Suggested Events for Dec 24th-30th, 2011

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Bûche de Noël at Bread Euphoria in Haydenville, MA. French for “Yule Log,” Bûche de Noël's are a traditional French cake served during the Christmas holidays. Click on the image to read about the history of this cake and see a food history timeline of other Christmas foods, including Stollens, Twelfth Night Cakes and Sugarplums. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. 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 class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS FOR SCHOOL VACATION WEEK

Enter to win a yearlong family membership to The Trustees for 2012 plus two adult stickers for cross-country skiing at Notchview in Windsor for the 2011-12 season. Deadline: 12/24.

Monday, Dec 26th from 1-3pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Spend the afternoon playing fun and active outdoor games with educator Arianna Grindinrod! Kids will learn about how the animals sharing their environment adapt for the winter weather. 413-522-0338. Conway, MA. ($)

Tuesday, Dec 27th from9:30am-4pm – COLONIAL HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Village has plenty of activities to offer to keep families busy while school’s out! Visit the village to experience the 1800’s- there will be hands-on activities, demonstrations, and performances all day long. Learn about what life in New England was like during winter in the 1830’s. Supplement school history curriculum or do your own family learning adventure. 508-347-3362. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Wednesday, Dec 28th from 1pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/SCIENCE: Mad Science presents, “HoliDaze: The How and Why of the Season” at the Berkshire Athenaeum! This presentation explains the facts behind some holiday traditions and phenomena. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, Dec 29th from 12noon and 2pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/BUBBLES: The Bubble Guy presents not one, but TWO shows today at the Springfield Museums! The show features incredibly bubble-making techniques, the likes of which you’ve likely never seen before. Kids will learn a bit about science, and will probably want to go home and make bubbles after! 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($)

Friday, Dec 30th from 10am-4pm – MYO ART: The Art Garden has special hours during school break! Kids and their adults can drop in for art making using tons of recycled materials and other exciting mediums. 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (<$)

See our full list of events happening this week below. Over 50 events and activities to choose from during the school vacation week!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Enter to win tickets for a Parents' Night Out on New Year's Eve in Northampton, MA!

Saturday, Dec 31st from 10am-4pm – FIRST NIGHT: Holyoke’s First Night, Jr. celebration takes place! Families can enjoy live music, magic, free admission to the Children’s Museum, a visit to the Merry-Go-Round, ice sculptures, and a ball drop (earlier in the day, just for little ones!). Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

CactusHead Puppets Presents: The Just So Stories at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts in Amherst, MA.

WINTER VACATION ACTIVITIES: CactusHead Puppets Presents: The Just So Stories on Tuesday, Dec. 27th & Wednesday, Dec 28th at 2pm in the auditorium at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Enjoy three tales of mischief and magic that tell how some of your favorite animals came to be. Join the museum for silly adaptations of How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Rhino Got His Skin and The Beginning of the Armadillos. Tickets at just $5 ($4.50 for Museum members) and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126. Museum admission extra but not required. Join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in their comfortable theatre. Perfect vacation activity for the whole family! www.carlemuseum.org

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

JOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming aContributing 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 DIY posts, seasonal cooking, and community-based educational opportunities. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

SCHOOL SAFETY HOTLINE: As part of our Safe Schools Plan, the Gateway Regional School District in Huntington, MA has a Safety Hotline, 413-685-1050, which is checked regularly by the district’s Security Monitor. The hotline is a voice mailbox that can be used to report harassment, drug or alcohol concerns, vandalism and school safety issues. The purpose of the hotline is to help keep Gateway schools safe for all.

MITTEN TREE: The Springfield Library Mitten Tree needs your donations. Drop off new mittens, gloves, scarves and hats at any branch library. Donations will be distributed to area groups such as the Red Cross People’s Center, the Gray House, and Springfield Partners for Community Action. Donations will be accepted until January 7, 2012. 413-263-6828


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Dec 24th-30th, 2011

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, Dec 24th, 2011

"I have used Hilltown Families to plan kids vacations and find things to do on the weekends! Also it is a great place to post events to share with other families!" - Piet Slaghekke (Easthampton, MA)

6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: This week we will be rebroadcasting last year’s holiday show hosted by guest DJ, Charity Kahn of Charity and the JAMBand. It’s a holiday show about light, love, community and music! Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. – Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you want. Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast too.

