesSkill Sharing/CraftsHistory/MedicineLocal HistoryAstronomyPlant StudiesSTEMParent WorkshopsLiteracyMusic Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

25 Community Highlights: Backstairs Tour to Paper Lanterns. Corn Worm to Fishways.

Backstairs Tour to U.S. 20. Corn Worm to Fishways. Paper Lanterns to International Children’s Day… 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 like learning about nature? What about reading children’s books? Nature is the theme of some great children’s books, including many by Springfield author Thornton W. Burgess. He was an acclaimed naturalist and children’s book author, and is the subject of Christine Palmer Lowrance’s book, Nature’s Ambassador: The Legacy of Thornton W. Burgess. Lowrance will be at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary to sign books and talk about Burgess. This is part of the Sanctuary’s free Turtle and Field Day event on Saturday, May 24 from 10am-2pm. Families can explore the trails, go on a natural history walk, and search for turtles, frogs, and more in the pond. Children’s book- and nature-lovers of all ages will enjoy this fun and informative program on natural history, animals, nature, and children’s books. Call 413-584-3009 for more information. The Sanctuary is located on Main Street in Hampden, MA.


Animal StudiesAgriculture & Fiber ArtsLocal HistoryBread BakingCommunity ServiceNature StudiesTravel/TransportationHistory/Martial ArtsActivism/Performance Art  ♦ ArchitecturePlant StudiesSTEMCrafts & Culture


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:
North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens
Read the rest of this entry »

25 Community Highlights: Community Celebrations to Community Service. Science to Art History.

Discover the world of native woodland plants  at Mt. Skinner State Park in Amherst on Tuesday evening, May 20! Mt. Skinner is home to many unique, beautiful, at-risk medicinal plants, in addition to spring ephemerals like Dutchman Britches picture here, medicinal trees, and other woodland plants. This walk would be great for older students who are interested in medicinal plants.

Corn Broom to Native Woodland Plants. Mud Day to Long Meddowe Days. Architecture to Endangered Species… 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: On Monday, May 19th, student volunteers from the Northampton High School Key Club will be making meal packages. The Key Club has teamed up with Kids Against Hunger, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to providing food for starving and malnourished children and their families locally and around the world. The community-service learning event will take place in the high school cafeteria from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event will produce between four to five thousand nutritious meals. The Key Club is thankful to Youth Service America and the Disney Friends for Change Program for helping provide funding to purchase the raw ingredients for this event. The NHS Key Club invites students who are at least eight years old and are enthusiastic about making a difference to join them. Pre registration required. Please email the president of the Key Club, Zachary, at zachdietz1@gmail.com to RSVP.


Community CelebrationsSTEMArt/HistoryCommunity ServiceArchitectureImmigrationPoetryMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesBusinessSports HistoryLocal HistoryPlant Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Water Mills to Bike Maintenance. Knitting to Folktales.

Discover local birds on a free guided bird walk with Forbes Library in Northampton on Sunday morning, May 11. The walk will take you through the Smith College campus and up to Paradise Pond in search of birds. This walk is great for beginner birders who want to learn more about bird identification, bird calls, and what some good birding spots in the area are.

Water Mills to Bike Maintenance. Knitting to Folktales. Mother’s Day to Community Service…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: May 15 is Third Thursday in Turners Falls! This month’s theme is “The Nature of Things,” and the evening includes tons of events relating to the river, including workshops, science demonstrations, wildlife exhibitions, performances, installations, and more. There is something for all ages at this fun event, which highlights some of the awesome things Turners Falls has to offer.


Geology/Natural HistoryLocal HistoryMother’s DayCommunity ServiceMusic StudiesDance & PerformanceAnimal & Nature StudiesSkill Share/BikesLiteracyFiber Arts/Knitting


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

Read the rest of this entry »

28 Community Highlights: Renaissance to Whistling. May Day to Pride Parade.

12th Annual Community Renaissance Festival this Sunday, May 4th, at UMass in Amherst, MA.

Renaissance to Whistling. May Day to Pride Parade. Police Dog to Reading with Dogs… 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 you ever wondered what life was like during the Renaissance? You can discover activities, trades, and foods of the Renaissance at the 12th Annual Community Renaissance Festival, held by the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies on Sunday, May 4 in Amherst. All ages can learn about and celebrate this important cultural movement through theater performances, board games, weaving demonstrations, blacksmithing, leatherworking, dancing, live music, and more. The Renaissance Festival is a free interactive and engaging opportunity to get kids interested in European history and making connections between the Renaissance and many of the cultural movements that have occurred since then.


