Suggested Events for December 26th, 2015-January 1st, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“We love Hilltown Families at our home because it provides us with resources for activities throughout the area, answers readers questions about various topics, and allows our family a chance to connect with other families in the area who have the same interest as we do!” -Victoria Valenti-Triggs (Shelburne Falls, 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.

Hilltown Families’ Events: New Year’s Day!

Join us on New Year’s Day at Flywheel in Easthampton from 10am-12noon

Jan 1

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have our Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! This event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Bulletin Board

Jan 10

Interested in filmmaking? Perhaps you have a friend or family member that is and you need to find them a unique holiday gift! In this new one-day intensive Filmmaker Workshop at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on January 10th each student will learn basic aspects and best practices of production, editing, and how to use websites like YouTube to upload and share work. The class is ideal for artists, students, communications professionals, beginning filmmakers, and anyone interested in DIY video. In today’s world, entire films are shot on iPhones, edited on laptops, and then shared to a worldwide audience with websites like YouTube. Now learn how to be a part of it! For more info and to sign up, visit: www.lindsayvandyke.com

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

CyclePottery in Florence announces the next 3 sessions of kids’ & teen/adult wheel throwing classes that run for 6 weeks each. First session begins January 6th. Sheilah Bolger has joined the studio to teach her own Handbuiling and Sculpting class for pre-teens. More special classes taught by guest Potters are soon to pop up. Are you an artist and would like to use the studio to Teach Your Own Class? Check out www.CyclePottery.com for full details. CyclePottery is now offering monthly studio rentals, ongoing drop-in Sunday Open Studios, and part-time or full-time private room rentals for professionals. As always, workshops, private lessons, special events, homeschool classes can be arranged! Contact Kathryn: kathryn@cyclepottery.com; 413-219-9594.

Winter/Spring enrollment is open! At The Center in Amherst, children spin stories from movement using classical and modern dance techniques. Sister duo Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special approach to teaching that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. Drop by their Open House on Thursday, January 7th from 5-6:30 PM. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com. 321 Main Street. Amherst, MA. 413-687-7953.

Whole Children in Hadley, MA. Keep the kids moving this winter at Whole Children! Whole Children offers a wide range of after-school, weekend, and vacation enrichment programs for children and teens of all abilities, particularly those with special needs. The emphasis in all classes is on finding and celebrating children’s individual strengths, having fun, and making and sustaining friendships. From Kung Fu to Winter Sports, Dating 101 to Science Club, Whole Children has winter fun covered. Winter session classes begin January 11. Register for classes at www.wholechildren.org or call 413-585-8010. Whole Children is located in the Inclusive Community Center at 41 Russell St., Hadley, MA.

Vortex Dance Fitness Studio teaches a mix of jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, ballet, and modern dance. Classes focus on healthy body intelligence, increasing self-confidence, tolerance and support for all ability levels, developing calmness and ease to make friends more easily, strengthening balance, rhythm, and flexibility, and emphasizing cooperation over competition. Next session for ages 5-9 runs Friday, January 8-March 11 from 4-4:45pm. Next session for ages 10-15 runs Tuesdays, January 5-March 9 from 3:30-4:15pm. Discounts available when session is paid for in full. Located on the 2nd floor of the Eastworks Building in Suite 251 right above Riff’s Restaurant. For more info visit www.vortexdancestudio.com or call 413-727-1366.

Stone House Farm in Amherst has Vacation Day Programs offered from 9am-3pm during December school vacation: Monday, December 28 – Gingerbread Houses (grades 1-6); Tuesday and Wednesday, December 29 & 30 – Sewing Flannel PJ’s (2-day project for grades 4 & up); December 31 – Cooking New Year’s Eve Appetizers (grades 1-6). These classes are limited to 6 students each. Cost is $75 per day. Please see www.stonehousefarmbb.com or email candi@stonehousefarmbb.com for more information and to register.

Central Rock Gym is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks! Great for ages 7-13, their program focuses on climbing for all skill levels, and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout their week, children will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing, engage in exciting games and group activities, and concludes with a pizza party on the final day. Email youth.crghadley@gmail.com for more information and to register. www.centralrockgym.com

Lui Collins' Upside Up MusicAll children are musical! Winter classes start January 12 in Ashfield, Shelburne Falls, Williamsburg & Online. Comfortable, welcoming. Meet other families and give yourself time to enjoy your child. No experience necessary. Music Together (birth-5) and Kids’ Jam (5-7) provide singing, large & small movement, singing games, and ear training exercises through play to prepare a child for a lifetime of musical expression. Tuition includes 2 CDs, Songbook. Music at Home family homeschool music curriculum for grades K-2 or 1-3 and siblings. Music at Home support materials include interactive videos with Lui Collins, making music accessible to all families regardless of parental musical experience. Information and registration at UpsideUpMusic.com

