Off the Mat: Bravery is Being Scared But Acting Anyway

Dad’s Dreams, Mom’s Heart

What’s an anxious Mama to do when presented with a last minute chance to travel to Alaska with her Dad? I remind myself what I teach my son: Bravery doesn’t mean not being scared. Bravery is being scared but acting anyway.

Date night, Pioneer Valley. Scrunched down in my seat at the Academy of Music, tears roll down my cheeks. And I let them, which is unusual for me. On stage, Heather Maloney sings,

I am made of
All the same stuff
That makes the seasons what they are.
I am made of
Dirt and stardust
My daddy’s dreams
My mother’s heart.

What do I know of my dad’s dreams? What did he hope to be when he was six? A country boy with a frog in his pocket, he knew the answers but rarely raised his hand because of his lisp. I know he was often the kid picked last. I know he preferred Gene Autry to John Wayne. Were there dreams in between being a cowboy and a retired chemical engineer? Had to be. An outdoorsman turned corporate traveler, I learned last summer that he’s made it to all but six U.S. states. Next week, he and I check Alaska off that list. Read the rest of this entry »

100+ Science Books to Support STEM Learning this Summer

Science Books to Support Self-Directed Learning & Interests

Experience is always the best teacher – and this is especially true for children! However, when kids are eager to learn about a topic, the experiences available might leave some space for supplementation. After you’ve explored the woods, caught critters, messed about with materials, and exercised all five of your senses together, it might be time to turn to print materials in order to help kids add specific language and detail to their understanding of scientific topics. And, in addition to being filled with lots of useful and fascinating information, science-themed books give children valuable practice reading and interpreting non-fiction material – a skill that will allow them to develop strong skills for self-teaching and answering their own questions.

Whatever topic children are learning about, there are age- and reading level-appropriate materials available. And, thanks to the creativity of children’s authors and illustrators, they’re not only informative but engaging and filled with photographs, diagrams, drawings, and other visuals that children in comprehending text. Read the rest of this entry…

Learning Ahead: July 6th-10th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 10 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Ocean Episode with Guest DJ, Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Ocean Episode
with Guest DJ, Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops

The Hilltown Family Variety Show presents Casey Schaefer of The Whizpops. Casey will take us on an exciting thematic adventure underwater, playing a wide range of music that will help you learn about the importance of ocean wildlife and the fascinating world of symbiotic relationships. — www.thewhizpops.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 4th & 5th, 2015 (rebroadcast)
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  “Sea Turtle” by The Whizpops


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • The Whizpops! – “Manatee” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • Aaron Nigel Smith – “Rowing In The River” [Everyone Loves To Dance]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Peg Leg Song” [The Riddle Solvers – EP]
  • Otis Redding – “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” [Dock Of The Bay]
  • Raffi – “Down By The Bay” [Singable Songs For The Very Young]
  • The Whizpops! – “Sea Turtle” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • The Whizpops! – “Coral Reef” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Parrot Fish Poop Song” [The Riddle Solvers – EP]
  • Recess Monkey – “The Hermit” [Desert Island Disc]
  • Weezer – “Island In The Sun” [Weezer (Green Album)]
  • Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” [Alone in IZ World]
  • The Beach Boys – “Surfing USA” [Endless Summer]
  • Bill Harley – “Pirate Song” [Big Big World]
  • Sisbro Studios – “The Great White Shark Song” [The Riddle Solvers – EP]
  • The Beatles – “Yellow Submarine” [Revolver]
  • The Whizpops! – “Octopus” [Sea Blue Sea]
  • The Beatles – “Octopus’s Garden” [Abbey Road]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 4th & 5th, 2015

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 4th-10th, 2015 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 monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 24 Community Highlights: Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

July 4th-10th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Native FaunaNature-Based LearningNative American CultureMusic StudiesLocal HistoryHikingCircus ArtsOutdoor ConcertsAnimalsArt StudiesFire SafetyCartooningSTEMArts & Crafts

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

  1. Hindsight Parenting: The Rise and Fall of The “Cool” Kid
  2. Parenting Green: Make Yourself Re-useful
  3. Five Catalysts to Connect us with Community-Based Learning
  4. HFVS: 4th of July Birthday Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. What to Play? Make Your Own Toys!