9am-4:30pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Visit Bartholomew’s Cobble for a day of adventuring outdoors! Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t explore and enjoy the landscape. If there’s snow, you can snowshoe, but if not, just go for a hike! 413-229-8600. Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. (<$)

12noon-4pm – SANTA: Last day to take a ride on Santa’s train at Look Park! Meet Santa in his workshop and enjoy a ride through a magical winter wonderland. Mrs. Claus and the elves will be there too. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (DONATION)

1-1:50pm – ICE SKATING: Parent + Tot skate takes place this afternoon at Amelia Park Arena. This session is less crowded and much calmer than a regular open session. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (<$)

4pm – CHRISTMAS: The Chesterfield Congregational Church is holding a special Christmas Eve service this afternoon, specially for kids! There will be a reading of the Christmas Story, carols, and a candle-lighting ceremony – the service is a way to celebrate the holiday with other community members. You needn’t be a member of the congregation to attend, and you don’t even have to be Christian. Attending the service can be an interesting cultural study for kids who are curious about the Christian roots of Christmas. 413-296-0303. 43 Main Road. Chesterfield, MA. (FREE)

5-9pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is lit up for the holidays! There are tons of interesting, intricate, and intriguing light displays to be seen inside of Bright Lights, the park’s holiday exhibit. Get in the holiday spirit! 413-733-3800. Route 83. Springfield, MA. ($)

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Sunday, Dec 25th, 2011 – MERRY CHRISTMAS

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. – This week we will be rebroadcasting last year’s holiday show hosted by guest DJ, Charity Kahn of Charity and the JAMBand. It’s a holiday show about light, love, community and music!

12Noon – CHRISTMAS DINNER: Kate’s Kitchen will be serving a full Christmas Dinner for any family in need. No questions asked. Stop in and enjoy a free meal. 413-536-9109. 413-532-0233.51 Hamilton St. Hoyoke, MA (FREE) 

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: If the weather outside isn’t frightful, take your family on a Christmas Day hike at one of the many beautiful Trustees of Reservation locations in Western MA. While the facilities might be closed today, a hike around the properties are welcomed. Western MA properties include:

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Winter Vacation Week Suggested Day Trips

“The best list of local events each weekend (and vacation weeks, holiday events, etc.) and a great website to browse and get inspiration. A terrific and fun resource all the way around.” - Karin Perlman (Northampton MA)

M-F, 9:30am-4pm – COLONIAL HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Village has plenty of activities to offer to keep families busy while school’s out! Visit the village to experience the 1800’s- there will be hands-on activities, demonstrations, and performances all day long! If it’s cold enough, you can skate on the village’s pond (BYO skates)! Learn about what life in New England was like during winter in the 1830’s! Supplement school history curriculum or do your own family learning adventure. 508-347-3362. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($)

M-F, 10am-6pm – FIELD TRIP/HISTORY & SCIENCE: Take the kids on a ride to Hartford and take a guided tour of Connecticut’s State House, the oldest state house in the nation (closes at 5pm). Then hop on over to the Connecticut Science Center where your family can get a hands-on experience with their interactive exhibits and 3D films during their extended winter break hours (they have a nice cafe for lunch/dinner too!). Follow the links for more information. Hartford, CT

W-F, 10am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/HISTORY: Make a day at the American Textile History Museum. Read our review here. Lowell, MA (>$)


Monday, Dec 26th, 2011

9:30am-4pm – COLONIAL HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Village has plenty of activities to offer to keep families busy while school’s out! 508-347-3362. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($)

12noon-5pm – ROLLER SKATING: Skate on wheels where it’s warm and celebrate Boxing Day in a nontraditional way. Interskate 91 hosts a Boxing Party- there will be tons of roller skating fun to be had with boxes! 413-586-2737. 367 Russell Street (Hampshire Mall). Hadley, MA. (<$)

1-1:50pm – ICE SKATING: Parent + Tot skate takes place this afternoon at Amelia Park Arena. This session is less crowded and much calmer than a regular open session. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (<$)

1-3pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Spend the afternoon playing fun and active outdoor games with educator Arianna Grindinrod! Kids will learn about how the animals sharing their environment adapt for the winter weather. 413-522-0338. Conway, MA. ($)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/ART: The Norman Rockwell Museum has drop-in art hours this week for school vacation! Kids and parents can create their very own masterpieces, and use works from the galleries as inspiration. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