Apr 15 & 16

Save the Date. On April 15 and 16, 2016, the Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses and Communities Conference will come to Pioneer Valley. The public event connects grassroots, government, business, and education and features best practices. Call to Participate. Currently seeking speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and conference staff. Join hundreds who are moving sustainability forward. Info at www.MaSustainableCommunities.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, vacation camp, class, community event, open enrollemnt, 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

December 26, 2015-January 1st, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 26th

Ongoing Saturday Events

Hilltown Family Variety ShowEvery Saturday, 9-10am –
HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW
Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Guest DJ Jason Didner, a children’s musician, leader of the Jungle Gym Jam, spins a  collection of holiday music that he and his family enjoy. You’ll hear performances by   independent children’s musicians and a few household names too. You’ll hear   timeless holiday classics and some original numbers written by some of these   performers to get you in the spirit. Songs will celebrate winter fun, Christmas,   Hanukkah and the joy of an occasional “snow day” off. Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here to choose from over 8 years!

Saturday, December 26 —
CITIZEN SCIENCE/ORNITHOLOGY
Participate in the longest-running citizen science bird project in the country by joining a local team for the 116th Christmas Bird Count. In early winter, volunteers count every bird they see or hear during a 24-hour period within a designated 15-mile radius. Beginners are matched with experienced counters to learn and help at the same time. Data from the count, which occurs throughout the Western Hemisphere, are used to monitor bird populations and identify species in decline. This is a rewarding activity for all ages, and you can join a team for whatever period of time you like. Call local coordinator for more information. 413-569-3335. Russell and Blandford, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 26, 10am —
FILM STUDIES/CHRISTMAS
In The Polar Express (G, 2004), Billy wants to believe in Santa, despite what his family might think, and is vindicated when a mysterious locomotive pulls up in front of his house and takes him on a magical journey to the North Pole. The movie, based on the picture book by Chris Van Allsburg, is shown as part of the Family Film Series at Amherst Cinema. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 26, 10am-4pm —
LOCAL HISTORY/FOOD STUDIES
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. Also, make your own hot chocolate mix from a colonial recipe. We have the Aztecs to thank for the sweet, comforting drink we all enjoy. More than 500 years ago, in current-day Mexico, they mixed cacao with water and flavored it with chili, honey, and spices. Later, Europeans added sugar and milk. 413-774-5581. Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 26, 10am-4:30pm —
COLONIAL HISTORY/GAMES
Put away your electronic devices and try your skill at some colonial games at Historic Deerfield. Learn to play checkers, fox and geese, merelles, table-top nine pins, Jacob’s ladder, and ball and cup. Special group games and songs at 11am and 2pm. 413-774-5581. Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 26, 10:30-11:30am —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ENGINEERING
Come to the Sunderland Public Library for LEGO Club! The program allows children to explore the wonderful world of LEGOs with other interested children. A different theme is picked each session, and kids can build on that theme or build a creation of their own. After each club meeting, kids can put their LEGO creations on display at the Library for all to see until the next club. This program is geared for elementary school children (with an adult) but is open to kids of all ages. The LEGO Club will continue to meet every other Saturday. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 26, 11am —
KINDNESS/CHRISTMAS MOVIE
Enjoy the Christmas comedy Elf (PG, 2003) at the Lee Library. Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, a baby who crawls into Santa’s pack at an orphanage, is adopted by one of his elves, and grows up at the North Pole. When he learns he is human and has a biological father in New York City, Buddy sets off to find him. Buddy’s sweetness and naivete are in stark contrast to the coarseness of the city and greed of his biological father, a driven publisher of children’s books. Humorous and touching adventures ensue. Afterward, families can discuss how to treat others, what values are important in life, and staying true to one’s beliefs. 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street, Lee, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 26, 12pm-4:30pm —
MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 26, 2pm —
FILM STUDIES/EMOTIONS/TWEENS
In Pixar’s animated film Inside Out (PG, 2015), eleven-year-old Riley’s family is moving from Minnesota to California, and she’s not happy about it. Watch her inner turmoil as Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust struggle for control inside her head. Younger kids will enjoy the colorful, active animation, while older kids may find some self-understanding through Riley’s emotional ups and downs. At the Sunderland Public Library. Bring pillows or blankets for kids who wish to sit on the floor, though seating will be provided. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 26, 4pm —
CHRISTMAS MOVIE
Come enjoy some laughs as a family at a 25th-anniversary screening of Home Alone (PG, 1990) at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. This classic Christmas comedy pits an eight-year-old boy (Macauley Culkin) accidentally left home when his family goes on vacation against two inept burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. ($)

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Sunday, December 27th

Ongoing Sunday Events

Hilltown Family Variety ShowEvery Sunday, 7-8am –
FAMILY RADIO
Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 8 years of archived shows.