 

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

24 Community Highlights: Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark.

Bald Eagles to Beavers. Orchestra to Buttons. Acrobatics to Glow-in-the-Dark… 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-based educational highlight this week: Tanglewood‘s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 5 at 1pm, gives children ages 3-10 the opportunity to listen to and interact with a variety of orchestral instruments and musical arrangements. The setting is casual and welcoming, and children are encouraged to converse with musicians to explore their music-related curiosities. Pre-registration required. 413-637-5180. The Shed at Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)


Native FaunaNature-Based LearningNative American CultureMusic StudiesLocal HistoryHikingCircus ArtsOutdoor ConcertsAnimalsArt StudiesFire SafetyCartooningSTEMArts & Crafts


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 4th-10th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls has full week summer art programs available for children & teens. Space is still available! All programs involve collaborations with local artists, bringing a range of media & technical expertise to an already inspiring and nurturing studio art experience. Two separate weeks in August feature guest artist morning workshops in mosaic, printmaking, felting, henna, shadow puppetry, musical instrument making, painting & collage. Every day at The Art Garden includes time for self-directed projects using the extensive collection of traditional & non-traditional art materials available. Fees vary. Financial aid available. Registration required. Details: www.theartgarden.org, csartgarden@gmail.com or 413-625-2782.

Jul 6 – Aug 14

Great family entertainment, live animal demos, and fun art and science activities every weekday. It’s the Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums, July 6th through August 14th. Performers this summer include the Akwaaba Drum & Dance Ensemble, Mister G, and The Nields. Plus, don’t miss Curious George: Let’s Get Curious at the Springfield Science Museum through September 6. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 8-12 & Jul 22-25

Hooray! Hooray! NCTKids is bringing everybody’s favorite first grader to the stage in this lively musical adaptation of Barbara Park’s beloved Junie B. Jones book series. Junie B. (the B. stands for Beatrice only she does not like Beatrice, just B.) sings and dances her way through First Grade with the help of her teacher Mr. Scary, the Cafeteria Lady and friends like Sheldon and Herb and even that tattle-tale, May. Grab your top-secret personal beeswax journal and join us for all the fun. Directed by Cate Damon with musical direction by Mitch Chakour. July 8-12 & July 22-25 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Green Street, on the Smith College Campus in Northampton. All seats: $10. Box Office: 413-585-3220

Jul 8-11

PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—opens its season with a very silly show, featuring Porky, Oink and Bacon Bits—the Three Little Piggies. However, they need your help. They have three actors and they all want to be pigs. Who plays the wolf? Guess what: the entire audience will play the wolf in this wild adaptation of a favorite tale. You can even come dressed as a wolf. Start practicing your huffing and puffing! Performances are Wed., July 8 – Sat., July 11, 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 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Puss in Boots, July 22 – 25. PaintBoxTheatre.com

Jul 10-Aug 9

The 24th Annual Ko Festival of Performance, July 10-August 9, has 5 weeks of original & compelling theatre for teens – adults curated on the theme of “NEW | HOME | LAND: Strangers, Newcomers & Neighbors in a New America.” Also, the Mettawee River Theater Company in their last year of touring, with “Out of the Past,” performed for all ages, out under the stars with giant puppets, masks, live music and a spirit of celebration. Plus 3 intensive workshops for adults: “FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story for Performance,” ZEN & THE ART OF PERFORMANCE,” & “IMAGE-OBJECT-PUPPET: Creating a Poetic Theater.” All on the Amherst College campus. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit kofest.com or email info@kofest.com

Jul 15

Join us on Wednesday, July 15 from 1-3pm for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Wednesday, July 15th, 1pm-3pm, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