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Tuesday, Dec 27th, 2011

"Hilltown Families is THE place to find out what to do with your kids in the valley. All year long I turn to Hilltown Families to find something fun to do, especially on weekends and school vacations. Thank you!" - Niki Lankowski (Whately, MA)

9am-5pm – SCAVENGER HUNT: Visit the Springfield City Library to do a scavenger hunt that will send you exploring through the kids’ department. Pick up a clue sheet then open your eyes wide! 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

9:30am-4pm – COLONIAL HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Village has plenty of activities to offer to keep families busy while school’s out! 508-347-3362. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($)

10am-4pm – ART: The Art Garden has drop-in art making during the winter vacation! Kids can experiment with new mediums and materials- it’s an art adventure! 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (<$)

10-11:30am – ROLLER SKATING: Interskate 91 South hosts Romp, Stomp, and Roll, a special roller skating playtime for kids under the age of 6. Kids are allowed to bring rolling toys from home, or they can practice learning to skate. Roller skating skills transfer to ice skating- if your kids want to learn to play hockey or figure skate, this is a way for them to learn the basics in a way that may seem less scary. 413-543-3991. 2043 Boston Road. Wilbraham, MA. (<$)

11am-4pm: MUSEUM ADVENTURE/NATURAL HISTORY: Amherst College’s Beneski Museum of Natural History includes the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in the country! The museum has special hours during school vacation- kids can visit to learn about the geological history of the Pioneer Valley, the skeletal structures of dinosaurs, and the basics of anthropology (among many other topics!). Supplement a natural history unit from school or do some family enrichment of your own. 413-542-2000. 11 Barrett Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

12noon-5pm – ROLLER SKATING: Skate on wheels and play games at the Ping-Pong-A-Thon at Interskate 91! There will be tons of ping-pong themed games- if you’re talented, you could win a prize! 413-586-2737. 367 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (<$)

1pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/MAGIC: Lon Cerel presents a show filled with magic, comedy, and balloon art for families at the Springfield Museum. There’s lots of opportunity for audience participation- you may just get to try out a trick or two! 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($)

1-1:50pm – ICE SKATING: Parent + Tot skate takes place this afternoon at Amelia Park Arena. This session is less crowded and much calmer than a regular open session. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (<$)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/ART: The Norman Rockwell Museum has drop-in art hours this week for school vacation! Kids and parents can create their very own masterpieces, and use works from the galleries as inspiration. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

2pm – PUPPET SHOW: Learn how the camel got his hump, the rhino got his skin, and armadillos came to be with the CactusHead Puppets as they perform some of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories at the Eric Carle Museum. 413-658-1126. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. (<$)

4pm – HANNUKAH: Celebrate Hannukah this afternoon with a celebration at the Berkshire Mall! Highlights include the lighting of a giant menorah, delicious hot latkes, dreidel play, and crafts for kids. Non-Jewish families can attend to learn more about the holiday. 413-499-9899. Old State Road. Lanesboro, MA. (FREE)

5:45-6:45pm – INTERGENERATIONAL FOLK DANCE: Learn dances from Irish, Greek, Israeli, Serbian, and Croatian cultures tonight at the Williamsburg Senior Center! This is an intergenerational opportunity to explore new cultures and forms of movement. Classes may be ongoing if there is enough interest. 413-268-8407. 141 Main Street. Haydenville, MA. (FREE)

6:30-7:30pm – HANNUKAH: Hannukah is almost over- celebrate the holiday by playing the dreidel game at the Hubbard Library! The prize is gelt, fake gold coins made of chocolate! Families of all faiths welcome- this is a great learning opportunity for non-Jewish kids. 413-583-3408. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, Dec 28th, 2011

Ice Skating in Western MA9 am-3pm – COLONIAL HISTORY: Sturbridge Village is hosting a two-day Discovery Adventure for kids! Kids will dress in period clothing and make the traditional holiday treats from the 1800’s, along with learning about wood crafts, sewing, celebratory dances, and other traditions! Kids will make crafts to take home and share. This is a great opportunity to learn about the history and origins of holiday traditions. Pre-registration required. 508-347-0285. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$$)

9am-5pm – SCAVENGER HUNT: Visit the Springfield City Library to do a scavenger hunt that will send you exploring through the kids’ department. Pick up a clue sheet then open your eyes wide! 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