Sunday, December 27 —
CITIZEN SCIENCE/BIRD STUDIES
Participate in the longest-running citizen science bird project in the country by joining a local team for the 116th Christmas Bird Count. In early winter, volunteers count every bird they see or hear during a 24-hour period within a designated 15-mile radius. Beginners are matched with experienced counters to learn and help at the same time. Data from the count, which occurs throughout the Western Hemisphere, are used to monitor bird populations and identify species in decline. This is a rewarding activity for all ages, and you can join a team for whatever period of time you like. Call local coordinator for more information. 413-367-2695. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 27, 10am-12pm —
NATURE-BASED/GUIDED HIKE
After all those indoor celebrations, head for the open spaces of Hollow Fields with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council. Clear your head, stretch your muscles, and fill your lungs with fresh air on a relaxing hike. Take in views of Yokun Ridge on this easy-paced, two-mile hike with moderate elevation gain. Bring water, a snack, and plenty of layers. See website for directions. 413-499-0596. Perry’s Peak Road, Richmond, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 27, 10am-4pm —
LOCAL HISTORY/FOOD STUDIES
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. Also, make your own hot chocolate mix from a colonial recipe. We have the Aztecs to thank for the sweet, comforting drink we all enjoy. More than 500 years ago, in current-day Mexico, they mixed cacao with water and flavored it with chili, honey, and spices. Later, Europeans added sugar and milk. 413-774-5581. Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 27, 10am-4:30pm —
LOCAL HISTORY/GAMES
Put away your electronic devices and try your skill at some colonial games at Historic Deerfield. Learn to play checkers, fox and geese, merelles, table-top nine pins, Jacob’s ladder, and ball and cup. Special group games and songs at 11am and 2pm. 413-774-5581. Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 27, 12pm-4:30pm —
MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 27, 2pm-3pm —
FAMILY CONCERT/DRUMMING
Kick of the Springfield Museums‘ Week of Wonder with a lively, interactive show by Otha Day called Drum to the Beat. Otha believes that rhythm can build community, promote well-being, and create joy. For all ages. Planetarium shows, art activities, and family science adventures take place at various times during the day throughout the museums. 413-263-6800. SIS Hall, Wood Museum of Springfield History, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 27, 3:30pm —
CLASSICAL CONCERT/TEA
Franz Schubert, the great German composer, wrote more than 600 pieces for solo voices and piano, using the imagery of 19th century romantic poets as inspiration. Though a young man (he died in his early 30s), his work reflected every human emotion, from love to hatred, happiness to sadness, along with appreciation of nature and religiousness. Tenor Doug Schmolze and Pianist Larry Wallach present “Songs of the Flow of Life and Love: Schubert’s Romantic ‘Water Music,’” at Ventfort Hall. The mansion will be decorated for the holidays in Victorian style. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$$)

Sunday, December 27, 4pm —
INTERGENERATIONAL/COMMUNITY EVENT/SINGING
Come sing beautiful music (or just listen) at the 51st Annual Messiah Sing! at the Village Congregational Church. Composed by George Handel in 1741, The Messiah tells the story of Jesus Christ and is one of the most frequently performed choral works in Western music. Soloists and the Cummington Philharmonic Orchestra will perform. 413-634-5320. Main Street, Cummington, MA. (FREE)

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Monday, December 28th

Monday, December 28, 8am-8pm —
MUSIC INSTRUCTION
Do you know a child interested in playing the piccolo, oboe, or clarinet? He or she can try these and more wind instruments for free at the Community Music School during the whole month of December. Music lessons improve academic, physical, and social skills and develop discipline and self-esteem. Call to schedule a free trial lesson. 413-732-8428. 127 State Street, Springfield, MA, (FREE)

Monday, December 28, 9:30-11am —
STORY & MUSIC TIME
Special Shutesbury Tales and Tunes program with Julie Stepanek, sponsored by the MN Spears Memorial Library. 413-259-1213. 10 Cooleyville Rd. Shutesbury, MA (FREE)