July

The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children & Teens—a program of Cooley-Dickinson VNA & Hospice provides support to grieving young people & their families, announces Summer in The Garden. This FREE program takes place July 2015. Summer in The Garden is open to grieving youth (ages 5-18) & an adult caregiver. Participants will make projects in small groups, for example an “intention stick” where participants will write messages of intention or inspiration on a stick before embellishing with meaningful colors, ribbons, shells. Summer in The Garden will be on 7/21, 7/23, 7/28 & 7/30 at 168 Industrial Dr. Northampton For more information AND to RSVP call Shelly Bathe Lenn at 413 582 5312. Shelly_Lenn@cooley-dickinson.org

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 4th-10th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Pressing Plants and Flowers Supports Summer Learning & Memories

Creative documenting of summer blooms capture memories and learning

Herbariums are collections of preserved plants and are fun ways for families to preserve summer memories while supporting an interest in botany and local habitats.

As the many flowering plants of the summer grow buds, burst into bloom, and fall to the ground to make way for the next wave of plants to come into season, children often collect specimens of their favorite colorful plants in an attempt to preserve them for endless enjoyment and examination. Inevitably, flowers in a vase will wilt, but carefully pressed and preserved plants can maintain a version of favorite plants that can be enjoyed and examined no matter the season. Pressed plants and flowers can be used for a variety of purposes, and lend themselves in particular to art projects and scientific observations. When compiled as a collection, pressed flowers can serve as a family herbarium – serving as documentation of springs and summers past.
Read the rest of this entry »

Maker Camp Makes Camp Come to You

Virtual camp brings a world of learning to kids in their own homes!

Held on weekdays from July 6th-August 14th, Maker Camp offers a new theme each week and, in addition to daily project tutorials, each week’s theme includes a virtual field trip or two.

This summer, Google and Make: are offering hands-on kids and teens an alternative to the traditional summer camp. Instead of following the typical camp structure that involves trails in the woods, friendship bracelet crafts, and canoe lessons, Maker Camp is totally web-based, and engages kids in creative and educational DIY activities in their own homes – and best of all, it’s completely free!

Offering six weeks worth of programming, the 2015 Maker Camp is filled with activities and virtual field trips that match the interests and abilities of an incredibly wide range of learners. Held on weekdays from July 6th-August 14th, Maker Camp offers a new theme each week and, in addition to daily project tutorials, each week’s theme includes a virtual field trip or two. Check the Maker Camp schedule for these weekly themes.
Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Talk: 11 Apps to Support Children’s Language Skills

Summer School Vacation: Fostering Language Carryover with and without Apps

The activities we do when on vacation can be used to support vocabulary and language skills. When used together with your kids, apps can also be useful tools to stimulate communication and fostering language carryover.

Summer school vacation is finally here. Many parents have a lot of plans set up for their kids, but make sure to save some time for pure relaxation with each other. That’s where our memories of childhood are built.

Hopefully some educational activities will be shared by teachers, libraries and service providers for the summer. I can share apps but rather than let your children play on the iPad to keep them occupied, I suggest using apps together with your child during relaxing child/parent time, similar to book reading. I always suggest that parents play with an app before introducing it to their child. Apps are flexible tools. They can be purely entertainment or can teach a skill. It’s all up to how they are originally taught. Remember, even an electronic game can be a vehicle for narratives, explanations, and defining vocabulary if the parents ask for this. Read the rest of this entry »

Gateway City Arts Connects Community and Creativity

Gateway City Arts Connects Community and Creativity

Previously in our series spotlighting arts-based community organizations, we featured Easthampton City Arts+, Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays and Turners Falls RiverCulture, all of which support a community’s cultural identify. Across western Massachusetts, many communities have become havens for artists of all kinds. The area is chock-full of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, performers, and other creative types, their work saturating our communities with artistic expression in a wide variety of mediums. Connecting these artists and their work to the the rest of the community are arts organizations, which serve as valuable resources for connecting families with events and community-based learning opportunities.