STEMLocal HistoryScienceRenaissancePhotographyAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceDiversity/LGBTMilitary HistoryOrnithologyMay DayPlant Studies/WildflowersLiteracyArts & CraftsParent Workshop


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

Read the rest of this entry »

26 Community Highlights: Park Clean-Ups to Hawley Bog. Sheep Shearing to Beekeeping.

Families can experience life in an 18th Century encampment on Saturday, April 26 at the Historic Deerfield’s Revolutionary Muster and Parade.

Park Clean-Ups to Hawley Bog. Yo-Yos to Polka. Sheep Shearing to Beekeeping…. 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 Amherst Farmers’ Market and Amherst Sustainability Festival takes place this Saturday, April 26, on the Town Common. Pick up your starter plants and locally grown foods from the Market, and then head to the Common for a fabulous family-friendly festival featuring all things sustainable… including Hilltown Families! Stop by our tent where kids can plant seeds to take home with them while parents can learn about the mission of Hilltown Families.


DendrologyBiologyNew England HistoryBike TourIndustry & Transportation HistoryHabitatCommunity ServiceSustainabilityPhysicsAnimal Studies ♦ Culture/Dance ♦  Artisanal TradeMusic StudiesEntomologyWomen & Media StudiesMay Day


Read the rest of this entry »

30 Community Highlights: Straw Rockets to Shakespeare. Easter to Earth Day.

Easter is Sunday and there are many Easter activities happening this weekend throughout the region. Dying eggs and Easter candy are perfect opportunities for incorporating a little science into your family traditions. Check out these featured Spring & Easter Science pins over on Pinterest and put a little STEA(rt)M into your celebration!

Straw Rockets to Bug Collages. Arctic Tern to American Alligator. Shakespeare to Aldo Leopold… 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 dinosaurs lived right here in the Pioneer Valley millions of years ago? They are an important piece of the natural history of this area, and more can be learned about them and where they lived at the Dinosaur Footprints in Holyoke (Route 5). On Saturday morning April 19, The Trustees of Reservations are holding a free event for families that gives visitors a chance to “Walk Where Dinosaurs Roamed” and learn about their history in the area, what species might have lived here, how their footprints have been preserved over time, and what the local habitat was like.


Citizen ScientistPaleontologyCollaborative ConsumptionCultural StudiesFilm StudiesSTEMMuseum AdventuresHistoryCommunity ServiceAnimal StudiesLiterary AdventuresHikingEntomologyMusic StudiesPastry ArtsEnvironmentalism


Read the rest of this entry »

31 Community Highlights: Pollinators to Polliwogs. Seed Bombs to Black-Out Poetry.

Several vernal pool events happening this weekend throughout the region!

Pollinators to Polliwogs. Seed Bombs to Black-Out Poetry. Rockets to Knitting… 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: Celebrate Spring and all things green at Easthampton’s Waste Not Want Not Art Walk on Saturday evening, April 12th. Explore Easthampton’s art scene and do free activities, like make seed bombs with Easthampton Community Garden at Nash Gallery, learn how to build raised beds at Old Town Hall, make your own notecards and envelopes at Knack, and more! This is a fun evening out that lets you experience some of the great art- and environment-related opportunities Easthampton has to offer!


Vernal PoolsEarth DayActivismCommunity ServiceFiber ArtsSTEMCultural StudiesPoetryNature StudiesOrnithologyArtHistoryEntomologyInternet SafetyParent Workshop


Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Food Chemistry to Period Restaurants. Edible Books to Oddball Science.

World music is a powerful pathway towards discovery of other cultures and music instruments. Families can learn about two instruments used in North Indian music – the sitar and the tabla – at the Amherst Jones Library‘s “Introduction to North Indian Classical Musicfree events this month!

Draft Horses to Merino Sheep. Food Chemistry to Period Restaurants. Edible Books to Oddball Science. Folk Dancing to Classical Indian Music… 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 if a domestic sheep weren’t shorn, their wool would grow and grow and grow? Come learn about shearing and the wool harvest at Winterberry Farm at their new farm in Colrain on Saturday, April 5th during  Shearing Day! There will be music, food, demonstrations, and a chance to see 30 sheep get sheared. A great chance for families to learn about this traditional process and for kids to know where their woollies come from. Free.