Monday, December 28, 10am-10:50am —
ICE SKATING
Get some exercise and test your skills gliding across the ice (or maybe just standing up) at West Springfield Parks and Recreation‘s free skating event at Amelia Park. For West Springfield residents only; must show proof of residency to get free skate voucher at the Parks & Rec office ahead of time. Parental signature required for children under 18. Skate rentals $3/person. Helmets recommended. 413-263-3284. 21 South Broad Street, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 28, 10am-2pm —
MUSEUM ADVENTURES/AERONAUTICS
Balsa wood, native to Mexico and Central and South America, is low in density but high in strength, making it ideal for model airplanes. Build and fly your own plane at the New England Air Museum. For kids ages 8-14 accompanied by an adult. 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Road, Windsor Locks, CT. ($$)

Monday, December 28, 10am-4pm —
HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE
Ventfort Hall, a Gilded-Age “cottage,” will be decorated for the holidays throughout the month of December. Built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J.P. Morgan, this Jacobean Revival-style mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Monday, December 28, 11am —
MAGIC SHOW
You won’t believe your eyes when magician Scott Jameson makes umbrellas appear out of nowhere and drawings come to life at the Springfield Museums. And you’ll be amazed by his juggling skills. Watching magic can spur creative thinking in children and adults. Part of the museums’ Week of Wonder, which includes planetarium shows, art activities, and family science adventures. 413-263-6800. Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Monday, December 28, 11:15am —
FAMILY CONCERT
Come enjoy Terry A La Berry & Friends at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Terry has been performing for kids for 20 years and also is longtime drummer for Arlo Guthrie. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 28, 12pm-4pm —
NON-COMMERCIAL/LOCAL HISTORY/MERRY-GO-ROUND
Skip the big amusement parks and bring your kids, or grandkids, for a ride on the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round. Known as “Holyoke’s Happiness Machine,” the antique carousel with brightly painted wooden animals and calliope music is a sensory treat for young and old. It was once part of Mountain Park, an amusement park on the side of Mt. Tom, and was moved to Holyoke Heritage Park when Mountain Park closed in 1987. It will be open during school vacation week, Monday-Wednesday 12pm-4pm and Thursday 10am-4pm. 413-538-9838. 221 Appleton Street, Holyoke, MA. (<$)

Monday, December 28, 1pm-2pm —
STEM/PHYSIOLOGY
Everything we know about the world, we’ve learned from one of our five senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Explore the senses with Miss Lorin through fun, hands-on activities at the East Longmeadow Public Library. For ages 6 and up. Registration required. 413-525-5400, ext. 1511. 60 Center Square, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 28, 1pm-4pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ART STUDIES
Drop In on Art at the Norman Rockwell Museum all through school vacation! Write your own story lines, develop characters and plots, and create settings, using pieces on display as inspiration. Engaging in art builds motor skills, promotes language development, and strengthens decision-making abilities. Monday through Saturday, except Friday, January 1. Every day is different, with art educators who promote experimentation with materials and techniques. Open to all ages. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $$ Non-members)

Monday, December 28, 2pm —
FILM STUDIES/EMOTIONS/TWEENS
In Pixar’s animated film Inside Out (PG, 2015), eleven-year-old Riley’s family is moving from Minnesota to California, and she’s not happy about it. Watch her inner turmoil as Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust struggle for control inside her head. Younger kids will enjoy the colorful, active animation, while older kids may find some self-understanding through Riley’s emotional ups and downs. At the Whately Library. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 28, 2pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/TEENS/TWEENS
Are you an aspiring cake boss? Come to the Berkshire Athenaeum and show your stuff in the Cupcake Challenge for Teens & Tweens. Cupcakes and decorating supplies will be provided — just bring your creativity. Judging will be based on originality and creativity, with prizes for the top three decorators. For ages 11-18. 413-499-9480. One Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 28, 3pm-4pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/TEENS
Come to the Lee Library for some right-brained fun at Mandala Monday. Color cool designs using provided materials, while you socialize with friends. Focusing on your artwork allows you to forget about anything that’s bothering you for a while…and you’ll go home with a beautiful memento of the time you spent. 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street, Lee, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 28, 3:30pm —
PUPPET SHOW/FAIRY TALE
The Grimms’ fairy tale Rapunzel comes to life at Ventfort Hall in the hands of puppeteer Carl Sprague and his vintage collection of Czech marionettes. This classic story about a young girl held captive by an evil witch as a result of her mother’s greed is rich with moral issues that will prompt meaningful family discussions afterward. The audience will have a chance to meet Sprague and enjoy punch and cookies after the performance. Reservations recommended. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