This month, we spotlight Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, a creative co-working space intended for making, teaching, and performing art of all kinds. Gateway City Arts is much more than a maker space, however – the organization’s mission is not only to provide work spaces but to strengthen local community, culture, and the arts by providing space in addition to infrastructure. Community-based learning opportunities abound at Gateway City Arts, thanks to the myriad of diverse events, performances, and learning opportunities.  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: July 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 2015

“I love receiving Hilltown Families as it give me ideas to share with my family and others around me. We should all support Hilltown Families so they can continue and be an asset to our community. ” Susan Robert (Cheshire, 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Under the Hat: Counting and Key Changes

Counting and Key Changes

My new bilingual album is called Los Animales, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like: a collection of original song about animals.“Siete Elefantes” is a counting song, and a pretty simple one at that. In each verse you count different animals (elephants, butterflies, lions and crocodiles). The structure of the tune is four short verses with a bridge between verses two and three.

As a songwriter, you never want to be boring or predictable. So what’s the trick to avoid that with a song that is intentionally repetitive? In this case the answer is a combination of studio production arranging and key changes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Lois Lowry’s “Gathering Blue”

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Designed for use with readers at a 5th grade level, our literature guide for Lois Lowry’s Gathering Blue offers families support in adding insight, visualization, and even mastery of a new skill to a great summer read!

Looking for ways to enhance family reading time? Summer is the perfect time to explore books as a family, and to expand stories and create opportunities for deeper learning together. Hilltown Families offers a wealth of resources for supporting families in this endeavor, beginning with the very first featured title in our 2015 Summer Reading Resource series of literary guides!

Featured weekly throughout the summer, this year’s installments in the annual Summer Reading Resource series include downloadable guides to children’s literature written by students and alumni from the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England. Each literary guide pairs a featured book with suggestions for ways to help children expand their thinking, create connections to the text, and allow their literacy skills to grow. These guides contain outlines with discussion topics, critical thinking questions, and suggestions for many other activities that can provide supplemental education at home. The titles featured throughout the summer will cover a wide range of genres, themes, and reading levels, so as to provide something for everyone and to support families in their pursuit of new and fascinating reading material.

The books included in the series include both picture and chapter books, and cover all of the ages and developmental capacities typically found in grades K-6. Check back weekly for a new guide, or peruse the resources offered in our 2013 and 2014.

The first guide in this summer’s series is Gathering Blue, written by literary great, Lois Lowry.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: The Bumpy Inconsistent Emotional Journey of Parenthood

Sensitive Souls

I am a teacher; have been for 23 years. If you don’t know, a teacher’s clock is different than other adults. For us, this week is the end of the “year.” June is when the last chords play on a song that has it all; soft parts, loud parts, fast, heart-racing tempos and slow, feet-dragging beats. In June, I am pensive and melancholy because of the ending…the missing of students and parents and colleagues with which you spend most of your day. In June, I am reflective. I look back and take stock.

My “year” started in September.
My daughter went to kindergarten.
My eldest went away to college.
My 18 year old went to jail.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Learning on the Watershed

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: June Segment
Habitat to Support Community-Based Education

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal host, Ashley Kohl, to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Thursday, June 25, 2015, this month looking at community-based education through the lens of habitat.  Sienna and Ashley talk about community-based events and resources that support an integrative approach to nature-based learning:

Summer months are a great time of year to get outside with your kids and allow nature to become their classroom.  During the warmer months, look through the lens of your local habitat to find ways for your families to engage in your community while supporting interests and education.  What you will find are opportunities and resources that integrate learning cross a variety of interests, including:

  • River ecology to support interests in insects.
  • Wetlands to support learning about the food chain.
  • Bogs for discovering unique native plants.

Points of entry to community engagement that not only support interest and education, but also support the values of many families include:

  • Outdoor adventures supporting intergenerational engagement while learning about the river.
  • Citizen scientist opportunities to engage families in the scientific process while learning about river ecology.
  • Family volunteering that support service-based learning while keeping our rivers clean and protected.

Discover information and ideas highlighted here in our post,
Learning Along the Watershed: Rivers, Wetlands & Bogs.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Thursday, July 25!

