Berkshire Family Fun: September 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
September 2014

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 30th-September 5th, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“I moved to the area this past summer and Hilltown Families has been a wonderful resource for me as a newcomer. It has pointed my family towards some great activities and local eateries (Cummington Fair, Bread Euphoria, etc.). More importantly, it has given me, as a newcomer, a broader sense of how active this community is and what people here care about. So thank you for that!” – Jenni H. (Sunderland, MA)

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Fall Openings

Openings Alert: The Center School is accepting applications for just a few spots left in K/1 and middle school for this fall. The Center School features rigorous academics for deep thinkers and creative spirits with a stellar teacher-student ratio. Since 1982 the Center School has provided a progressive, project-based, and dynamic education for PreK through 8th grades at its lovely campus, adjacent to conservation land and trails, on the southern edge of Greenfield. Center Schoolers come from all over the Pioneer Valley with over a third from Hampshire County. Interested? Contact their admissions office today to learn more about the school for your child. www.centerschool.net or 413-773-1700, ext 2.

Begins in Sep

Sign up for Theater Improvisation with Heidi Haas! Improv increases spontaneity, creativity and self-confidence. Classes focus on tuning into one’s scene partners, creating bold characters and developing skits with each other. Classes are offered for 6th-8th graders on Wednesdays from 3-5pm and for 1st-5th graders on Thursdays from 3:30-5pm in Florence, MA. The first 10 week session begins in Sept. Heidi has been teaching theater to children since 1996 and is also a clinical social worker with a specialty in child/family concerns. Check out her website at www.heidihaasimprov.com to register call: Heidi Haas 584-5562 or email Heidi_Haas@comcast.net.

Sep 7

On Sunday, September 7, from 2 to 4 pm, the Northampton Community Music Center will host its annual Open House & Instrument Petting Zoo. Come see, hear and try out different musical instruments, meet our teachers, take free demo classes, and enjoy a performance by NCMC’s ukulele choir. NCMC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1986 with 50 professional faculty members serving more than 800 students annually. NCMC also hosts more than 75 performances and events each year. Programs include instruction in 25 different instruments, choruses, instrumental ensembles, vocal performance classes, recording studio classes, summer programs and special workshops. Financial aid available. For information, call 413-585-0001 or visit www.ncmc.net.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has immediate openings for young toddlers, ages 15-24 months, and pre-schoolers ages 3 and 4 years. Following the pioneering approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, and self-confidence while building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature uniquely-designed classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. To learn more about their openings or to schedule a visit, contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 30th-September 5th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Setting our Watches to the Geological View of Time

There’s Gold in Our Hills!

Gold in Mt. Tom anyone?

I met a person who was panning for gold in one of our hilltown brooks this summer who knew a lot about geology—at least enough to know that gold is produced by volcanic activity. We don’t think of our biome as having volcanic bones; Iceland, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim come to mind, but Huntington?

Look closely, though, and you’ll find evidence of igneous geology all over the place: from Mounts Holyoke and Tom which were bubbling lava when hungry raptorsauri ran wild here 200,000,000 years ago, to the weirdly eroded lava ash boulders people place out by their driveways in Goshen, to the cocoa puff pumice balls that float in eddies just downriver from the Turners Falls dams. Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 23rd-29th, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“As a teacher who is so lucky to be home with my babies in the summer I constantly reaped the benefits of Hilltown Families with the weekly events that were highlighted! What a great resource to have at my fingertips, with all of the great things to do in the valley in one place!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” – Kristy Dyer (Hatfield, MA)

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Aug 23

Open House at Pioneer Valley Ballet on August 23, 11:00am-1:00pm. Discover the region’s premier ballet training program. PVB offers classical ballet training for children ages 4.5 through adults using a unique Listen, Think, & Move philosophy to create determined, strong, and supple dancers who possess poise, confidence, and self-respect. Known for its opulent performances at the Academy of Music in Northampton (auditions for The Nutcracker on September 13!), PVB’s Open House includes free classes along with the opportunity to observe Advanced Dancers. Meet the trainers and tour the studio. PVB is located in the Eastworks building, 116 Pleasant St., Easthampton. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit www.pioneervalleyballet.org

Aug 24

Visitors are invited to a free Community Picnic at the Springfield Museums on Sunday, August 24 from 12-2pm. Picnic tables on the Quadrangle have been transformed into unique works of art as part of the Art Picnic program, a public arts project designed to beautify Springfield and bring local art students together with established artists. Visitors are welcome to bring a blanket and picnic alongside the new works of art while enjoying music, entertainment, and free ice cream (while supplies last). Funding provided the Xeric Foundation. And there’s still time to check out the special Life Through Time exhibit of roaring, stomping mechanical dinosaurs and Ice-age mammals (extra fee). Check www.springfieldmuseums.org for a full schedule.

