From Silver Mines to Labyrinths. Fiddler on the Roof to The Tempest. Laura Ingalls Wilder to Citizen King… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week, including opportunities to get outside and take the family snowshoeing! 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!
There are several upcoming opportunities to unpack those snowshoes and get out into the snow. We featured seven opportunities in Berkshire County over the next couple of weeks in our bi-monthly column, “Berkshire Family Fun.” Other places for snowshoe adventures this weekend include Laughing Brook Sanctuary in Easthampton and Northfield Mountain in Northfield.
On Monday morning, January 14th, Williams College in Williamstown presents a free media presentation all about Martin Luther King, Jr. There will be a screening of Citizen King, a film focusing on King’s leadership, as well as a slideshow of important scholars and activists heading other movements.
Loudville – part of Westhampton – was once home to lead and silver mines! On Friday evening, January 18th at the Westhampton Library, families (with older students) can learn about the history of the mines (including when they were built, who owned them, and more) and the methods used to extract materials. Families can also take a look at some of the many sources used by resident Wayne Perrea to research the mines’ history at a free presentation.
Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder (as portrayed by a historical reenactor) at Storrowton Village in West Springfield on Friday evening, January 18th! The beloved children’s writer’s 1894 self will share stories of her life (both well-known and obscure) with fans and scholars of all ages. The presentation will teach visitors about the culture and daily life of a late-19th century American!
Visit Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams on Saturday afternoon, January 12th, for a free space-themed workshop titled, “Empire of the Sun,” – it’s part of the park’s space-themed January programs, and pairs perfectly with a visit to the exhibit, “Journey to the Stars: To the Solar System, and Beyond!”
Learn all about constellations, then take a good look at them through a powerful telescope at the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic during Family Astronomy Night on Friday, January 18th! Astronomer Rick Costello will teach families the basics of identifying things seen in the night sky, and families can sign up for telescope viewings. There will be hot chocolate, too!
Navigating the Vaccine Controversy: A Parent’s Guide. At Cradle, Dr. Laila Tomsovic, ND will be discussing the risks and benefits of early childhood vaccinations, the diseases they prevent, and each vaccine recommended by the CDC in the first 6 years of a child’s life on Saturday afternoon, January 12th in Northampton. ($)
Trying to budget better in the new year? Take part in a free two-part workshop series on budgeting and saving at the Haskins Center, starting on Monday morning, January 14th in North Adams. Parents will learn the basics of financial planning, as well as some tricks and tips to help save money while shopping for a family.
Frank Grindrod of Earthwork Programs will share strategies for preparing your family for an emergency on Tuesday evening, January 15th at Green Fields Market in Greenfield during a free presentation. Participants will learn what things are best to have on hand, and what strategies to have prepared for a variety of emergencies, including a power outage, extreme weather, being lost in the wilderness, etc.
The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a free workshop for parents titled, “Why Do They Do That?” at the Palmer/Monson Family Network in Three Rivers on Thursday evening, January 17th. The workshop is designed to teach parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers about the roots of common behaviors, as well as behavior management skills.
Students from Performing Arts Charter Public Schools present Shakespeare’s The Tempest at the Academy of Music on Saturday evening, January 12th in Northampton. Introduce your family to the classic, exciting story, and be wowed by the talent of local teens.
Amherst Leisure Services’ production of Fiddler on the Roof hits the stage on Thursday evening, January 17th for nine performances in Amherst! The show features local actors and actresses, and it is expected that all nine performances will sell out so buy tickets early!
Explore Laughing Brook Sanctuary on Saturday morning, January 12th in Easthampton! Families can walk along the Scantic River and search for animal tracks and signs, and learn to identify the evergreen plant life found there. Bring snowshoes to make it an even more exciting adventure!
On Saturday morning, January 12th in Turners Falls, learn about local watersheds at the Great Falls Discovery Center’s, “Watershed Investigators,” a free family program where kids can learn new ways to look at and understand the world around them using games, crafts, exploration, etc. Designed to best fit students in grades 2-5, but all ages are welcome.
Snowshoe the trails for free at Northfield Mountain with naturalist Kim Noyes, tracking porcupines on Saturday afternoon, January 12th in Northfield! Families can romp through the woods and learn about ways to find animal tracks and look for clues to the area’s past land use. Kim will share with families information about using animals signs to identify wildlife, and there will be cocoa around a campfire once the hike is done! Best for children ages 10yo+.
Kids can learn firsthand about bird banding on Saturday, January 12th at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox! Visitors can watch as birds are caught in mist nets, then banded in order to be tracked and used for data collection. Participants will also be able to help record data, and learn what the information collected from banded birds is used for!
Embark on a special treasure hunt through the woods at the Hitchcock Center in Amherst on Tuesday morning, January 15th! The program will teach visitors about using a map and compass to get to a specific location, and kids will learn about the many different types of maps (topographical, political, climate, etc.). As the trek moves through the woods, kids will also learn to solve some “winter mysteries,” too!
SERVICE TO SPANISH TO SCIENCE
Want to make a difference in your community? On Saturday morning, January 12th, youth ages 8 and up can join the Hatfield Library’s Youth Action Committee – a free group that supports kids’ ideas for community improvement and helps them put them into action!
Knitting for kids at the Monson Library on Saturday at noon, January 12th! Work on a project you’ve started, get help casting on or off, and get some advice on whatever pattern you’d like to tackle.
Ashfield Needles and Threads is hosting a free crafting materials swap at the Ashfield Congregational Church on Sunday afternoon, January 13th. Bring fabrics, yarn, needles, pattern… plus ideas and encouragement! Clear out some of your clutter while enabling another’s creative genius. Leave with ingredients & ideas for some terrific new projects for the New Year. Enjoy connecting with folks who share your interest as well as with folks who can help you learn a new craft. Bring the kids! All are welcome to come pick out materials whether they have some to donate or not.
On Sunday afternoon, January 13th, MASS MoCA screens, “Brave New Voices,” a film about young people using spoken word to show that personal experiences are political in North Adams. If your tweens/teens are interested in poetry and using language as art and activism, take them to be inspired by their peers and to find their brave voice! The film is sponsored by Williams College’s Davis Center and is part of the college’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events.
Explore a labyrinth used for walking meditation at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown on Sunday afternoon, January 13th! The labyrinth is an ancient technique used by non-sectarian groups to encourage mindfulness.
The Berkshire Music School in Pittsfield hosts a free open house on Monday morning, January 14th, for families to tryout music classes and explore a musical instrument petting zoo. Refreshments will be served and the faculty will meet & greet.
Learn some basic Spanish at the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic on Wednesday afternoon, January 16th! This class is designed just for kids, and will teach some basic vocabulary.
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield hosts author Bob Reiss on Wednesday evening, January 16th, who will share a multimedia presentation about his travels and work studying the Shell oil company’s efforts to drill in Alaska. Older students can learn about the controversy over Alaskan oil drilling from all sides – Reiss has worked with Eskimo groups, the military, scientists, politicians, and hunters in order to gather information, and the viewpoints on each side will be shared.
Find out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.
- Citizen King [DVD]
- Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography (Little House) [Ages 8yo+]
- The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set [Ages 8yo+]
- Graphic Novels and Comics in the Classroom: Essays on the Educational Power of Sequential Art
- American History Comic Books: Twelve Reproducible Comic Books With Activities Guaranteed to Get Kids Excited About Key Events and People in American History (Funnybone Books) [Ages 9yo+]
- A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love
- Brave New Voices 2010 [DVD]
- Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voices [DVD]
- Brave New Voices: The YOUTH SPEAKS Guide to Teaching Spoken Word Poetry