Learning Ahead: June 29th-July 3rd, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 7 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Songs About America Episode with Guest DJ, Rocknoceros (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

 Songs About America Episode with
Guest DJ, Rocknoceros

Rocknoceros joins us as our Guest DJ with a Songs About America Episode. The musical trio explore their record collections to find tunes that celebrate, illustrate, and even criticize the Land of the Free.  Starting with the Chuck Berry-inspired rock ‘n roll of the 1950s, the selections quickly span the decades that followed and the various styles that continue to thrive today.  Join in the fun as the band members discuss the people and places that help make American music what it is, with a few asides about lemonade stands and Irving Berlin. — rocknoceros.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
June 27th & 28th, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO: Read along with Rocknoceros as they sing about the Lone Star State in this up-tempo country rocker from the “Plymouth Rockers” CD.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Rocknoceros – “United States of America” [Rocknoceros]
  • Otis Redding – “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” [The Essentials: Otis Redding]
  • Ramones – “Rockaway Beach (Live)” [It’s Alive (Live)]
  • Recess Monkey – “Lemonade” [In Tents]
  • Chuck Berry – “Sweet Little Sixteen” [20th Century Masters – The Millenium Collection: The Best of Chuck Berry]
  • The Beach Boys – “Surfin’ U.S.A.” [Surfin’ USA]
  • Van Halen – “Dancing In the Street” [Diver Down]
  • Bruce Springsteen – “Born In the U.S.A.” [Born In the U.S.A.]
  • Rocknoceros – “Squeakers” [Plymouth Rockers]
  • Elton John – “Philadelphia Freedom” [Greatest Hits 1970-2002]
  • Grateful Dead – “U.S. Blues” [From the Mars Hotel]
  • Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer – “I’m My Own Grandpa (feat. Riders In the Sky)” [Dancin’ In the Kitchen]
  • Dwight Yoakam – “The Late Great Golden State” [21st Century Hits:  Best of 2000-2012]
  • David Bowie – “Young Americans” [Young Americans]
  • Rocknoceros – “God Bless America” [Plymouth Rockers]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 27th & 28th, 2015

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 27th-July 3rd, 2015 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 monthly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 33 Community Highlights: Geocaching to Lavender. Robotics to Victorian Ballroom Dance., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and Summer Bucket List: Reader Recommendations for Western MA!

June 27th-July 3rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

CanoeingSTEMFood & NutritionBirds of PreyHabitatEntomologyGarden-Based LearningLiving HistoryGuided WalkFamily VolunteeringGeocachingLibrary AdventuresAncestryOutdoor Film

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVE

  1. Literary Guide for William Steig’s “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble”
  2. The Garden Plot: Tending Gardens & Family Learning Opportunities
  3. HFVS Guest DJ, Morgan Taylor of Gustafer Yellowgold Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  4. Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education
  5. Open Sesame: New Picture Books Explore Rich Themes

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music Family Volunteer Days

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

33 Community Highlights: Geocaching to Lavender. Robotics to Victorian Ballroom Dance.

Lavender is known for its wonderful scent, which calms the nerves, and for the delicate flavor it imparts to baked goods like scones and shortbread. Immerse your senses in lavender on Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 from 10am – 4pm at Johnson Hill Farm‘s Lavender Festival, where you can enjoy a lavender labyrinth, a dove release, art and crafts by local artisans, workshops, and demonstrations. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Lavender to Robotics. Geocaching to Static Electricity. Victorian Ballroom Dance to Cedar Wetlands…. 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: Geocaching lets you go on real treasure hunts all across the globe. From “geo,” meaning “Earth,” and “cache,”meaning “hidden goods,” geocaching is an activity in which you can follow clues that lead you to concealed treasures. At the end of a geocache you might find a Tupperware container full of glow-in-the-dark plastic lizards (you get to take one!), or a baggie filled with a mishmash of items left by others who found the cache before you (take one and leave something of yours), and — always– a log book in which to enter information about yourself.  Sunday, June 28 at 2pm & 3pm, a Geocache 101 class and potluck supper, hosted by the Becket Athenaeum, highlights Becket’s geocache scene, with activities led by experienced geocachers and a fun supper afterwards to meet others who are interested in this incredibly fun hobby. 413-623-5483. Becket Center Park, Main Street, Becket, MA. (FREE)