10am – BREASTFEEDING: An international nurse-in is being called for at all Target stores. Stores located in Hadley, Holyoke, Lanesborough, Enfield (CT), and Windsor (CT). (TAKE ACTION)

10am-4pm – ART: The Art Garden has drop-in art making during the winter vacation! Kids can experiment with new mediums and materials- it’s an art adventure! 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (<$)

10am-12noon – HOMESCHOOL ICE SKATING: Foote Arena hosts a special homeschool skating time! The session will start out with a lesson with the rink director for those interested, and then there will be free skate time after to play and practice. This is a great low-pressure way to help your kids learn the basics so that they can enjoy skating this winter even more! Parents welcome, too. 413-664-8185. 1267 South Church Street. North Adams, MA. (<$)

10:30am and 2:30pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/FAIRY TALE TEA: Dress in your fanciest outfit and bring a doll (dressed in similarly fancy garb) to a Fairy Tale Tea at the Monson Library! There will be lots of activities, along with tea, of course! 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)

11am-4pm: MUSEUM ADVENTURE/NATURAL HISTORY: Amherst College’s Beneski Museum of Natural History includes the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in the country! The museum has special hours during school vacation- kids can visit to learn about the geological history of the Pioneer Valley, the skeletal structures of dinosaurs, and the basics of anthropology (among many other topics!). Supplement a natural history unit from school or do some family enrichment of your own. 413-542-2000. 11 Barrett Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

12noon-5pm – ROLLER SKATING: Lace up a pair of roller skates (or snap on some blades) at Interskate 91 for an afternoon of record breaking! You can enter to try to break records for limbo, last one standing, arcade high scores, and more! 413-586-2737. 367 Russell Street (Hampshire Mall). Hadley, MA. (<$)

1pm – SEWING: Give kids a new creative outlet at a sewing workshop hosted by the Berkshire Museum! The workshop will teach kids 5 and older a few new projects that they can use basic sewing skills to complete. Pre-registration strongly suggested, and one parent/guardian must accompany children. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

1pm – CHILDREN’S PERFORMANCE: The Toe Jam Puppet Band performs the Toe Jam Variety Show at the Springfield Museums this afternoon as part of the museum’s Wacky Week events! 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($)

1pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/SCIENCE: Mad Science presents, “HoliDaze: The How and Why of the Season” at the Berkshire Athenaeum! This presentation explains the facts behind some holiday traditions and phenomena. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

1-1:50pm – ICE SKATING: Parent + Tot skate takes place this afternoon at Amelia Park Arena. This session is less crowded and much calmer than a regular open session. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (<$)

1-3pm – CRAFTS: Make a “Happy New Year” crown this afternoon at the Whately Library! Kids can decorate their own festive headpieces to ring in the new year. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road. Whately, MA. (FREE)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/ART: The Norman Rockwell Museum has drop-in art hours this week for school vacation! Kids and parents can create their very own masterpieces, and use works from the galleries as inspiration. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

2pm – PUPPET SHOW: Learn how the camel got his hump, the rhino got his skin, and armadillos came to be with the CactusHead Puppets as they perform some of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories at the Eric Carle Museum. 413-658-1126. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. (<$)

2pm – FAMILY OPERA: Visit The Clark this afternoon to see a live screening of Richard Jones’ Hansel and Gretel, streamed from The Met! The show is entertaining for all ages, and is a great way to expose kids to opera for the first time thanks to the kid-friendly plot. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. ($)

3pm – PUPPET SHOW: Puppeteer Carl Sprague presents a puppet adaptation of the classic tale, “The Reluctant Dragon.” After the show is a holiday tea, where kids can enjoy treats and meet the puppets! 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($)

4:30pm – FAMILY MOVIE: Follow childrens’ hero Tintin as he and his dog Snowy dig for the secrets of The Unicorn, a sunken ship! Images Cinema is screening the movie (The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn) throughout the week. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA. ($)

6pm – FAMILY MOVIE: Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is screening The Polar Express tonight! It’s a great family movie, with a charming holiday message. Preface the event by reading the book together! 413-528-0100. 14 Castleton Street. Great Barrington, MA. ($)

7pm – FAMILY CONCERT: David Grover and Grover’s Gang will perform a concert at the Colonial Theater tonight! Grover is Arlo Guthrie’s former lead guitarist- he became a family performer when he had kids. 413-997-4444. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

