Visual Art in Western MA: August Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
August Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Explore Western MA through the lens of visual art! Featured here are August art openings, closings & call for art at galleries, museums and public meeting places across the region, including: Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Mill Arts Project in Easthampton, Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, The Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge, and the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Art in Springfield. Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Art Abandonment Supports Acts of Kindness Through Creative-Free Play

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Abandoned Art

Recently my brother got into painting rocks and leaving them for strangers to find. Art abandonment he calls it. I hadn’t heard of it, but now that I have, I thought this is a perfect way for a toddler to spread love, gain empathy and become more generous.  Not to mention a great way to brighten up the landscapes around town.

Toddlers have very little sense that they do not own the world; that every does NOT belong to them. Preschoolers are relinquishing this concept, but it’s never too early to start giving.  The concept is simple; paint rocks and leave them in areas where you know members of your child’s community can find them.  You can attach a little note or write on the back:

  • “You found free art, share it”
  • “Love is colorful”
  • “Generosity is learned”
  • “Share”
  • “Spread art, spread joy”

Or just put them out there as is. My brother chooses the dot pointillism approach. This is a great technique for the older toddler or preschooler to learn. By adding a single-color at a time in the form of a single dot can help a child experience art with extreme intention. They can focus on one color or a series of colors.

One child will group like colors together and others may create an image from multiple colors.  Some may choose to paint the rocks a solid color and that’s fine. You don’t have to restrict your child into a particular technique, instead encourage them to be as creative as they would like. Offer several different colors of paint and a bunch of different shape and size of rocks.

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Community-Based Nature Writing Opportunities this Summer

Intergenerational Nature Writing This Summer

Writing intersects with the natural world in many ways. Genres of nature writing include science writing, environmentally inspired literature, and works of environmental advocacy. Walks and hikes through the woods and mountains, journeys through rivers and streams, can inspire all types of artwork from poetry about the beauty of the natural world to imploring essays on our responsibility to preserve it.

And because of the natural beauty of our region, Western Massachusetts has a rich literary history. Famous authors such as Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes all share ties to the Berkshire area. In addition, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost, William Cullen Bryant, W.E.B. Du Bois- all hold historic ties to Western Massachusetts.

Those interested in learning about literary history should check out our post: 10 Resources for Literary Learning in Western MA. Others may want to follow in the footsteps of these authors, many of whom drew upon the natural surroundings of the Pioneer Valley in their writing.

Here are several upcoming community-based opportunities that support your interests:  Read the rest of this entry »

Open Sesame: Must-Read YA Summer Novel

Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

Raymie Nightingale: A Must-Read Summer Novel

The new middle-grade novel by beloved author, Kate DiCamillo, is the must-read novel of the summer. Creator of some of the best stories for children including, Because of Winn-Dixie (Candlewick, 2000), The Tale of Despereaux (Candlewick, 2003), and Flora & Ulysses (Candlewick, 2013), she is also a former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and two-time winner of the Newberry Medal. With her newest work, Raymie Nightingale, DiCamillo gives the world a radiant story with quirky, lovable characters that will make your heart sing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Handbill & Callboard: Theater Studies Through Engagement in Western MA for August

Handbill & Callboard:
August Theater Productions and Call for Auditions in Western MA

Support a love for theater with these featured August theater productions in Western MA! A great way to engage in your community while supporting an interest in theater studies.

Contemporary drama at Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre in Lenox, children’s musical at Majestic Theater in West Springfield, Shakeseare at Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, youth theater at  The Williston Theater in Easthampton, community theater in the park in Pittsfield, comedic drama at Historic North Hall in Huntington, contemporary musical on the St. Germain Stage in Pittsfield, comedic opera  on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage in Pittsfield, historical drama at the Chester Theatre Company in Chester, children’s theater at Red Door Theatre in Feeding Hills,  indoor-outdoor traveling spectacle at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, musical at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield! Read the rest of this entry »

5 Ways to Explore Science with the Summer Sun

Hands-On Sun Science

Summer gives sunshine – so use it for science! Utilizing summer sun can mean making the most of the long days, but the endless rays offered this time of year lend themselves to sunshine-based science projects. Whether studying they physical characteristics of the sun, like it’s core, solar flares or sunspots, orthe relationship between light and heat, examining evaporation, or exploring UV radiation, sun-based science is best when conducted during the sun’s brightest, warmest, and strongest time of year!