Animal ScienceFood StudiesAstronomyCultural StudiesLiteracySTEMMuseum AdventuresDance StudiesNature ScienceOrnithologyParent Workshops


Read the rest of this entry »

21 Community Highlights: Magic Flute to Sound of Music. Electricity to Telescope

The Magic Flute to The Sound of Music. Electricity to Telescope. Garlic Mustard to Bat Houses.

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:  Transport children into an enchanted world that blends myth, fairytale, and the archetypes of good vs. evil this Sunday afternoon, March 30th while exposing them to the wonderful world of opera! Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls presents a free screening of the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of The Magic Flute. Mozart’s famous fairytale opera features magic bells, dancing animals, dragons, a hero and heroine, and much more. This production was directed by Julie Taymor in 2004 and is adapted for children.. This production is ideal for introducing children to opera – it is funny and engaging, yet it also teaches important lessons about patience and distinguishing right from wrong.


Community ServiceGeologySpace/AstronomyEnvironmental ScienceAnimal StudiesSTEMHistoryOutdoor AdventuresFashion StudiesTheaterParent WorkshopMusic Studies


Read the rest of this entry »

24 Community Highlights: Middle Eastern Textiles to Victorian Clothing. Big Band Music to Holograms.

Sugar season is an integrated part of New England culture. Whether you’re visiting or have lived here all your life, get out into your community during the first harvest of the year and enjoy the many cultural opportunities that celebrate maple syrup! This week we are featuring Maple Day at Hager’s Farm Market in Shelburne. On Saturday, March 22nd, there will be demonstrations, an old fashioned sap boiling, maple cream and maple candy making, as well as tons of maple-y treats (tons!). Enjoy this delicious springtime New England treat and learn about its history and how it’s processed.

Middle Eastern Textiles to Victorian Clothing. Big Band Music to Holograms. Mud Season to Maple Syrup

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: Performance artist Kandie Carle will be at the Storrs Library to perform her free one-woman show, “Victorian Lady,” on Monday evening, March 24th. Carle will use authentic Victorian and Edwardian clothing to interact with the audience and to take them on a journey into the past through fashion. She will discuss the history and significance of each item of clothing in order to give audience members an idea of what fashion, etiquette, and lifestyles were like during the Victorian and Edwardian era, including interesting anecdotes and ‘myth busting’.


STEMFashion StudiesEnvironmental ScienceCulinary ArtsLocal HistoryMaple SeasonAnimal StudiesGovernmentArtDance StudiesParent WorkshopsMusic StudiesWritingFilm/Video


Read the rest of this entry »

27 Community Highlights: Accordion Books to Togas. Vernal Equinox to Maple Syrup.

Happy Spring!

Accordion Books to Togas. Purim to St. Patrick’s Day. Vernal Equinox to Maple Syrup

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: Saturday, March 15, is Family Fun Day at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum! The theme for this free event is “Portraits and Costume,” and there will be drop-in craft activities, a gallery talk that includes a picture book related to the museum’s collection, and much more. Not only will the educational potential of the museum be unlocked by museum guides and interpreters, but children will be able to learn in a collaborative, multi-age environment where they share their thoughts and observations with others and gain insight from information shared by other visitors.


Maple SyrupSTEMImmigrationSt. Patrick’s DayPurimCultural StudiesOutdoor AdventuresAnimal StudiesSpring EquinoxLiteracyTheater/MusicalsParent WorkshopsCrafts


Read the rest of this entry »

27 Community Highlights: Shadow Puppets to Sewing Machines. Fiddle Music to Cheese Caves.

Shadow Puppets to Sewing Machines. Manhattan Project to Fiddle Music. Tracking Fairies to Cheese Caves

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 BagShare Project is holding a free Sewing Machine and Clothing Repair Clinic on Sunday, March 9 in Cummington. Bring your sewing machine in for repair, learn how to fix and oil it yourself, and learn basic clothing repair, like sewing on buttons, shortening pants, and patching jeans. Bring a project you need help with so you can learn how to fix it on your own in the future. This clinic is an excellent example of collaborative consumption and how we can use it to educate as well as support sustainable living.