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Thursday, Dec 29th, 2011

9am-3pm – COLONIAL HISTORY: Sturbridge Village is hosting a two-day Discovery Adventure for kids! Kids will dress in period clothing and make the traditional holiday treats from the 1800’s, along with learning about wood crafts, sewing, celebratory dances, and other traditions! Kids will make crafts to take home and share. This is a great opportunity to learn about the history and origins of holiday traditions. Pre-registration required. 508-347-0285. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$$)

9am-5pm – SCAVENGER HUNT: Visit the Springfield City Library to do a scavenger hunt that will send you exploring through the kids’ department. Pick up a clue sheet then open your eyes wide! 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

10am-4pm – ART: The Art Garden has drop-in art making during the winter vacation! Kids can experiment with new mediums and materials- it’s an art adventure! 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (<$)

10:15am – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/MAGIC: Kids 3+ are invited to see Ed’s Comedy Magic at the Wilbraham Library! The show combines magic, balloon sculpture, and good old fashioned comedy that kids truly enjoy. 413-596-6141. 25 Crane Park Drive. Wilbraham, MA. (FREE)

11am – FAMILY CONCERT: David Grover and Grover’s Gang will perform a concert at the Colonial Theater tonight! Grover is Arlo Guthrie’s former lead guitarist- he became a family performer when he had kids. 413-997-4444. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

11am-2pm – CHILDREN’S PERFORMANCE: The Berkshire Children’s Theater presents “Stories Under the Big Top” at the Berkshire Museum! The show includes the stories, “The Billygoats Gruff,” and, “The Lion and the Mouse,” along with other classic children’s tales. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

11am-4pm, 7-10pm: MUSEUM ADVENTURE/NATURAL HISTORY: Amherst College’s Beneski Museum of Natural History includes the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in the country! The museum has special hours during school vacation- kids can visit to learn about the geological history of the Pioneer Valley, the skeletal structures of dinosaurs, and the basics of anthropology (among many other topics!). Supplement a natural history unit from school or do some family enrichment of your own. 413-542-2000. 11 Barrett Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

12noon – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/BALLOONS: Learn to sculpt balloons with magician Ed Popielarczyk at the Wilbraham Library! Kids 8+ can take part in this workshop where they’ll learn how to bend and twist long balloons into fun, surprising shapes. 413-564-6141. 25 Crane Park Drive. Wilbraham, MA. (FREE)

12noon and 2pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/BUBBLES: The Bubble Guy presents not one, but TWO shows today at the Springfield Museums! The show features incredibly bubble-making techniques, the likes of which you’ve likely never seen before. Kids will learn a bit about science, and will probably want to go home and make bubbles after! 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($)

1-1:50pm – ICE SKATING: Parent + Tot skate takes place this afternoon at Amelia Park Arena. This session is less crowded and much calmer than a regular open session. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (<$)

1:30-2:30pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/FAIRIES: The Hubbard Library hosts a fairy party this afternoon! Kiddos ages 3+ are invited to dress in their best and most favorite fairy outfits. There will be games, crafts, and fairy cake! 413-583-3408. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/ART: The Norman Rockwell Museum has drop-in art hours this week for school vacation! Kids and parents can create their very own masterpieces, and use works from the galleries as inspiration. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

3pm – PUPPET SHOW: Puppeteer Carl Sprague presents a puppet adaptation of the classic tale, “The Reluctant Dragon.” After the show is a holiday tea, where kids can enjoy treats and meet the puppets! 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($)

4-5pm – MYO CRAFTS: Lori Gordan will be leading kids ages 8-11 in a wintertime crafts hour. Today kids will be making journals to record their experience in 2012. Will be held in the LeVanway Meeting Room . 413-772-1544 x5. Greenfield, MA (FREE))

6-8pm – KWANZAA: The Women of Color Giving Circle presents and evening Kwanzaa celebration with performances by Youth Alive, and a Kwanzaa ceremony. There will be food and vendors too. 42 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA (>$)

6:30pm – SCIENCE ADVENTURES: Mad Science presents, “HoliDaze: The How and Why of the Season” at the North Adams Public Library! This presentation explains the facts behind some holiday traditions and phenomena. 413-662-3133. 74 Church St. North Adams, MA (FREE) 