ABOUT THE SUN

Take your new found appreciation for our sun and conduct experiments at home that lead towards learning about science through the lens of the summer sun:  Read the rest of this entry »

The Ripple: Lessons of Drought

The Lessons of Drought

In the one hundred and twenty years that flow records have been kept for the Westfield River, never has it been as low as it is today. Drought is a phenomena we are going to experience more now and in the future because our climate is warming. How we learn about and deal with this planetary change will mean everything: the success or failure of our own species’ evolution-by-natural-selection depends on learning lessons that are taught only by our biome, which is to say by the great life our own is nested in.

Read the rest of this entry »

Historical Learning through Swordfighting

Swords Opens Up Opportunities for Historical Learning

Are your children or teens interested in history? What about swordfighting? Learning about history can be extra engaging with an intersecting interest, especially one which can be active and participatory. Here are community-based resources to learn about history through an interest in sword-fighting, along with fencing classes, theater and film: Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 25-29, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


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HFVS Novelty Music Episode with Guest DJ, Jack Forman from Recess Monkey (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Novelty Music Episode with Guest DJ, Jack Forman from Recess Monkey

Recess Monkey whisks listeners of the Hilltown Family Variety Show off on a trip to the Novelty Shop for a madcap hour of truly strange musical oddities! The band’s bassist frontman Jack Forman guides us through a collection of dust-covered rarities and instant classics, each guaranteed to out-weird the last! — www.recessmonkeytown.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 23rd & 24th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video:Recess Monkey’s “Sweaty Yeti” from Novelties


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Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Tiny Tim – “Livin’ in the Sunlight, Lovin’ in the Moon Light” [God Bless Tiny Tim]
  • Recess Monkey – “Every Flavor” [Novelties]
  • Barnes & Barnes – “Fish Heads” [Fish Heads – Single]
  • Paul McCartney – “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” [RAM]
  • Spike Jones & His City Slickers – “Little Bo Peep Has Lost Her Jeep” [The Jones Laughing Record]
  • Recess Monkey – “Wind Up Robot” [Novelties]
  • Leonard Nimoy – “Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” [Spaced Out – The Best of Leonard Nimoy & William Shatner]
  • Mike Phirman – “What Makes the Breakfast?” [Single]
  • Recess Monkey – “Sweaty Yeti” [Novelties]
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic – “Yoda” [Dare to be Stupid]
  • Parry Gripp – “Chimpanzee Riding on a Segway” [Single]
  • Alvin & the Chipmunks – “Witch Doctor” [Greatest Hits: Still Squeaky After All These Years]
  • Flight of the Conchords – “Foux du Fafa” [Flight of the Conchords]
  • Paul McCartney – “Monkberry Moon Delight” [RAM]

 

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 28th & 29th, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 23rd-29th for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Comedy to Pottery. Sun Prints to Paleontology, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

July 23-29, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Outdoor Adventures ♦ Pottery ♦ Comedy ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ History ♦ Music Studies ♦Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Technology ♦ 3D Printing ♦ Art Studies ♦ Figure Drawing ♦ Culture Studies ♦ Science ♦ Paleontology ♦ Crafts ♦ Sun PrintsBotany

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Shake it! ASL Support & Resources in Western MA
  2. Learn About Local Food & Chemistry through Fermentation
  3. Let’s Play: Supporting Literacy & Creative-Free Play with Sock Puppets!
  4. Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education
  5. Empowering Our Girls: Inner Strength, Smarts & Resources for Girls

RECAP MAP SPONSOR

Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Comedy to Pottery. Sun Prints to Paleontology.

Comedy to Pottery. Sun Prints to Paleontology. Writing to 3D Printing. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

The 10th annual Hilltown Six Pottery Tour offers families the opportunity to visit potters’ studios, see their work, learn about the process of creating pottery, and ask questions. Visit nine studios across Western Massachusetts on Saturday, July 23, 10am-5pm and Sunday, July 23, 10am-5pm. Go to the website for a map and full schedule of events on this self-guided tour. Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire county, MA. (FREE)

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

Featured community highlight this week: Celebrate African American culture at the 43rd annual “Gather-In,” in Durant Park on Saturday, July 23, 12pm-6pm, a free neighborhood festival. Organized by the Berkshire County chapter of the NAACP, this free, fun-filled community event for all ages celebrates the rich cultural traditions and deep roots of the African-American community in Berkshire County and is open to everyone. There will be games, activities, music, food, and a free children’s raffle for bikes. The second annual Jahda Classic Basketball Tournament will be held during the Gather-In. For more information call 413-464-9060. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE admission. MARKET/SALE)