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Tuesday, December 29th

Tuesday, December 29, 9:30am-4pm —
MUSEUM ADVENTURES/US HISTORY
Enjoy crafts and special performances at Old Sturbridge Village during school vacation week. If there’s snow, try sledding with 1830s-style sleds and go for a sleigh ride. Dip candles the old-fashioned way and participate in other hands-on activities. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, December 29, 10am-11:30am —
FAMILY MOVIE
Come to the Jones Library for “Morning Movie Matinee,” a special showing for kids of all ages. 413-259-3090. Woodbury Room, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 10am-4pm —
MUSEUM ADVENTURES/AERONAUTICS
Have you ever been at the controls of a real airplane? During Open Cockpit at the New England Air Museum, you can climb aboard helicopters, jet fighters, and WWII-era aircraft. 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Road, Windsor Locks, CT. ($$)

Tuesday, December 29, 10am-5pm —
VISUAL ARTS
Brighten up your winter with Sol LeWitt’s wall drawing, #1089, and many other fine works of art at the Williams College Museum of Art, which is open for special post-holiday hours (December 26-December 31). Walk through the galleries with your children and discuss the stories, seasons, time periods, people, and emotions represented in various works. Bring your inspiration home and create art of your own in a style you saw at the museum or following your own muse! 413-597-2429. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Suite 2, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 10am-11:30am —
FAMILY/FILM STUDIES
When Snow Queen Elsa casts a spell over her kingdom, plunging it into perpetual winter, her sister Anna and mountaineer Kristoff must find her and convince her to lift the curse in Frozen (PG, 2013), showing at the Jones Library. Families can discuss the unconditional love between Elsa and Anna, even though tested, and how each girl learns to be true to herself. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 11am —
PUPPETRY/MUSIC
Let your imagination run wild with a spacey dress up puppet show and some wild anti-gravity dancing when Toe Jam Puppet Band presents “Toe Jam in Outer Space” at the Springfield Museums. They’ll also perform original songs from their CD. Part of the museums’ Week of Wonder, which includes planetarium shows, art activities, and family science adventures. 413-263-6800. Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, December 29, 11am and 2pm —
THEATER/PUPPETRY
Candy for breakfast? Never!! Well, maybe just for one day, and only if it’s the best lollipop ever. In Lollipops for Breakfast, a solo performance by puppeteer Bonnie Duncan at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Sylvie and her pet bird pursue lollipop perfection as they search for missing ingredients, wrestle with giant candy machines, and get lost in a magical pop-up cookbook. For ages 3 and up. 413-658-1126. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. (<$)

Tuesday, December 29, 11am-7pm —
STEAM/SENSES
How does sound travel through the air into our ears and get interpreted by our brains? What does 20/20 vision really mean? Explore the five senses through science, art, and math activities at Think Tank in the activity room at the East Longmeadow Public Library. 413-525-5400, ext. 1511. 60 Center Square, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 12:30pm-2pm —
BOARD GAMES
Horizontal, vertical, diagonal — can you get a Bingo? Play winter Bingo with your friends at the Meekins Library. Fun and prizes! 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 2:30pm —
INCLUSION/FILM STUDIES
The Clark Art Institute presents Babe (G, 1995) as part of its Free Family Film Festival. When Farmer Hoggett wins a piglet at the county fair, he plans to serve him for Christmas dinner but soon decides instead to raise him to show. Babe wins the heart of a motherly border collie and learns to herd sheep but is not accepted other animals. This live-action movie will generate conversation about fitting in (or not) and pursuing one’s dreams despite society’s expectations. Some scenes may be disturbing for young viewers. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 6pm —
FRIENDSHIP/FILM STUDIES
In the animated film Shaun the Sheep (PG, 2015), a group of lazy farm animals scheme to put their farmer to sleep. The plan goes awry, however, and the farmer ends up in the big city with no memory. The animals must then rescue him without getting into trouble themselves. The movie is based on the short-form TV series of the same name and has no dialogue. The action is interpreted through animal noises, gestures, and music. Families can discuss the unique style of the film, as well as its messages of teamwork, friendship, and admitting and fixing mistakes. At the Sunderland Public Library. Bring pillows or blankets for kids who wish to sit on the floor, though seating will be provided. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 6pm-7pm —
BOARD GAMES/INTERGENERATIONAL
Free All-Ages Chess Club at the Sunderland Public Library starts from square one, so beginners and more advanced players are all welcome. Club leader Andy Morris-Friedman will guide you as you learn how to play the game, use different techniques and strategies, and use all of your pieces to your best advantage. The club will study famous games and will help you discover new ways to improve your play. Chess is one of the great classic games of the world. It teaches sportsmanship and cooperation, builds confidence, and exercises your brain. Children in third grade or below must be accompanied by an adult. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 6:30pm-8:30pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ART STUDIES/TEENS
Who are you? Discover just for yourself, or tell the world through your art at “Seeing Ourselves: Abstract/Crazy Art for Teens,” at the Jones Library. Learn to express yourself through spontaneous collage, intuitive drawing, and self-portrait mixed media while you rock out to crazy-loud music. Supplies provided. Please pre-register. 413-259-3091. Crafts Room, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 29, 7pm-8:30pm —
LOCAL HISTORY/FARMING
Once the only choice for breaking ground, horses are having a comeback as clean, organic alternatives to farming machines powered by fossil fuels. Local agriculture, Community-Supported Agriculture, and micro-farming are supporting this trend. Learn about working with horses from old-time horse farmers in Franklin County in the documentary Root Hog or Die at the Westhampton Public Library. Afterward, meet with fellow gardeners and get inspired about your home plot next spring. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, December 30th