CanoeingSTEMFood & NutritionBirds of PreyHabitatEntomologyGarden-Based LearningLiving HistoryGuided WalkFamily VolunteeringGeocachingLibrary AdventuresAncestryOutdoor Film


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


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Suggested Events for June 27th-July 3rd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is the first place I check when deciding what to do with a free weekend, day, or even hour! My favorite thing is when they post a question to the community and we can read the opinions and recommendations of our fellow parents – this is true community engagement in the 21st century. This website is an absolute service to our community – not just people with kids but for everyone! I’d be at a total loss most weekends or when guests visit, if not for Hilltown Families, and I think we should support it as it has supported us.” – Lauren W. (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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Over 60 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from!!!

Check out our featured post, 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Jun 27

Join us on Saturday, June 27 from 10am-12noon for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, June 27th, 10am-12noon, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Jun 27

Join us for Franklin Land Trust’s 24th Annual Farm & Garden Tour on Saturday, June 27th from 10am-4pm. This is one day self-guided tour of the secret gardens, working farms and special places in Ashfield & Conway. Some highlights include: an off-the-grid home, bee yard, beautiful rock walls, wattle fence of alder whips, espaliered star magnolia, collection of heirloom roses (dating to the Roman Empire) an edible landscape, permaculture, herbs, habitats for native pollinators; one-of-a-kind barn artistically decorated with glass beads and jewelry, organic fruit farm and a country casual garden with easy care plants. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. $15 for a reserved luncheon. www.franklinlandtrust.org or 413-625-9151

Jun 30-Aug 18

Camp Odyssey Craft Camp: Tuesdays June 30th- August 18th. Camp Odyssey is a once-a-week one hour camp featuring one book and activity for kids every Tuesday afternoon at 3pm. Each week they feature a different activity book and matching activity, ranging from make your own lava lamps and cupcake decorating to making grass hair funny faces! A required $5 supply fee or the purchase of the book featured (per child) to attend. Pre-registration is required (at least 2 days prior to event.) A full list of activates and ages ranges can be found listed at www.odysseybks.com Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. Email kids@odysseybks.com to register.

Jul 6 – Aug 14

Great family entertainment, live animal demos, and fun art and science activities every weekday. It’s the Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums, July 6th through August 14th. Performers this summer include the Akwaaba Drum & Dance Ensemble, Mister G, and The Nields. Plus, don’t miss Curious George: Let’s Get Curious at the Springfield Science Museum through September 6. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 8-12 & Jul 22-25

Hooray! Hooray! NCTKids is bringing everybody’s favorite first grader to the stage in this lively musical adaptation of Barbara Park’s beloved Junie B. Jones book series. Junie B. (the B. stands for Beatrice only she does not like Beatrice, just B.) sings and dances her way through First Grade with the help of her teacher Mr. Scary, the Cafeteria Lady and friends like Sheldon and Herb and even that tattle-tale, May. Grab your top-secret personal beeswax journal and join us for all the fun. Directed by Cate Damon with musical direction by Mitch Chakour. July 8-12 & July 22-25 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Green Street, on the Smith College Campus in Northampton. All seats: $10. Box Office: 413-585-3220

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has Fall 2015 openings for pre-school and Kindergarten. Financial aid available! Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler through Sixth Grade. For more information or to schedule a visit, please call 413-253-3101 or email Shelley Poreda, Director, at sporeda@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

July

The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children & Teens—a program of Cooley-Dickinson VNA & Hospice provides support to grieving young people & their families, announces Summer in The Garden. This FREE program takes place July 2015. Summer in The Garden is open to grieving youth (ages 5-18) & an adult caregiver. Participants will make projects in small groups, for example an “intention stick” where participants will write messages of intention or inspiration on a stick before embellishing with meaningful colors, ribbons, shells. Summer in The Garden will be on 7/21, 7/23, 7/28 & 7/30 at 168 Industrial Dr. Northampton For more information AND to RSVP call Shelly Bathe Lenn at 413 582 5312. Shelly_Lenn@cooley-dickinson.org

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
June 27th-July 3rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Picky Eaters, Part 1: The Root

Picky. Finicky. Persnickety. Choosy. Stubborn. Boring. Narrow. Limited.