Outdoor Adventures ♦ Pottery ♦ Comedy ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ History ♦ Music Studies ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Technology ♦ 3D Printing ♦ Art Studies ♦ Figure Drawing ♦ Culture Studies ♦ Science ♦ Paleontology ♦ Crafts ♦ Sun PrintsBotany


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Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Suggested Events for July 23rd-29th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As someone new to the area, Hilltown Families has been a great source of information…I appreciate the balance of fun, community-service, and educational events discussed and promoted on the site. It is great to have a one-stop shop for this information!” – Laura Draucker (Amherst, 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

Exploring educational options for your family? Check out Oak Meadow’s flexible, creative homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12, or enrollment in their teacher-supported distance learning school. The K-8 curriculum is child-centered, experiential, playful, and nature-based. High School offers challenging courses, exciting options for earning credit, and college counseling for teens who wish to pursue their passions and interests while earning their diploma. And for parents new to homeschooling, Oak Meadow offers a new online teacher training program, Foundations in Independent Learning. Ready to make a change this fall? Visit Oak Meadow’s website to learn more: www.oakmeadow.com.

Fridays Jul 15 – Aug 16

Shabbat Shabloom! Fridays at 10 am on Abundance Farm in Northampton. End the week with a joyful morning of music and movement with Felicia Sloin and Amy Meltzer – especially for ages 0-5. Tour the farm, sample what’s in season, and take flowers home for Shabbat. Every Friday morning at 10 am until the end of August. First visit free, suggested donation of $5/family thereafter. All are welcome. Abundance Farm is located at Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect Street in Northampton, across the street from the YMCA. For more information, contact Amy@abundancefarm.org or join the Shabbat Shabloom! facebook group.

Jul 23 & 30

Join Enchanted Circle Theater and The Trustees at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington for a unique living history experience! A Fiery and Still Voice: William Cullen Bryant at Home is a site-based history play where past and present converge to bring the Homestead to life! This is a play about love, passion and social justice. Performances are at 11am, 12pm and 1pm on Saturday, July 23rd and Saturday July 30th rain or shine. Please wear comfortable walking shoes as the audience travels through several rooms in the house as well as outdoors. Nineteen shows are scheduled throughout the summer and early fall. Tickets are limited, so be sure to reserve in advance at www.thetrustees.org.

July 26

Meet The Cat in the Hat and Things 1 and 2 at the Springfield Museums’ “Celebrate Seuss Day” on Tuesday July 26 (10am-2pm)! The many FREE activities scheduled that day include balloon sculpting, face painting, plus performances by the Boston Circus Guild. The Cat is coming to make a major announcement at 10am that Seuss fans won’t want to miss! It’s all part of the Summer Spectacular Family Series, with great family entertainment, live animal demos, and fun art and science activities every weekday through August 12th. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 30

The Fab Faux returns to The Mahaiwe Performing Art Center in Great Barrington on Saturday, July 30 at 8pm! With a commitment to the accurate reproduction of Beatles`classics, The Fab Faux are known for their painstaking recreations of the songs – with emphasis on the later works never performed live by the Beatles. Imagine hearing complex material like “Strawberry Fields Forever” or “I Am the Walrus” performed in complete part-perfect renditions; or such harmony-driven songs as “Nowhere Man”, and “Paperback Writer”, reproduced only note-for-note! For tickets, call the box office at 413-528-0100 or go online at www.mahaiwe.org/TheFabFaux.

Jul 30

Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold a Fire Truck Show on Saturday, July 30th. This is your opportunity to get up close and personal with all aspects of the firefighting industry including over twenty fire trucks to view. During your visit you will also learn more about the Fire Truck Museum collection along with local Fire Departments equipment & vehicles. Don’t miss your opportunity to sit in a real fire trucks, try on fireman’s turnout gear, watch fire hose demonstrations, maneuver through a kid’s maze using a fire hose and take home a souvenir fire hat. For the convenience of all, food and refreshments will be available for purchase. CTM is located in East Windsor, CT. For more info visit ct-trolley.org or call 860-627-6540.