Puppet ShowsLiteracyWomen’s History MonthOutdoor AdventuresMusic StudiesHistory of Writing/PrintingCollaborative ConsumptionTeen/HistorySTEMSports HistoryTheater/MusicalsParent Workshops


Read the rest of this entry »

21 Community Highlights: Tap Dance to Folklore. Tulips to Trees.

Edible Book to Dr. Seuss Birthday. Wind Turbines to Hydrodynamics. Black Holes to Hubble Telescope. Food Systems to Sugaring

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: Just when you think you can’t stand winter for one minute longer, the spring flower shows open up at area colleges offering smells and colors of spring! Both the Smith College Botanical Garden and the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden will show off their extensive collections of flowering bulbs in their greenhouses starting this Saturday, March 1. Smith College’s annual Spring Bulb Show will take place at the Lyman Conservatory in Northampton, and The Spring Flower Show at Mt. Holyoke will be held in the college’s Talcott Greenhouse in South Hadley. A visit to these free shows can support or inspire a love for flowers and learning about botany and plant habitat. Why is it, children might wonder, that the bulbs are blooming even though nothing else in nature seems to have woken up? What is it about greenhouses that allows plants to bloom when there is still snow on the ground? Ask questions and learn what makes a greenhouse different from outdoors to better understand the different needs that species of plants have.


Literacy/ArtLocal History  ♦ Performing ArtFolkloreHuman StudiesBotanyDendrologyFood StudiesScience & SustainabilityMaple HistoryAstronomyParent WorkshopsEngineering


Read the rest of this entry »

31 Community Highlights: Shaker Inventions to Turkish Coffee. Telescopes to Architecture.

On Saturday afternoon, Feb. 22, families are invited to Mt. Tom State Reservation in Holyoke for a free guided family program – “Signs of the Season.”

Shaker Inventions to Turkish Coffee. Smith Splash to Kitchen Kaboom. Telescopes to Rainforest

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: Students in grades 6 through 12 (ages 11 through 18) are invited to come to Smith Splash in Northampton on the Smith College campus for a day of workshops for middle and high school students taught by college students. Write a parody song, learn about energy and mathematical proofs, create a zine, and learn American Sign Language. Takes place on Saturday, Mar 1. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 26!


HistoryBirds of PreyFilm StudiesNature StudiesSTEMEntomologyCultureFood StudiesArchitectureBlack History MonthParent Workshops


Read the rest of this entry »

26 Community Highlights: Chain Reactions to Aviation. Candy Land to Medieval Feasts.

To help kids understand the concept of interrelatedness, try building your very own chain reactions at home using dominos! Building chains of dominoes is the classic DIY chain reaction. On Monday afternoon, Feb. 17, the 7th Annual Domino Toppling Extravaganza take place!  See this classic DIY chain reaction take place on a large scale and marvel at the cascade of a chain reaction.

Chain Reactions to Aviation. Saber-Tooth Cat to Arctic Gray Wolf. Candy Land to Medieval Feasts….

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 the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks is housed at Amherst College in the Beneski Museum of Natural History?  The Museum offers opportunities for families and students to learn about the natural history of the Pioneer Valley and many other parts of the world during February Vacation week, Feb 18-21, with free guided tours for families with children ages 5 and up. There are over 1,700 specimens (including skeletons of a mammoth, cave bear, and saber-tooth cat, and skulls of a tyrannosaurus rex and a triceratops!), some from as far away as Patagonia, housed at the Museum, along with several collections, including anthropology, ichnology, meteorites, mineralogy, osteology, paleobotany and taxidermy. These guided tours will help museum visitors discover all the neat things the museum has to offer while learning about the natural history of the Pioneer Valley.


Animal TrackingMusic StudiesHistoryWolvesSTEMMuseum AdventuresCreative Free PlaySnowshoe Hikes


Read the rest of this entry »

40 Community Highlights: Valentine’s Day to Black History Month. Creative Free Play to Chemistry.

Pioneer Valley Bread House in South Hadley is holding a bread-baking event that’s open to everyone on Tuesday evening, February 11! Come learn how to bake bread from scratch and share, learn, and create with community members. Baking bread is a fun and useful skill and this is a perfect event to help you get started! Takes place at Five College Women’s Studies Research Center.

Valentine’s Day to Black History Month. Creative Free Play to Chemistry. Bread Baking to Snowshoeing.

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 UMass Department of Chemistry and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Institute is holding a family chemistry demonstration night to display the wonders of chemistry and chemical reactions on Thursday, February 13 in Amherst. There will be exciting explosions, colorful reactions, and much more! Come see how cool chemistry is at this family event! Students, parents, and teachers are especially encouraged to attend this free night of science!