6:30pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/STORYTIME: Hop into your PJ’s and visit the Monson Library for Pajama Storytime! Let someone else do the bedtime stories tonight. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, Dec 30th, 2011

“I am new to Hilltown Families and it has been a wealth of information over the holidays and I am looking forward to a great 2011 with Hilltown Families. Thank you for all you do.” - Tracy Griffith (Cummington, MA)

9:30am-4pm – COLONIAL HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Village has plenty of activities to offer to keep families busy while school’s out! 508-347-3362. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($)

10am-4pm – ART: The Art Garden has special hours during school break! Kids and their adults can drop in for art making using tons of recycled materials and other exciting mediums. 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (<$)

11am – STORYTIME: PreK story hour with snack and crafts at the Griswold Memorial Library. 413-624-3619. 12 Main Road. Colrain, MA (FREE) ♦

11-12am – ANIMAL ADVENTURES/STORYTIME: Meet Daisy, the World’s Most Famous Pig, at the Lenox Library! Daisy is bringing with her Farmer Minor, as well as her collection of pig-themed stories for a pig-tastic storytime. Kids can pet Daisy, and anyone who wears overalls gets a prize! 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

11am-12:30pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/LEGOS: The Monson Library is hosting a mid-day LEGO play-a-thon! There are both LEGOs and Mega Bloks, so kids both big and small can participate. Little kids can practice matching and motor skills, while older kids practice creativity and teach themselves (through trial and error) the basics of architecture! 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)

11am-2pm – CHILDREN’S PERFORMANCE: The Berkshire Children’s Theater presents “Stories Under the Big Top” at the Berkshire Museum! The show includes the stories, “The Billygoats Gruff,” and, “The Lion and the Mouse,” along with other classic children’s tales. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

11am-4pm: MUSEUM ADVENTURE/NATURAL HISTORY: Amherst College’s Beneski Museum of Natural History includes the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in the country! The museum has special hours during school vacation- kids can visit to learn about the geological history of the Pioneer Valley, the skeletal structures of dinosaurs, and the basics of anthropology (among many other topics!). Supplement a natural history unit from school or do some family enrichment of your own. 413-542-2000. 11 Barrett Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

1pm – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: The Wise Fool by Alex the Jester travels through medieval times is a fun performance at the Springfield Museums! 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($)

1-1:50pm – ICE SKATING: Parent + Tot skate takes place this afternoon at Amelia Park Arena. This session is less crowded and much calmer than a regular open session. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (<$)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/ART: The Norman Rockwell Museum has drop-in art hours this week for school vacation! Kids and parents can create their very own masterpieces, and use works from the galleries as inspiration. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

2:30pm – FAMILY MOVIE: Follow childrens’ hero Tintin as he and his dog Snowy dig for the secrets of The Unicorn, a sunken ship! Images Cinema is screening the movie (The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn) throughout the week. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA. ($)

3pm – PUPPET SHOW: Puppeteer Carl Sprague presents a puppet adaptation of the classic tale, “The Reluctant Dragon.” After the show is a holiday tea, where kids can enjoy treats and meet the puppets! 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($)

4-7pm – ROLLER SKATING: Visit Interskate 91 for an evening of skating-themed fun and games! Kids and adults of all ages and abilities can skate. 413-586-2737. 367 Russell Street (Hampshire Mall). Hadley, MA. ($)

5:15pm – SPORTS/KIDS DAY: The Mullins Center at UMass hosts a Kids Day preceeding the 7pm men’s basketball game (UMass vs Central CT State). Interactive and educational activities will be set up as stations for kids to enjoy.  Local museums and businesses will be onsite. 413-545-1401. Amherst, MA (>$)

5:30pm – FAMILY MOVIE: The Huntington Library screens Mr. Popper’s Pengiuns tonight! The movie tells the silly story of a man with pet penguins… watch to see what mischief they get into! 413-667-3506. 7 East Main Street. Huntington, MA. (FREE)

7pm – FAMILY THEATER: The Berkshire Theater Festival is performing “A Cristmas Carol” this year for the holiday season! Introduce your kids to this Christmas classic. 413-298-5576. 6 East Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

7:30pm – FAMILY THEATER: See “The Santaland Diaries” at Shakespeare and Company! The show is a theatrical adaptation of an essay by David Sedaris on working as an elf at Macy’s during Christmas. 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street. Lenox, MA. ($)

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