Fall Openings

Openings Alert: The Center School is accepting applications for just a few spots left in K/1 and middle school for this fall. The Center School features rigorous academics for deep thinkers and creative spirits with a stellar teacher-student ratio. Since 1982 the Center School has provided a progressive, project-based, and dynamic education for PreK through 8th grades at its lovely campus, adjacent to conservation land and trails, on the southern edge of Greenfield. Center Schoolers come from all over the Pioneer Valley with over a third from Hampshire County. Interested? Contact their admissions office today to learn more about the school for your child. www.centerschool.net or 413-773-1700, ext 2.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has immediate openings for young toddlers, ages 15-24 months, and pre-schoolers ages 3 and 4 years. Following the pioneering approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, and self-confidence while building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature uniquely-designed classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. To learn more about their openings or to schedule a visit, contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Sep 28

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, you can pedal toward a hunger-free community at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts 4th annual Will Bike 4 Food (WB4F) charity cycling event. There’s still time to take advantage of the early bird special. If you register by Aug. 29, you’ll receive $75 off your fundraising minimum ($175 instead of $250 per person). Start a team or ride as an individual. With multiple courses to choose from—a 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of any level can take part. Don’t miss the post-race celebration with complimentary food, beer from Berkshire Brewing Company, and family activities. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 23rd-29th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Suggested Events for August 16th-22nd, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families is always my Saturday morning “go to.” I have a 4 year old and over the last few years we have gone to many weekend events and a lot of them have begun at the site. From street fairs to live performances to farmers’ markets and such-countless adventures have started here at www.hilltownfamilies.org.” – Mark Donovan (Easthampton, MA)

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Aug 13-16

Welcome to the Jungle! PaintBox Theatre closes its summer season with Tarzan at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton. Directed by Tom McCabe, it’s the classic Tarzan story, with PaintBox twists, audience participation, and our most interesting theatre yet. Imagine we’re at school and our teacher announces the field trip of a lifetime—to the deepest darkest jungle. Have no fear: when there’s trouble, Tarzan swings in to save the day. The show is under the Grandstand roof at the Three County Fairgrounds: plenty of shade, rain protection, and free parking. Performances are Wed., Aug. 13 – Sat., Aug. 16, 10:30am and 1pm daily. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-320-0517. www.paintboxtheatre.com.

Aug 16

Get Ready for Kindergarten! This Saturday, August 16 from 10am-3pm, enjoy a fun-filled day at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s Countdown to Kindergarten featuring storytimes and activities geared to support children as they get ready for their first day of kindergarten. The KidStage Acting Company (Boston Children’s Museum) will perform D.W. Counts Down to Kindergarten!, a 30-minute play with audience participation. Caregivers will receive helpful handouts and activity ideas to try back at home. Plus enjoy films, art making and three wonderful galleries of picture book art. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. For more info, visit www.carlemuseum.org or call 413-658-1100.

Aug 16

MumBett Day: Celebrating Freedom Fighters takes place Saturday, Aug 16 from12-4pm at the Ashley House,117 Cooper Hill Road, in Ashley Fall/Sheffield, MA. Learn about activist and hero Elizabeth “MumBett” Freeman, who successfully sued for her freedom from slavery in 1781. Activities includes Civil War re-enactors of the African American 54th Infantry Regiment with storytelling, and demonstrations; living history performances of MumBett and Sojourner Truth; a short play by the Town Players of Pittsfield; tours of Ashley House; children’s activities, plus books and MumBett dolls for sale. Hike Bart’s Cobble next door. Bring a picnic and stay the day! Suggested donation $5-$10; Children FREE. More info: westregion@ttor.org 413-532-1631 x10

Aug 19 & 21

Graphic design classes for kids and tweens in Easthampton! Introduce your art loving kid to graphic design in these two-hours courses taught by Leslie Tane at Eastworks. Intro to Graphic Design for 8-12 year olds will be held from 1-3pm on Tues., August 12; the class for 12-15 year olds is from 1-3pm on Thurs., August 14. What is Graphic Design? is from 1-3pm on Tues., August 19; the class for 12-15 year olds is from 1-3pm on Thurs., August 21. Your kids will learn about graphic design: what it is, where to find it, and the beginnings of how to make it. Supplies are provided. $25/student per class. www.tadashow.com/workshops

Aug 23

Open House at Pioneer Valley Ballet on August 23, 11:00am-1:00pm. Discover the region’s premier ballet training program. PVB offers classical ballet training for children ages 4.5 through adults using a unique Listen, Think, & Move philosophy to create determined, strong, and supple dancers who possess poise, confidence, and self-respect. Known for its opulent performances at the Academy of Music in Northampton (auditions for The Nutcracker on September 13!), PVB’s Open House includes free classes along with the opportunity to observe Advanced Dancers. Meet the trainers and tour the studio. PVB is located in the Eastworks building, 116 Pleasant St., Easthampton. For more information, call 413-527-6363 or visit www.pioneervalleyballet.org

Sep 28

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, you can pedal toward a hunger-free community at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts 4th annual Will Bike 4 Food (WB4F) charity cycling event. There’s still time to take advantage of the early bird special. If you register by Aug. 29, you’ll receive $75 off your fundraising minimum ($175 instead of $250 per person). Start a team or ride as an individual. With multiple courses to choose from—a 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of any level can take part. Don’t miss the post-race celebration with complimentary food, beer from Berkshire Brewing Company, and family activities. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS

August 16th-22nd, 2014

SaturdaySunday

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Suggested Events for August 9th-15th, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families helps us to cast a wider net when we are looking for activities during school vacation or on the weekends. Often we find sweet little buried gems that would otherwise have escaped our notice… Thanks for being here.” – Sarah Rankin (Greenfield, MA)

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Aug 12, 14, 19 & 21

Graphic design classes for kids and tweens in Easthampton! Introduce your art loving kid to graphic design in these two-hours courses taught by Leslie Tane at Eastworks. Intro to Graphic Design for 8-12 year olds will be held from 1-3pm on Tues., August 12; the class for 12-15 year olds is from 1-3pm on Thurs., August 14. What is Graphic Design? is from 1-3pm on Tues., August 19; the class for 12-15 year olds is from 1-3pm on Thurs., August 21. Your kids will learn about graphic design: what it is, where to find it, and the beginnings of how to make it. Supplies are provided. $25/student per class. www.tadashow.com/workshops

Aug 13-16

Welcome to the Jungle! PaintBox Theatre closes its summer season with Tarzan at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton. Directed by Tom McCabe, it’s the classic Tarzan story, with PaintBox twists, audience participation, and our most interesting theatre yet. Imagine we’re at school and our teacher announces the field trip of a lifetime—to the deepest darkest jungle. Have no fear: when there’s trouble, Tarzan swings in to save the day. The show is under the Grandstand roof at the Three County Fairgrounds: plenty of shade, rain protection, and free parking. Performances are Wed., Aug. 13 – Sat., Aug. 16, 10:30am and 1pm daily. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-320-0517. www.paintboxtheatre.com.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has limited fall openings for toddlers and pre-schoolers, ages 12 months through 6 years. Featuring a Young Toddler program for ages 12-24 months, Toddler for ages 18 months – 3 years, the Children’s House for ages 3-6 years, and La Casa de Niños, the Pioneer Valley’s only Spanish Montessori pre-school program for ages 3-6 years. AMS fosters the natural self-construction, cognitive development, and social-emotional well-being of each child in programs that include music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. For current openings or to schedule a visit, contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 9th-15th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

29 Community Highlights: Bottle Rockets to Binoculars. Meadowlands to Beavers.

Interested in rockets? There are several events happening this week that allows kids to explore the physics of rockets through hands-on experience!

Bottle Rockets to Blacksmithing. Meadowlands to Beavers. Binoculars Tour to Walking Tour… 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 Museum of Science and the M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury present “Rockets: There and Back Again!” Youth participants can create an air rocket that launches across the room, exploring the science behind rockets and space exploration in this free hands-on workshop taking place at the Town Hall. Through experiential learning, kids can plan, build, and test their very own designs!