Creative Free Play Community Service/Animal WelfareSportsValentine HistoryLocal HistoryNature StudiesOutdoor AdventuresSTEMBaking ♦  Valentine’s DayBlack History MonthParent Workshops


Read the rest of this entry »

27 Community Highlights: Thumb Piano to A Cappella. Telescopes to Time Travel.

Ice was once an important “cash crop” in New England. Learn about the history and science behind ice harvesting this Saturday, Feb 1st at the NCCHP Museum annual Ice Harvest in Granville, and next Saturday, Feb 8th at the Easthampton Winterfest!

Thumb Piano to A Cappella. Telescopes to Time Travel. Sleigh Rally to Ice Harvest

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 Noble and Cooley Center for Historic Preservation (NCCHP) Museum is holding their 6th Annual Ice Harvest on Saturday afternoon, Feb 1 in Granville! Dennis Picard will organize the harvest and teach about the history of ice harvesting in New England – visitors will even get to try using an ice saw! Ice was once an important “cash crop” in New England, and you can learn about the history and science behind ice harvesting. The NCCHP museum will be open for tours, a video on ice harvesting, and information about drum-making. There will also be rescue horses from Blue Star Farm on site in order to help teach about the many roles of horses in New England’s history, live music, and refreshments at this free event.


SportsMusic StudiesLiteracyImmigrationAstronomyNature StudiesOutdoor AdventuresNew England HistoryCommunity ServiceValentine’s DayOrnithologySTEM/Physics


Read the rest of this entry »

21 Community Highlights: Rainforests to Surface Tension. Bread Baking to Ice Harvesting.

Trains to Bread. Rainforests to Surface Tension. Swords to Furniture

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 your kids ever asked you how a water strider can glide on the surface of a pond? Or why drops of water are round? The answer? Surface tension! On Monday evening, Jan 27, adults and older students can learn about the science of surface tension with professors from Yale University at SciTech Cafe hosted at the Amherst Brewing Company in Amherst. The wonders of surface tension will be illustrated with live action science demos at this free event.


ScienceHistory/FurnitureTheater/PuppetryTransportation/RailroadsEcology/RainforestsDance/CultureFilm StudiesPastry Arts/BreadArt StudiesHistoryBook GroupsParent WorkshopsEarly Literacy


Read the rest of this entry »

23 Community Highlights: California Gold Rush to Garland Dancing. Spirituals to Spoken Word.

Garland dancing, an English folk dance that began in the mill towns of North England in the 19th century, was a folk dance rural folks brought with them when they move into cities during the Industrial Revolution.

California Gold Rush to Garland Dancing.  Bald Eagles to Wolves. Spirituals to Spoken Word…

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:  Garland dancing, an English folk dance that originated from the British Isles, is a form of Morris dance with flower-covered garlands and measured movements. The Morning Glory Girls Garland dance group will begin practicing at the Whately Elementary School on Sunday afternoon, January 19th, and welcomes new participants (girls ages 7-12) to join in this free dance group. In this traditional dance, performers use ribbons, bells, and flower garlands while dancing in rhythmic steps to music and song. Mothers and daughter are invited to join in together with the Harts Brook dance group immediately following. Musicians (any age & gender) are welcomed too! Dancing, music, flowers and folks traditions… an inviting recipe for a Sunday afternoon!


HistoryCultural StudiesOutdoor AdventuresArts & CraftsAnimal StudiesMartin Luther King, Jr.Civic EngagementSTEMParent Workshops


Read the rest of this entry »

18 Community Highlights: Firefighters to Hibernation. Contemporary Art to Marshmallow Catapults.

Firefighters to Psychology. Marshmallow Catapults to Contemporary Art. Immigration to Hibernation

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:  Ask your child what a family would have done in the 1800′s if their home caught on fire before the invention of modern day fire departments. They might have had to rely on private fire brigades, but only if their home had a fire insurance mark! Learning about the history of the occupation of a fireman gives a unique perspective into the history of our country and the development of technology. This year’s Storrowtown Village‘s First Person Presentation is “A Fireman of 1899 – His Life and Job,” presented by retired firefighter, teacher, and historian William Moss on Friday evening, January 17th in West Springfield. Moss will be at Storrowtown, dressed in period costume, to discuss the lives and challenges of 19th century firefighters, taking families through a typical day in the life of a fireman during the 1800′s. To further your learning at home, tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show Firefighter Episode with guest DJs, Chicago Firefighters John and Pete. A fun radio show/podcast for the whole family!


STEMAnimal AdvocacyImmigrationCreative Free PlayHistoryPsychologyNature StudiesParent WorkshopsCommunity ServiceContemporary Art


Read the rest of this entry »

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: