Shoe Making to Top-Secret Technology. Mask-Making to Costume Design. Film Studies to Outdoor Adventures…… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play! And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library!
Volunteering with your family in your community is an excellent way to encourage civic engagement while cultivating compassion and gratitude in your children. This weekend there are a least four ways families can volunteer together in tasks that include park clean-ups, gleaning food, and a 5K Run/Walk. On Saturday morning, Oct. 20th in Amherst, families can volunteer to help glean leftover unharvested produce from local farms! All harvested food will be donated to a local food pantry – Not Bread Alone. By participating, kids can learn how to harvest foods, and will be contributing to the survival of their community. Also on Saturday, Oct. 20th, the West Springfield Friends of Parks and Recreation will be working to clean up the Rotary Pavillion at Mittineague Park and welcome volunteers to help maintain the park, a valuable community resource! Helpers of all ages are welcome – there are tasks both big and small.
Then on Sunday morning, Oct. 21st, Stanley Park in Westfield will be hosting the first ever WGBY Community Champions 5k Race/Walk. Participants can choose to do either a race, or to walk the course as a family. The race is a benefit for the station and its valuable programming. In the afternoon on Sunday, Oct. 21st, the Greenfield Energy Park, which serves as concert venue, meeting place, and green space for the community, welcomed families to volunteer in their seasonal clean up of the park before winter comes. There are jobs both big and small for people of all ages, sizes, and abilities.
NATURE & ANIMAL STUDIES
Have you ever seen a Witch’s Hat growing in the ground? They can be found in the woods all over Western MA! Join Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton on Saturday morning, Oct. 20th to learn where to find these interesting plants, then see how many you can spot. Then in the afternoon on Saturday, families can visit the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls to learn all about raptors with representatives from the VT Institute of Natural Science who will share a live raptor with visitors, and discuss where they live, what they eat, and their behavior. This information will be used to help kids grasp the basic concepts of food chains, predator-prey relationships, and the interdependence of nature. Once the sun sets there will be stargazing Saturday night with Arunah Hill at Notchview in Windsor. Families can learn to identify stars and constellations, and locate planets.
Bats rely on their echolocation in order to navigate the air and find food during the nighttime. Developed areas create a lot of white noise – which interferes with the bats’ echolocation. Learn about how the phenomenon is affecting bat populations across the US, and learn about efforts that are being made to help preserve bat populations at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton on Thursday evening, Oct. 25th. Best for older students, this event supports studies of the effects of humans on the environment.
Creatures can be hard to find sometimes, since they’re so well camouflaged! On Friday morning Oct. 26th, the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls host, “Where in the Wild?” – a program where kids will be able to learn about the animals who are the best at hiding, and why!
Old Sturbridge Village’s Fall Harvest Days take place this weekend, Oct. 20th & 21st. Visit the village to celebrate fall – 1800s style! Visitors can help out with the village’s harvest of potatoes, corn, and root veggies; tour orchards, taste numerous varieties of heirloom apples, and watch an ox-powered cider press in operation; and learn skills for preserving the harvest, like bean shelling and corn shucking, learn about root cellar storage, churning butter, and more!
Learn about historic trades at Historic Deerfield on Saturday, Oct. 20th with sewing and shoe-making demonstrations! Linda Oakley will show visitors useful types of stitches and will demonstrate sewing projects that would have been done by early residents of Deerfield, while Peter Oakley will demonstrate shoemaking, creating the style of shoe worn by New England settlers.
Franklin County has produced lots of important inventions and innovations, including the tap-and-die and some of the top-secret technology that helped to win World War II! Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke hosts a lecture Monday evening, Oct. 22nd on inventions and innovations that have come from the area. Albert Shane, curator of the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage, will share lots of interesting information about the industrial history of Franklin County. Older students can put studies of American history and engineering into a local context by learning about big local ideas!
On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 25th, tour the Stockbridge Cemetery to see the graves of notable former residents (like Norman Rockwell and the Sedgwick family) at Luminaries: Exploring Stockbridge Cemetery! Participants can learn about the history of many famous and prolific people whose final resting place is the cemetery.
ART, THEATER & FILM STUDIES
With Halloween on everyone’s mind, masks and costumes are a great way to discover art and theater. Learn how to make masks with the Royal Frog Ballet Performance Collective at a Mask-Making Workshop for all ages on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 20th in Montague, and on Wednesday afternoon, Oct 24th, learn how gory costumes are made for stage productions with Williams College’s costume director, Deb Brothers in Williamstown. Then on Thursday, Oct. 25th, the Williams College Museum of Art hosts “Ghouls in the Galleries: Exploring the Monsters of WCMA’s Collection.” Monsters in the museum will be rooted out by Deena Bak (’13) and she will aid participants in understanding what these monsters reveal about the nature of fear from a variety of cultural perspectives. Best for older students interested in art and cultural studies. Also on Thursday, Oct. 25th, the Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema in Pittsfield is screening part 3+4 of, “The Story of Film: An Odyssey.” Great for cinephiles of all ages!
With the last of the autumn leaves falling from the trees, this is a great time to get out in nature on a hike with the family (or without), discovering both local and natural history before the snow flies. On Saturday, Oct. 20th, explore the High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary by hiking the Wolf Den Trail in Shelburne, and experience the sanctuary’s 400+ species of hardwood plants, and the many diverse habitats that it encompasses. The same day in Colrain, explore historic Catamount Hill and learn about the fascinating history of the forest and the hill’s “ghost town,” or explore North Adams from a different perspective – the riverbank! The Hoosic River Revival Coalition will offer a guided riverwalk through town, stopping to observe and learn about historic locations, as well as the natural history of the river.
Later in the week on Wednesday, Oct. 24th, what better way to spend a crisp weekday morning than to hike the Hoosac Range after dropping the kids off at school, or with your older homeschool kids! Enjoy beautiful views overlooking North Adams. And on Friday, Oct. 26th, hike under the stars at the Alford Springs Reserve with your teens, BFF and/or sweet honey!
Find out about these events and nearly 200 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events.
SUPPORTING BOOK TITLES
- The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering: Doing Good Together
- Raptor! A Kid’s Guide to Birds of Prey
- Raptors: The Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, and Owls of North America [Ages 4yo+]
- Birds of Prey Coloring Book (Dover Nature Coloring Book)
- A Field Guide to Hawks of North America
- Bats (Zoobooks Series)
- Eyewitness: Film
- AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Berkshires: Four-season Guide to 50 of the Best Trails in Western Massachusetts