Wednesday, December 30, 10am-3pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/LEGOS
Test your imagination and engineering skills in the LEGO Flying Machine Contest at the New England Air Museum. What will your futuristic aircraft look like? How will it fly? For ages 3-12. Prizes will be awarded for each age category, and winners need not be present to win. 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Road, Windsor Locks, CT. ($$)

Wednesday, December 30, 10:30am-11:30 am —
NATURE-BASED/ANIMAL STUDIES
What makes a bird a bird and not, say, a snake? Find out at Watershed Wonders, a story hour with crafts and games at the Great Falls Discovery Center. Learn bird basics, and some specifics about avian life in the Connecticut River watershed. Also admire the work of young people in the Junior Duck Stamp Art Display in the Great Hall. Take your newfound knowledge home and see the birds in your yard in a new light. For ages 6-8, with a caregiver. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 10:30am-11:30am —
STORYTIME
Enjoy a special storytime at Jones Library with Megan Lambert — local author, senior lecturer at Simmons College, and creator of the Whole Book Approach to storytime. She will read a book with children and caregivers, demonstrating ways to make storytime more relevant and meaningful. 413-259-3090. Woodbury Room, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 11am —
COMEDY/MAGIC/JUGGLING
Get your funny bone tickled and your imagination sparked when Robert Clarke presents a charming show featuring sleight of hand, tricks that defy physics, and comedy at the Springfield Museums. With audience participation! Part of the museums’ Week of Wonder, which includes planetarium shows, art activities, and family science adventures. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Wednesday, December 30, 11am-12:30pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/LEGOS/ARCHITECTURE
You’ll be amazed at what you can make out of colorful plastic bricks at the Lee Library‘s LEGO Club. Playing with LEGOs develops creative problem solving skills and introduces the concept of thinking in three dimensions. For ages 4-8, accompanied by a caregiver. 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street, Lee, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 1:30pm-4pm —
FILM STUDIES/STAR WARS
Have you seen The Force Awakens yet? Return to the three movies that started it all with a Star Wars Marathon at Ramsdell Public Library. The series can generate family discussions about various topics, from systems of government to spirituality. First up : Star Wars: A New Hope (PG, 1977), which introduced the world to the iconic cast of characters who lived “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” There will be pizza after the movie. Please call to register. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street, Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 2pm —
MUSIC STUDIES/UKULELE
The ukulele is one of the simplest instruments to play. By learning three chords — C, F, and G7 — you can begin playing songs. It’s also a social instrument, fun to play and sing along to in groups. Give it a try at the Whately Library. Ukuleles provided. For ages 8 to adult. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 2:30pm —
FILM STUDIES/EMOTIONS/TWEENS
In Pixar’s animated film Inside Out (PG, 2015), eleven-year-old Riley’s family is moving from Minnesota to California, and she’s not happy about it. Watch her inner turmoil as Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust struggle for control inside her head. Younger kids will enjoy the colorful, active animation, while older kids may find some self-understanding through Riley’s emotional ups and downs. Part of the Free Family Film Festival at the Clark Art Institute. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 3pm-4pm —
TEEN CHESS CLUB
Teens can come to the Lee Library to play chess with their friends. Playing chess promotes development of the prefrontal cortex in the brain, important for assessing risk and making wise decisions, and one of the last areas to mature. 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street, Lee, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 3pm-5pm —
STEM/LEGOS
What will you build with small, snappy, plastic bricks? Whether budding architect, artist, or engineer, LEGOs provide a flexible medium for anything you can imagine. Come to the Lego Build at East Longmeadow Public Library to create your masterpiece, then put it on display in the Children’s Room for all to see. 413-525-5400, ext. 1511. 60 Center Square, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 3:30pm —
PUPPET SHOW/FAIRY TALE
The Grimms’ fairy tale Rapunzel comes to life at Ventfort Hall in the hands of puppeteer Carl Sprague and his vintage collection of Czech marionettes. This classic story about a young girl held captive by an evil witch as a result of her mother’s greed is rich with moral issues that will prompt meaningful family discussions afterward. The audience will have a chance to meet Sprague and enjoy punch and cookies after the performance. Reservations recommended. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Wednesday, December 30, 4:30pm-7pm —
FILM STUDIES/STAR WARS
The Star Wars Marathon at Ramsdell Public Library continues with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (PG, 1980). The Star Wars series can generate family discussions about various topics, from systems of government to spirituality. Please call to register. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street, Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 6pm —
FILM STUDIES
Having evolved to serve, the yellow begoggled creatures in blue overalls called Minions (PG, 2015) struggle to find a sufficiently cruel master to work for, until they discover Scarlet Overkill, the world’s first super-villainess. This animated comedy will be shown at the Sunderland Public Library and may not be suitable for younger children. Afterward, families can talk about how the main characters in the film are bad guys, yet the audience still roots for them. Is that okay? Bring pillows or blankets for kids who wish to sit on the floor, though seating will be provided. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 6:30pm-7:30pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/TEENS/TWEENS
Coloring is a form of mindfulness. Focusing intently on the task at hand and forgetting your troubles helps the mind relax. Adults, teens, and tweens are invited to tune out the world and tune into their own creativity at the Arms Library. 413-625-0306. Main Street & Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 30, 7pm —
KINDNESS/FILM STUDIES
The unfinished android product of a scientist’s imagination, Edward Scissorhands (PG-13, 1990) is left to fend for himself when the scientist dies. Eventually, he is taken in by a caring woman who sees the gentleness behind the scary face and destructive digits. Edward is at first embraced but later rejected by the community, a storyline that will provide lots of opportunity for family discussions about being oneself and fear of the those who are different. This Tim Burton movie starring the young Johnny Depp is presented by Cinema Northampton at the Academy of Music. 413-587-3550. 274 Main Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Thursday, December 31st