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


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for August 2nd-8th, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families has given me ways to reach out into the community with activities and ideas for things to do that are fun and close to home. I use Hilltown Families when I have friends from out of town coming over and want to show them what it is like to live in a small town community.” – Briana Kubik (Blandford, MA)

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 30-Aug 2

PaintBox Theatre, Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages, presents the world stage premiere of Cornelia Funke’s picture book, Pirate Girl, adapted and directed by Tom McCabe. Pirates, singing and carrying on, audience participation, bad jokes from Captain Firebeard, art from local children, a band of silvery pirates from the Northampton Senior Center—all without any scurvy or seasickness! Performances are Wed., July 30 – Sat., Aug. 2, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-320-0517. Stay tuned for Tarzan, August 13-16 at the Three County Fairgrounds! www.paintboxtheatre.com.

Aug 1,6 & 13

The fun continues this summer at the Springfield Museums! There’s the Life Through Time exhibit of roaring, stomping mechanical dinosaurs and Ice-age mammals (extra fee), plus enjoy art and science activities, live reptile demos and more every weekday at the Summer Spectacular Family Series. There are also great family shows every Wednesday – Friday, including the Tanglewood Marionettes on Thursdays, Bubblemania with Casey Carle (August 1), Grammy-nominated The Pop Ups (August 6), Mister G (August 13), and many others, plus the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden, all free with museum admission! Check www.springfieldmuseums.org for a full schedule.

Aug 12, 14, 19 & 21

Graphic design classes for kids and tweens in Easthampton! Introduce your art loving kid to graphic design in these two-hours courses taught by Leslie Tane at Eastworks. Intro to Graphic Design for 8-12 year olds will be held from 1-3pm on Tues., August 12; the class for 12-15 year olds is from 1-3pm on Thurs., August 14. What is Graphic Design? is from 1-3pm on Tues., August 19; the class for 12-15 year olds is from 1-3pm on Thurs., August 21. Your kids will learn about graphic design: what it is, where to find it, and the beginnings of how to make it. Supplies are provided. $25/student per class. www.tadashow.com/workshops

Sep 28

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, join The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts at their 4th annual Will Bike 4 Food (WB4F) charity cycling event. Ride as an individual or form a team. Starting a team (4 or more) with your friends and family is an easy way to help them feed our neighbors in need! With multiple courses to choose from—a 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of any level can become involved. WB4F provides a chance for families to participate in an activity together, while raising awareness of the issue of hunger. Now is a great time to get started. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike.

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has limited fall openings for toddlers and pre-schoolers, ages 12 months through 6 years. Featuring a Young Toddler program for ages 12-24 months, Toddler for ages 18 months – 3 years, the Children’s House for ages 3-6 years, and La Casa de Niños, the Pioneer Valley’s only Spanish Montessori pre-school program for ages 3-6 years. AMS fosters the natural self-construction, cognitive development, and social-emotional well-being of each child in programs that include music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. For current openings or to schedule a visit, contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Aug 4-8

The 24th annual Children’s Literature Festival sponsored by the Mary Lyon Foundation will be held this summer at the Buckland Shelburne Elementary School in Shelburne Falls from 8:30am-Noon, Aug 4-8. This unique program combines children’s literature with arts and crafts, music, field trips and special guests. Children will have an opportunity to visit the Mary Lyon House in Upper Buckland where Mary Lyon, founder of Mount Holyoke, first taught school in 1823. The theme this year is A Sense of Place and introduces children grades K-6 to local history. Cost for $50/child. Includes all materials and snacks. Scholarships available. For more info Toni Wilcox at 413-863-9418. Call the Mary Lyon Foundation office at 413-625-2555 for application.

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 2nd-8th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
August 2014

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

“We love that Hilltown Families keeps us updated on events in the larger area, in both the Berkshires and the Valley…We use the calendar section, the camp guide, the school guides, and much more.” – Caitlin Loverin (Pittsfield, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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The Ripple: Squelching through Wetlands Reveals Nature at its Most Natural

The Beauty and Ickyness of Upland Wetlands

Thanks to wetlands, mountain rivers should be clear while valley rivers like the Connecticut can resemble a river of milk chocolate.

Last week, I stood by the side of the East Branch of the Westfield River in Chesterfield with a group of intrepid explorers, astonished by the gasp and growl of its raging flood waters. “Where’s Augustus Gloop?” I heard someone ask; “He would love all this hot chocolate!”