Where does picky eating come from? Dealing with picky eaters can be a challenge for the omnivorous or adventurous cook. Let’s explore some of the reasons some folks keep a limited diet – and how we can address those needs and help them expand their tastes!

If you’ve ever used one of these words to describe yourself, your child, or someone you know, you probably know the frustration of trying to feed someone who doesn’t seem to like a wide variety of foods.

Perhaps it’s your screaming toddler, who’s latched onto a diet of grape juice and animal crackers; your nine year old who would eat peanut butter sandwiches for every single meal if she could, or even your spouse, who methodically reads the online menu and identifies what he’s going to order before you hit the restaurant.

Let’s talk about some of the reasons that people get labeled “picky eaters.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Along the Watershed: Rivers, Wetlands & Bogs

Learning through the Lens of Habitat: Watersheds in Western MA

Our natural landscapes come to life in the summer months, offering families numerous opportunities to learn about local plant and animals species and a variety of habitats found in our region. These community-based resources are available everywhere, from the parks in our cities to rural countryside. While the months are warm, look for ways to engage in your community in meaningful ways while supporting nature-based interests and education.

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When thinking about the flora and fauna found in our local habitat, consider how these environments support them and how they are all connected with one another.  In western Massachusetts we have a variety of natural surroundings we can examine, including rivers, wetlands and bog, and how they support insects, birds and plants.  Check out these community events that utilized our local habitats and species to support learning, along with points of entry to community engagement that include intergenerational adventures, citizen science and community service… Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Creating Child Friendly Food Experience

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Play With Food

Stirring, whisking, beating, blending, pouring and smearing are all ways that your child can help you in the kitchen. Using these verbs while working can be very helpful to making cooking and creating fun and help your child become more skilled in these areas.

I can see why adults are continuously reminding children not to play with food. It’s messy, it’s rude and it’s bad mannered but it is FUN! So, why not? Food is fun, it’s squishy and adults are always playing with it. We are always there at the kitchen counter cooking, cutting and serving so why not let your little one have a little fun in the kitchen and allow your child to experiment with foods in a natural way.

Cutting foods, pouring water and self-feeding are amazing skills that even the youngest toddlers can master with little practice. Introducing utensils at a young age can only help your child develop the fine motor skills that it takes to self-feed and master skills that she will need to become a skilled independent preschooler.

Offering the opportunity is the first step in creating a child friendly food experience. It is easy to prepare a child friendly work and feeding space in your home or outside. This area will help give your child clear expectations of what should happen there.

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Hit a Home Run with Community-Based Learning this Summer through Local Baseball!

Art, History, and Baseball: Learning from a Great American Pastime

Be a part of a great American pastime this summer and head to the ballfield! Families can explore everything from art and design to American history by using baseball as a lens through which to explore local museums, online resources, and fantastic children’s literature.

A springtime standard for many western Massachusetts families, the sport of baseball is certainly one of our country’s favorite pastimes. Certainly the sport has much to offer families in terms of entertainment, but baseball as a topic of study can serve as an entry point into learning about much more than team dynamics and the specifics of the game. Baseball-inspired studies can spark explorations of civil rights, immigration, local and national history, art, design, and more.

While most youth baseball and softball teams play their seasons during the late spring and early summer, baseball as a spectator sport carries on throughout the summer and early fall. Locally, three collegiate summer teams make a summer outing to a baseball game quite accessible for families. The Pittsfield Suns play at Wahconah Park, Holyoke’s Valley Blue Sox‘s home games are at Mackenzie Stadium, and the North Adams SteepleCats play at Joe Wolfe Field.