Thursday, December 31, 10am-11:30am —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ARTS & CRAFTS
Do you have your party hat for New Year’s Eve? Fashion your own holiday headgear at the East Longmeadow Public Library‘s Art Party. All ages welcome. 413-525-5400, ext. 1511. 60 Center Square, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 31, 10am-3pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/LEGOS
Test your imagination and engineering skills in the LEGO Flying Machine Contest at the New England Air Museum. What will your futuristic aircraft look like? How will it fly? For ages 3-12. Prizes will be awarded for each age category, and winners need not be present to win. 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Road, Windsor Locks, CT. ($$)

Thursday, December 31, 10am-4pm —
COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/NEW YEAR’S EVE
The Holyoke Merry-Go-Round and Holyoke Children’s Museum present the 19th Annual First Night Junior. This year’s theme is the movie Frozen — come dressed as your favorite character! Activities include rides on the Merry-Go-Round, dancing, indoor skating in your socks with the Frozen characters, a circus show, Forest Park Zoo on the Go, face painting, crafts, and a New Year’s Eve ball drop. 413-536-7048. 444 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA. ($)

Thursday, December 31, 11am —
KIDS NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY
Kids can count down to 12 (noon, that is) and toast the new year with apple cider and noise makers at Chandler’s Restaurant‘s Kids New Year’s Eve Party. Interactive live entertainment by guitarist Tom Carroll. Full kids menu and lunch menu available. Reservations suggested. 413-665-1277. 25 Greenfield Road, South Deerfield, MA. ($)

Thursday, December 31, 11am-1:30pm —
FILM STUDIES/STAR WARS
The Star Wars Marathon at Ramsdell Public Library continues with Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (PG, 1983). The Star Wars series can generate family discussions about various topics, from systems of government to spirituality. Please call to register. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street, Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 31, 11am-2pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/NEW YEAR’S EVE
Welcome the new year Wild-West style at the Berkshire Museum. Dress up like a cowboy, try your hand at roping, have your photo taken in the desert, and take a break from the trail at the saloon, where you can play cards and grab some grub. Children 3 and under free. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA. (<$ Members, $$ Non-members)