Sep 25

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its sixth year on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by riding in this fun event as an individual or forming a team with your friends, family and coworkers. With 4 routes to choose from (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles), riders of all ages can get involved. There’ll be music, food, beverages, games and more. Last year’s event raised $100,000 to help feed our neighbors in need. You can make this year’s event even more successful. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Jul 9 – Aug 13

Summer Entertainment Series at the South Hadley Village Commons: Saturdays at 10:30am, July 9th-August 13th. For a lively Saturday morning full of music, magic, and lots of fun, visit the Village Commons in South Hadley! Performances run throughout the summer, beginning July 9th, and include Tom Ricardi and his birds of prey, Trevor the Games Man, music from Roger Tincknell and Dorothy Cresswell, and magic by Ed the Wizard and Ed Popielarczyk! These hour-long events are free and held outdoors in the courtyard in front of the Odyssey Bookshop. In case of rain, entertainment will be held inside the bookstore. For a detailed schedule, call the Odyssey at 413-534-7307, or visit their website, odysseybks.com!

Jul 22-24 & 29-30

It’s the greatest sports story of all time! Welcome to The International Raceway. Our contestants: The Tortoise—PaintBox Theatre newcomer Michael King vs. The Hare—PaintBox favorite and Valley icon Kelsey Flynn. Yes, Kelsey’s coming out of retirement! She is dusting off her rabbit ears and hopping into the race. We promise lots of cheering and excitement as we present this folktale dash for glory. Performances are Fri. July 22, 7pm, Sat.-Sun. July 23 and 24, 10:30am & 1pm at the Williston Theatre in Easthampton, and Fri. July 29, 7pm, Sat. July 30, 10:30am & 1pm at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Jul 26

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, July 26th at 3pm: Improv Workshop with Lisa Papademetriou, Molly B. Burnham, and Heidi Hass. For lots of laughs and plenty of fun, join local authors Lisa Papademetriou and Molly B. Burnham and improv extraordinaire Heidi Hass for a workshop that will make you a master of improv! A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of related book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 6 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Jul 30

Celebrate the eighth Harry Potter book with a Hogwarts Reunion and Midnight Book Release Party at Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA! On Saturday, July 30th, at 10pm, The Odyssey Bookshop, seller of fine wizarding books and wares, is delighted to welcome all wizard- and muggle-folk for a special reunion and Midnight celebration of the latest book about the life of one of Hogwarts’s most famous alumnus, Harry Potter class of ’98! Enjoy participating in a costume contest, browse wands at Ollivander’s, pose at the photobooth, sample some of Harry’s birthday cake (he’s turning 36), and much more! RSVPs are required! Visit http://bit.ly/1sJ8fDb to register, preorder the book, and view an activity list!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, 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 advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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 23-29, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Web-Based Space Explorations Blast Off Through NASA Kids’ Club

Web-Based Space Explorations Blast Off Through NASA Kids’ Club

Offering a wealth of space-based information presented in a playful way, NASA’s online Kids’ Club presents opportunities for studies of a fascinating yet largely inaccessible realm. Relevant for most ages and easy to use, the Kids’ Club can be a great resource for space enthusiasts!

Space is a fascinating place, and a big part of its appeal is the fact that it’s just out of reach for most human beings. While curious kids aren’t very likely to be able to visit space anytime soon, NASA offers a kid-friendly online space filled with information about the many different missions, projects, and technologies that the organization is responsible for – allowing aspiring astronauts to learn about the ways in which humans research and explore the vast wilderness that is outer space.

The NASA Kids’ Club is an easy to use portal that connects kids to a wealth of information in many forms. The Kids’ Club offers everything from printable games and coloring pages to detailed descriptions of specific aircraft and their uses. Highlights of the website include a section dedicated to NASA’s current and recent missions and a photo gallery filled with images of the many people involved in NASA’s programs at work on a variety of tasks. Smaller sections within the site offer a look at nutrition and menu planning in space, the locations and inhabitants (both human and nonhuman) of NASA center’s across the country, the reasons behind the exploration that NASA guides, and the difference in time and gravity on each of the planets in our solar system.

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Nature’s Patterns Reveals Mathematical Reasoning

Nature’s Patterns Reveals Mathematical Reasoning

As you gaze into the center of a flower, did you know that you’re regarding an incredible example of mathematical reasoning? Nature’s patterns, as it happens, are deeply rooted in the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio.

It’s the ultimate in a marriage between the aesthetic beauty of nature, and its mathematical base that makes it make sense. Read on to discover what a learning opportunity this is for the family to share! There are many resources on-line, in your community, and of course in your backyard to explore these theories.

Read more and see great videos in our post, Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education.

[Photo credit: (cc) Steve]

 

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Nature Centers and Events for Multi-Disciplinary Learning

Nature Centers and Events for Multi-Disciplinary Learning

Summer is a great time to get outdoors, and explore deep into the woods. Guided nature walks, and self-directed exploration of nature, can connect to many other interests. Nature centers are an essential resource for outdoor learning. For a list of Western Mass nature centers and their offerings, read our post, Local Nature Centers Connect Families to Nature Through Interpretive Programs. The following upcoming events use a love of nature as a jumping off point to encourage creative free play, environmental stewardship, and even art studies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Molly Bang’s “Nobody Particular: One Woman’s Fight to Save the Bays”

Literary Guide for Molly Bang’s Nobody Particular: One Woman’s Fight to Save the Bays

Diane Wilson was always a strong woman. She made a living as a shrimper while raising five children, and relied on her own resilience and pure grit in order to raise her family. In 1989, shrimp became scarce in the bays of her hometown in Calhoun County, Texas. Diane worried about the size of her catch, and the future of the shrimp population in Texas’ bays. What would happen to the industry if the shrimp died out? How would she support her family?

Diane’s concerns turned into action when she learned about a connection between the lack of shrimp and the monstrous plastics manufacturing plants that dotted the coastline of her home county. At the time (1989), her county was responsible for over half of the state’s pollution – and it wasn’t just killing the shrimp. Diane saw the effects that the plants had all around her – in the local landscape and within the human community, too. And much to her horror, the companies causing environmental destruction and human health problems were not only being allowed to do so, they were about to be allowed to expand without any consideration of the environment impact that expansion would have.

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Support Art Studies this Summer with Community Classes and Art Exhibits

9 Summer Opportunities for Art Studies

To find a gallery exhibition which interests you, check out our post, Visual Art in Western MA: July Openings, Closings & Calls for Art. Glass sculptures, paintings, drawings, and fiber art can all be found throughout the Pioneer Valley this month.

In addition to gallery and museum exhibits for supporting art studies, classes and workshops are being offered this summer at several of our best community resources across the region, including the William Cullen Bryant Homstead in Cummington, Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, the Springfield Museums in Springfield and even Eastworks in Easthampton. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 18-22, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Save

HFVS with Guest DJ, Dean Jones from Dog on Fleas (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Guest DJ, Dean Jones from Dog on Fleas

Grammy winning producer, Dean Jones from Dog on Fleas, is our guest DJ this week. — www.dogonfleas.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 16th & 17th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: Jonathan Richman- “That Summer Feeling” (I, Jonathan)


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

Listen to Podcast:

PLAYLIST

  • Jonathan Richman- “That Summer Feeling” (I, Jonathan)
  • Dean Jones – “Swiss Cheese Angels” (In My Dreams)
  • The Harmonica Pocket – “I Love Ukeleles” (Sundrops)
  • Michael Hurley – “Why Should I Have to Worry” (Long Journey)
  • The Efe Pymies – “Ikobi” (Echoes of the Forest)
  • Stevie Wonder – “Outside My Window” (Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants)
  • Joanna Newsom – “Bridges and Balloons” (The Milk-eyed Mender)
  • The Deedle Deedle Dees – “Super Strong” (The Rocket Went UP)
  • Roberto Stepheson – Frevo Danado de Bom na Tocaca Furada (Guide to Pernambuco)
  • Dean Jones – “Humans are Still Evolving” (In My Dreams)
  • Donovan – “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” (Donovan’s Greatest)
  • Kishi Bashi – “Wonder Woman, Wonder Me” (151A)
  • Katie Ha Ha Ha – “Shenendoah” (Katie Ha Ha Ha)
  • Dog on Fleas – “Babies” (Beautiful World)
  • Art Ensemble of Chicago – “The Key” (Fanfare for the Warriors)
  • Marcy Marxer – “Things are Coming My Way” (Things are Coming My Way)
  • Regina Spektor – “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) (What We Saw from the Cheap Seats)

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 16th & 17th

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 16th-22nd for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ornithology to Upcycling. Storytelling to Circus Arts., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

July 16-22, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Ornithology ♦ Zoology ♦ Bioluminescence ♦  Music Studies ♦ Local History ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Family Theater ♦ Storytelling ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Upcycling ♦ Art Studies ♦ Drawing ♦ Service-Based Learning ♦ Circus Arts

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Time to Talk: Summer Language Stimulation
  2. Q&A: Are Your Kids Still in Diapers? What Do They Swim In?
  3. Literary Guide for Lisa Campbell Ernst’s “Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt”
  4. Local Agricultural Fairs Showcase Rich Local Heritage
  5. Oak & Acorn: Basil Pesto & Peas

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33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ornithology to Upcycling. Storytelling to Circus Arts.

Bioluminescence, emission of light by an organism, is a fascinating chemical process. It has many uses in various organisms including attracting mates, communication, defense against predators, and illumination for the purpose of sight. An upcoming Young Scientists’ Club gathering at the Gaylord Memorial Library will teach kids all about bioluminescence.

Ornithology to Upcycling. Storytelling to Circus Arts. Dance Studies to Service-Based Learning. These are just a few of the community-based 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 community highlight this week: On Thursday, July 21, from 10am-4pm, people of all ages are invited to “Science in the Streets” at the Springfield Museums. This STEM festival, part of the Summer Spectacular family programming series, will feature exciting demonstrations by researchers and innovators. Educators and parents are encouraging children to develop or sustain an interest in STEM because many exciting career paths require STEM skills. Learn about science, technology, engineering and math at the Springfield Museums! This program is open to all ages and free with museum admission. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Children under two FREE).


Ornithology ♦ Zoology ♦ Bioluminescence ♦  Music Studies ♦ Local History ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Family Theater ♦ Storytelling ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Upcycling ♦ Art Studies ♦ Drawing ♦ Service-Based Learning ♦ Circus Arts


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Suggested Events for July 16th-27th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I check in with Hilltown Families a few times a week, whether it’s the list of Suggested Events or Newsletter. It’s such a fascinating look at what the Valley has to offer in terms of fun, learning and adventure for my family and I! I would miss out on a lot of events and happenings in the small towns throughout the region without HF. Our community should support this megaphone for the small, and magnifying glass of the interesting in our towns.” – Alice Rich Lewis (Florence, 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 14 Jul 21 Jul 28 Aug 4

The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) presents 4 Free Concerts in beautiful Kendrick Park for four consecutive Thursdays. July 14 starts the series with World Music by The Pangeans & The Alchemystics, July 21 is Lord Russ & Grammy-winning Children’s Performer Mister G, July 28 is Sprit Ghost & Carinae and August 4 is Salvation Alley String Band & Llama Lasagne. Concerts run from 5:30-8pm. Order take-out from our diverse and delicious downtown cafes and restaurants and enjoy the show in the park. Bertucci’s offers Free Delivery to the Park. For more info: www.amherstdowntown.com

Fridays Jul 15 – Aug 16

Shabbat Shabloom! Fridays at 10 am on Abundance Farm in Northampton. End the week with a joyful morning of music and movement with Felicia Sloin and Amy Meltzer – especially for ages 0-5. Tour the farm, sample what’s in season, and take flowers home for Shabbat. Every Friday morning at 10 am until the end of August. First visit free, suggested donation of $5/family thereafter. All are welcome. Abundance Farm is located at Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect Street in Northampton, across the street from the YMCA. For more information, contact Amy@abundancefarm.org or join the Shabbat Shabloom! facebook group.

Jul 22 & 23

Paul Taylor Dance Company performs at The Mahaiwe Performing Art Center in Great Barrington on Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23rd – featuring 3 New England Premieres and a $20 per FAMILY Saturday matinee! One of the seminal artists of our time, Paul Taylor continues to shape the homegrown American art of modern dance that he has helped define since becoming a professional dancer and pioneering choreographer in 1954. For tickets, call the box office at 413-528-0100 or go online at www.mahaiwe.org/Dance.

Sep 25

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its sixth year on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by riding in this fun event as an individual or forming a team with your friends, family and coworkers. With 4 routes to choose from (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles), riders of all ages can get involved. There’ll be music, food, beverages, games and more. Last year’s event raised $100,000 to help feed our neighbors in need. You can make this year’s event even more successful. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Jul 9 – Aug 13

Summer Entertainment Series at the South Hadley Village Commons: Saturdays at 10:30am, July 9th-August 13th. For a lively Saturday morning full of music, magic, and lots of fun, visit the Village Commons in South Hadley! Performances run throughout the summer, beginning July 9th, and include Tom Ricardi and his birds of prey, Trevor the Games Man, music from Roger Tincknell and Dorothy Cresswell, and magic by Ed the Wizard and Ed Popielarczyk! These hour-long events are free and held outdoors in the courtyard in front of the Odyssey Bookshop. In case of rain, entertainment will be held inside the bookstore. For a detailed schedule, call the Odyssey at 413-534-7307, or visit their website, odysseybks.com!

Jul 16

On Saturday, July 16, the Emily Dickinson Museum will present its annual 19th Century Children’s Circus from 1 to 4 pm on the Museum lawn. Especially perfect for children ages 3 to 10 (accompanied by adults), the cost is $5 per family, with free admission for Museum members. The Circus will feature performances and storytelling by TheatreTruck, a visit from The Goat Girls, a juggling workshop, a reading with author Burleigh Muten and her students, face-painting, 19th-century playthings such as stilts and balance beams, “mini” tours of Emily Dickinson’s bedroom ($1/ticket), gingerbread treats from “Miss Emily” herself and lowered from her bedroom window, crafts, and more. For all the details, visit www.EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org/circus2016.

Jul 16 – 17

July 16-17, 2016. Spirit Houses and Woodland Wonders – Fun for the entire family at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield! Build a spirit or fairy house along the Village’s winding Farm and Forest Trail. Create a spirit drawing inspired by Hancock’s premier collection of Shaker gift drawings. Explore the house-like sculptures of artist Robert Hite. Join their “Parade of the Spirits,” with HSV farm animals and dancers from Cantarella School of Dance. Enjoy special activities in the Discovery Barn. Included in regular admission (children 12 and under on family visits are always free). Hancock Shaker Village is located at 1843 West Housatonic Street. For a complete schedule, visit www.hancockshakervillage.org or call 413-443-0188.

Jul 19

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, July 19th at 3pm: Color Tamer Masks with author/illustrator Julia Denos. Amazing Boston-area author and illustrator Julia Denos will teach campers how to make their very own color tamer masks, based on her book Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color! A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of the book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 4 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Jul 20-23 Aug 3-6

New Century Theatre Kids presents A Year with Frog and Toad book and lyrics by Willie Reale, music by Robert Reale. Join NCTKids this summer for a tuneful re-telling of Arthur Lobel’s beloved classic children’s books Frog and Toad. Follow best friends–worrywart Toad and confident Frog–as they sing and dance their way through a year in the swamp with all their hopping, crawling, flying friends. All the gentle joy and fun of Lobel’s books come to life in this charming musical for kids of all ages! Directed by Cate Damon with Musical Direction by Mitch Chakour. July 20-23 & August 3-6 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Northampton. Call the box office for tickets: 413-585-3220. www.newcenturytheatre.org

Jul 22-24 & 29-30

It’s the greatest sports story of all time! Welcome to The International Raceway. Our contestants: The Tortoise—PaintBox Theatre newcomer Michael King vs. The Hare—PaintBox favorite and Valley icon Kelsey Flynn. Yes, Kelsey’s coming out of retirement! She is dusting off her rabbit ears and hopping into the race. We promise lots of cheering and excitement as we present this folktale dash for glory. Performances are Fri. July 22, 7pm, Sat.-Sun. July 23 and 24, 10:30am & 1pm at the Williston Theatre in Easthampton, and Fri. July 29, 7pm, Sat. July 30, 10:30am & 1pm at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Jul 30

Celebrate the eighth Harry Potter book with a Hogwarts Reunion and Midnight Book Release Party at Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA! On Saturday, July 30th, at 10pm, The Odyssey Bookshop, seller of fine wizarding books and wares, is delighted to welcome all wizard- and muggle-folk for a special reunion and Midnight celebration of the latest book about the life of one of Hogwarts’s most famous alumnus, Harry Potter class of ’98! Enjoy participating in a costume contest, browse wands at Ollivander’s, pose at the photobooth, sample some of Harry’s birthday cake (he’s turning 36), and much more! RSVPs are required! Visit http://bit.ly/1sJ8fDb to register, preorder the book, and view an activity list!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, 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 advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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 16-22, 2016

SaturdaySunday
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Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

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3D Printing Resources at Local Libraries Supporting STE(A)M

3D Printers as Community-Based Resource

3D printing, a type of industrial robot which can synthesize three dimensional objects for a variety of purposes, is one of the most exciting technological, scientific, and creative innovations of recent years. Local libraries and other learning centers have begun to support an interest in engineering, technology, and creativity by housing 3D printers and providing demonstrations of the technology. 3D printers can be incorporating into makerspaces (read more in our post, Maker Spaces: Community-Based Opportunities to Think, Make, Do, Learn and Share!) or they can stand alone as a resource.

There are several upcoming opportunities for families to learn about and utilize this new technology their your own projects.

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In Appreciation: Reading as a Tool Towards Empathy

This is Your Brain on Books

Summer reading is a wonderful chance to engage your children with a love of reading, and recent research suggests that reading fiction is also powerful tool for strengthening our empathy muscles.

Summer is one of my favorite seasons, but not just for beaches and iced coffees, though those are both really good reasons. With summer comes one of my favorite pastimes—summer reading. Okay, to be fair, I love fall, winter, and spring reading too, but now that my oldest daughter is learning to read herself, summer reading has taken on a new meaning as we take part in our local library’s summer reading challenge, with prizes of more books for reading books, which is sort of my idea of the perfect circle.

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Summertime Sensory Resources in Western MA

Sensory Experiences in Summer

Summer, a time of hiking, biking, camping, and swimming, can be a joyful time. For children sensitive to sensory integration, however, it can be an overwhelming season full of stimulation. Children, in general, are highly sensitive. Some seek out stimulation and some limit it. Luckily, here in western MA there are inclusive resources and activities for both sensory-seeking and sensory-limiting children and their families.

MUSEUMS

Children who love sensory input will most likely have a great time at one of the many Western Massachusetts museums, including the Springfield Museums, Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield and the Holyoke Children’s Museum.  Read the rest of this entry »

10 Messy Summer Science Activities for Outside!

One of the best ways to engage in hands-on science learning is by simply messing about. When children’s play leads them to make observations about the things around them and the ways in which they interact with each other, they learn powerful lessons that they’ll remember for years to come. Luckily the time of year messy science learning can be done outdoors! Below are ten suggestions for hands-on science activities that families can engage in both to learn about a specific topic and to encourage self-directed “messing about” with safe science materials once formal experimentation has been done.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for July

Nature Table for July

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along a common theme easily spotted in our surroundings that month. A tradition carried out by teachers, environmental educators, and nature-curious families, nature tables bring a little bit of the outdoors inside for inspection, dissection, identification, creative play, art projects, and lots of other educational activities. The idea behind a nature table is to help open up children’s eyes to the unique attributes of each season, and to help them learn how to see these things in nature for themselves. A nature table can include a variety of items, and is often accompanied by a set of books and/or field guides so that children can take part in further learning at their own will.

Things are dry this summer, and the landscape shows it. Leaves are droopy, moss is crispy, and the water lines on river rocks are alarmingly high above the current flow. Despite the drought’s impact on our surroundings, it makes rivers especially accessible for exploration. Even the smallest of adventurers can navigate through knee-deep pools and miniature falls – and that’s exactly what we’ve been up to. We’ve rambled up and down rivers and streams, clambering over rocks and splashing in pools, all in search of meaningful sensory experiences that will lead us to a deepened understanding of the place in which we live.

Last July, our bug-centric nature table was dictated by similar circumstances: hikes and swims and river rambles amongst the hills of western Massachusetts. Our focus this year has shifted, and we’ve had our eyes on the river since the warm season began. This month’s nature table is once again bug-centric, but is all about the bugs that we’ve found in the water – or rather, the evidence of bugs that we’ve found in the water.

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Community Resources Support Interests in Animals, Insects, Fish and More!

Support an Interest in Zoology with Community-Based Resources

Seeking out animals in farms, shelters, zoos, museums, libraries, and your own backyard opens up a world of learning

Directly engaging with animals provide direct ways of learning about biology, habitat, ecology, and other scientific disciplines. Reading or hearing about animals is useful, but actually seeing them upclose is invaluable. Many kids are fascinated by animals- their appearance, their behavior, the way they interact.

For parents of animal lovers, this interest is a ripe opportunity for education via community-base resources and events. Taxonomy, the scientific grouping of biological organisms, is complex. Classes of animal species often encompass their own branch of biology. Kids who collect bugs are budding entomologists, while bird watchers are junior ornithologists. And the great thing about animal studies is that it also strengthens a sense of place, connecting us with animals and habitat that surround us everyday.

Here are a few community-based resources to support an interest and education in zoology, biology and entomology:  Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Contest in the Berkshires Celebrates a Sense of Place

Story Slam at the Clark Art Institute Celebrates a Sense of Place

Stone Hill is a prominent geological formation at the heart of the Clark’s campus.

Celebrating the Clark Art Institute’s current exhibit, Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill, a community story slam will coincide on Friday, July 22 at 7pm. Community members are invited to The Clark in Williamstown to hear and tell stories that center around the topic of place.  Stories about the place called home, a particularly meaningful place, or moments of feeling in place, out of place, or displaced are all welcome at this community story slam

On the evening of the event, names of those interested in sharing place-related stories are chosen at random, and those selected are invited to tell their stories up to five minutes in duration. A panel of judges provides feedback and prizes are awarded.  Read the rest of this entry »

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