Laden with brown soils that had eroded from roadsides, construction sites and fields upstream, the river did look like it was made by Willy Wonka. A wild and scenic river like the East Branch of the Westfield should not look like hot chocolate because of its federally-registered conservation status, and the fact that there is little development in the hilltowns. And yet here was unmistakable proof that torrential rain on vegetation-less lands was causing extensive erosion. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Suggested Events for July 26th-August 1st, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“We have been using the Hilltown Families eNewsletter for the past several years. We find activities that we can all enjoy such as activities at local library’s, outdoor music venues and dance opportunities for families.” – Margaret Ezell (West Whately, MA)

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 26

Gustfer Yellowgold at The Carle this Saturday, July 26th in Amherst! Enjoy a unique blend of live music, animated illustrations, and storytelling by award-winning performer Morgan Taylor. Come to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst on Saturday, July 26 and meet Gustafer Yellowgold! Yellowgold is a small, yellow, cone-headed fellow who came from the Sun and landed in Minnesota. The show will include a brand new hand-drawn animated music video and Top-10 hit “Cakenstein,” along with plenty of other fan favorites! Performance begins at 11 am and tickets are $7 and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126.

Jul 30-Aug 2

PaintBox Theatre, Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages, presents the world stage premiere of Cornelia Funke’s picture book, Pirate Girl, adapted and directed by Tom McCabe. Pirates, singing and carrying on, audience participation, bad jokes from Captain Firebeard, art from local children, a band of silvery pirates from the Northampton Senior Center—all without any scurvy or seasickness! Performances are Wed., July 30 – Sat., Aug. 2, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-320-0517. Stay tuned for Tarzan, August 13-16 at the Three County Fairgrounds! www.paintboxtheatre.com.

Aug 1,6 & 13

The fun continues this summer at the Springfield Museums! There’s the Life Through Time exhibit of roaring, stomping mechanical dinosaurs and Ice-age mammals (extra fee), plus enjoy art and science activities, live reptile demos and more every weekday at the Summer Spectacular Family Series. There are also great family shows every Wednesday – Friday, including the Tanglewood Marionettes on Thursdays, Bubblemania with Casey Carle (August 1), Grammy-nominated The Pop Ups (August 6), Mister G (August 13), and many others, plus the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden, all free with museum admission! Check www.springfieldmuseums.org for a full schedule.

Aug 12, 14, 19 & 21

Graphic design classes for kids and tweens in Easthampton! Introduce your art loving kid to graphic design in these two-hours courses taught by Leslie Tane at Eastworks. Intro to Graphic Design for 8-12 year olds will be held from 1-3pm on Tues., August 12; the class for 12-15 year olds is from 1-3pm on Thurs., August 14. What is Graphic Design? is from 1-3pm on Tues., August 19; the class for 12-15 year olds is from 1-3pm on Thurs., August 21. Your kids will learn about graphic design: what it is, where to find it, and the beginnings of how to make it. Supplies are provided. $25/student per class. www.tadashow.com/workshops

Through Aug 22

The New England Air Museum will hold family fun programs through the end of the summer. Visitors will have the chance to get up close and personal with the Museum’s 80 display aircraft. A variety of activities will be offered each day such as build and fly challenge activities, flight science demonstrations and the chance to sit in the cockpit of an aircraft. The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 11am-4pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators using real cockpit controls. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT and can be reached at 860-623-3305. Click here for more details on New England Air Museum’s summer programs.

Sep 28

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, join The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts at their 4th annual Will Bike 4 Food (WB4F) charity cycling event. Ride as an individual or form a team. Starting a team (4 or more) with your friends and family is an easy way to help them feed our neighbors in need! With multiple courses to choose from—a 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of any level can become involved. WB4F provides a chance for families to participate in an activity together, while raising awareness of the issue of hunger. Now is a great time to get started. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike.

Aug 4-8

The 24th annual Children’s Literature Festival sponsored by the Mary Lyon Foundation will be held this summer at the Buckland Shelburne Elementary School in Shelburne Falls from 8:30am-Noon, Aug 4-8. This unique program combines children’s literature with arts and crafts, music, field trips and special guests. Children will have an opportunity to visit the Mary Lyon House in Upper Buckland where Mary Lyon, founder of Mount Holyoke, first taught school in 1823. The theme this year is A Sense of Place and introduces children grades K-6 to local history. Cost for $50/child. Includes all materials and snacks. Scholarships available. For more info Toni Wilcox at 413-863-9418. Call the Mary Lyon Foundation office at 413-625-2555 for application.