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Open Sesame: 4 New Books to Welcome Summer

Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

Four New Books to Welcome Summer

Welcome Summer! Welcome glorious season of long days and warm nights, perfect for swimming and ice cream and going to the circus and gazing at a sky of shimmery stars. Here are four new books – three picture books and a middle grade novel – that revel in these summer delights.

Pool by JiHyeon Lee is a beautiful example of wordless storytelling at its finest. The book opens at a public pool, where a boy waits beside the water. By the time he jumps in, the pool is full of other swimmers. He dives below the crowded surface to the depths where he meets a girl. The black, white, and gray line drawings of the surface juxtapose a world below, where colors shift and change and become brighter in colored pencils and pastels. The new friends share an aquatic adventure as they encounter fish and other interesting creatures in an imaginative, watery landscape. When they swim to the surface, all of the swimmers (drawn in black and white) leave the pool, and only the friends remain, in color. The book’s large format allows readers to dive into the wondrous illustrations and experience the feeling of being underwater and the pure joy of friendship.

  • Pool by JiHyeon Lee. Published by Chronicle Books, 2015. 56 pgs.  ISBN: 978-1452142944

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Summer Reading Programs Focus on Heroes

Discover Literary Heroes this Summer

With the end of the traditional school year comes an overwhelming sense of freedom for children and adults alike. Summer vacation brings what can feel like an endless stretch of days, the hours of which children can only begin to imagine how they’ll fill. Alongside outdoor adventures, creative free play, and some much-needed unstructured down time, families can fill up those long days of summer with great books – endless volumes of which are available in our local libraries.

too darn hot

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

The Ripple: Living Patterns of Watersheds

Thinking Like a Watershed

In the same way all the tiny veins at a leaf’s edge connect to the midrib and then the leaf stem and then the branch and tree trunk and roots, so do our upland streams and brooks flow down into our rivers that empty into our oceans.

Make this summer the summer you discover (if you haven’t yet) the Westfield River watershed.

A watershed is—imagine—a giant bathtub, where the high sides of the tub are defined by ridgelines; and when the shower is on (rain), all the water is contained in the tub shape, flows to the bottom (river), and exits through the same drain.

A better way to imagine what a watershed is: it is a leaf-shaped geography. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: June 22nd-26th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 12 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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HFVS All Kinds of Families Episode with Guest DJ, Alastair Moock (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

All Kinds of Families Episode with
Guest DJ, Alastair Moock

Grammy nominee Alastair Moock is guest DJ this week of the Hilltown Family Variety Show with an All Kinds of Families Episode. — www.moockmusic.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
June 20th & 21st, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  “It Takes All Kinds,” from Alastair Moock’s new album, All Kinds of You and Me.


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Alastair Moock – It Takes All Kinds [All Kinds of You and Me]
  • Marlo Thomas & Harry Belafonte – Parents are People [Free to Be… You and Me]
  • Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer – Happy Adoption Day [Dancin’ in the Kitchen]
  • Papa Crow – Baby Makes Three [Things That Roar]
  • Alastair Moock – My Life is a Lot Like Yours [All Kinds of You and Me]
  • Frances England – Family Tree [Family Tree]
  • Brady Rymer – The Relatives Came [Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could]
  • Tig Notaro – Family Tree [Good One]
  • Father Goose – Panama [It’s A Bam Bam Diddly!]
  • Quartetto Cetra – Nella Vecchia Fattoria [Putumayo Kids Presents – Animal Playground]
  • Grenadilla – Family Song [Grenadilla]
  • Paul Simon – That was Your Mother [Graceland]
  • Jazzy Ash – Every Family’s Different [Home]
  • Johnny Cash – I Got a Boy Named John [The Johnny Cash Children’s Album]
  • Aaron Nigel Smith & One World Chorus – Grateful [Welcome to the Village]
  • Alastair Moock – Kenya Imagine? [All Kinds of You and Me]
  • Alex Mitnick – Love is All it Takes [Love Songs for My Baby]

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