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
July 26th-August 1st, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now

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 »

Suggested Events for July 19th-25th, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“When I moved to Western MA from Memphis, TN, two years ago, I thought I was loosing the ‘big city’ resources that my kids loved (such as free festivals, outings, activities). Hilltown Families provided me with the ‘big city’ connections that I loved; more so, this is the site that I share with families that I meet that are new to the area.” – Shannon Audley-Piotrowski (Northampton, MA)

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 19

On Saturday, July 19, the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. Especially appropriate for children ages 3 to 10, this Family Day is free and open to all. Activities include: folksongs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; a performance by Henry the Juggler; the Circus Parade; and a reading from Burleigh Muten, author of the newly published YA book, Miss Emily. Other activities include a scavenger hunt, “tightrope” walking, other games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and a complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. With questions, email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

Jul 20

Western Mass Jobs with Justice will host its 1st Annual Justice Cup on Jul 20 in Hoyloke at Crosier Field. The festival will include a soccer tournament with divisions for all skill levels and ages. Beets & Barley and Salsarengue Restaurant will serve food. Families will be treated to music by Putamayo artist Jay Mankita and Flame and Peach, face painting and games plus a social justice resource fair to learn about the great work in the region. Code Pink, River Valley Market, Springfield No One Leaves, and many more have teams. The action on the field, cheering crowd, and music over the speakers will ensure a festive atmosphere. Proceeds will be used to support WMJWJ and its organizing project: The Pioneer Valley Workers Center. Register Here.

Through Aug 22

The New England Air Museum will hold family fun programs through the end of the summer. Visitors will have the chance to get up close and personal with the Museum’s 80 display aircraft. A variety of activities will be offered each day such as build and fly challenge activities, flight science demonstrations and the chance to sit in the cockpit of an aircraft. The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 11am-4pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators using real cockpit controls. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT and can be reached at 860-623-3305. Click here for more details on New England Air Museum’s summer programs.

Family Resource Center, a program of Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc., has a playground and park guide for northern Berkshire County.  They also have a Playground Scavenger Hunt game families has participate in together while exploring the different playgrounds, parks and trails in and around northern Berkshire.

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

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
July 19th-25th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Berkshire Family Fun

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 »

Suggested Events for July 12th-18th, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families is my go to spot for what is going on for kids and families around the valley. I always check it for ideas of what to do with the kids on the weekends, during school vacations and summertime.” – Adelle F. (Greenfield, MA)

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 5-Aug 3

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

Jul 7-Aug 15

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

July 19

On Saturday, July 19, the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. Especially appropriate for children ages 3 to 10, this Family Day is free and open to all. Activities include: folksongs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; a performance by Henry the Juggler; the Circus Parade; and a reading from Burleigh Muten, author of the newly published YA book, Miss Emily. Other activities include a scavenger hunt, “tightrope” walking, other games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and a complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. With questions, email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

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

Jul 9 – Aug 9

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

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

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

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
July 12th-18th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 5th & 6th, 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 July 5th-11th, 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: Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Also, celebrate 4th of July this Saturday evening! Firework displays scheduled across Western MA, including Westfield, Greenfield, North Adams, West Springfield, Springfield, and Amherst — many of them rescheduled from Friday. Details here: Fourth of July Firework Displays in Western MA.

July 5th-11th, 2014

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


Local HistoryAnimal StudiesArchitectureMusic StudiesCulturePerformance ArtFarmingNature StudiesSTEMMagicEntomologyFamily Performances

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 11 Recommended Art Studios/Classes in Western MA
  2. Little Homes for Little Folks: Make Your Own Gnome Home
  3. 13 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Western MA
  4. HFVS Summer Essentials Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Q&A: Where Can Kids Take Swim Lessons in the Summer?

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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

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 »

Suggested Events for July 5th-11th, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

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

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

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

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 5-Aug 3

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

Jul 7-Aug 15

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

Jul 10

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

Jul 9 – Aug 9

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 2014

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

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

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

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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

MAP

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

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

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

June 28th-July 4th, 2014

SaturdaySunday MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


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

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

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

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

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

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