Thursday, December 31, 1pm-4pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ART STUDIES
Drop In on Art at the Norman Rockwell Museum all through school vacation! Write your own story lines, develop characters and plots, and create settings, using pieces on display as inspiration. Engaging in art builds motor skills, promotes language development, and strengthens decision-making abilities. Monday through Saturday, except Friday, January 1. Every day is different, with art educators who promote experimentation with materials and techniques. Open to all ages. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $$ Non-members)

Thursday, December 31, 12pm-12am —
COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/NEW YEAR’S EVE
Welcome the new year at First Night Northampton, a 12-hour family-friendly festival of music, theater, puppetry, dancing, and more. From 2pm-5pm, you can stop by Historic Northampton for family-friendly craft activities and photo booth. Fireworks at 6:15pm. Ball-raising at Hotel Northampton at midnight. 413-584-7327. Downtown, Northampton, MA. ($$)

Thursday, December 31, 2:30pm —
FILM STUDIES/PERSEVERANCE/TWEENS
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG, 2004) is based on the book by the same name and follows three children who are orphaned by a house fire and go to live with their nearest relative, the cruel Count Olaf. After he mistreats them, they are removed from his custody and placed with a series of caregivers, while Olaf continues to pursue them to take their inheritance. Families can discuss how to respond to life’s unexpected events and the importance of having back-up plans. Parents may want to read more here before deciding whether their children will enjoy the film. Part of the Free Family Film Festival at the Clark Art Institute. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 31, 3pm-4:30pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ARTS & CRAFTS
Snow or no snow, you can create your own wintry scene at Meekins Library. They’ll have lots of art supplies on hand so you can let your imagination run wild. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 31, 6pm —
COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/NEW YEAR’S EVE
Orange Revitalization Partnership presents the 20th Annual Starry Starry Night, with music, dance, and puppetry performances — plus hayrides and ice sculptures — throughout the downtown area. Parade of Stars at 10pm and Fireworks Finale at 10:15pm. Orange, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 31, 6pm-8pm —
COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/NEW YEAR’S EVE
Early Night 2015!, an all-ages New Year’s Eve celebration sponsored by the Shelburne Recreation Committee, takes place at Cowell Gymnasium. Activities include an inflatable bouncy house, hundreds of balloons to play with on the floor, dancing, music, crafts, games, refreshments, and a New Year’s countdown with a silver basketball drop. 413-625-3054. 51 Maple Street, Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 31, 10:15pm —
OUTDOOR ADVENTURES/NEW YEAR’S EVE
Welcome the new year on the mountain! The New Year’s Eve celebration is a tradition at Jiminy Peak. Join the Torchlight Parade, led by the Ski Patrol down the mountain to JJ’s Lodge. Then enjoy the fireworks display. 413-738-5500. 37 Corey Road, Hancock, MA.

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Friday, January 1st

Friday, January 1, 10am-12pm — FAMILY DANCE PARTY
Save your celebrating for New Year’s Day and bring the family to the New Year’s Day Music Party, presented by Hilltown Families and Flywheel Arts Collective. Enjoy a pancake breakfast while entertained by Scotty Swan Puppet Co. and The Magic of Jeff P. Then hit the dance floor with DJ Youthelectronix for the “best dance party before noon.” This event is a fundraiser for Hilltown Families and Flywheel and terrific way to ring in the new year with your community and your family! 413-527-9800. 43 Main Street, Easthampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER; >$)

Friday, January 1 —
CITIZEN SCIENCE/ORNITHOLOGY
Participate in the longest-running citizen science bird project in the country by joining a local team for the 116th Christmas Bird Count. In early winter, volunteers count every bird they see or hear during a 24-hour period within a designated 15-mile radius. Beginners are matched with experienced counters to learn and help at the same time. Data from the count, which occurs throughout the Western Hemisphere, are used to monitor bird populations and identify species in decline. This is a rewarding activity for all ages, and you can join a team for whatever period of time you like. Call local coordinator for more information. 413-623-8803. Southern Berkshire County, MA. (FREE)

Friday, January 1, 10am —
NATURE-BASED/GUIDED HIKE
Start off the new year with some fresh air and scenic views by joining Williamsburg Woodland Trails for its First Day 2016 hike. The hike will proceed down Valley View Road and into the woods, to Mass Audubon’s O’Neil Hill property and back. It will last 1.5-2 hours and is over easy terrain. Park and meet at the Dunphy School lot in the center of town. 413-268-7523. 1 Petticoat Hill Road, Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Friday, January 1, 12pm and 1pm —
NATURE-BASED/GUIDED HIKES
Get the new year off to a healthy start by joining MassParks and people at state parks across the country for a First Day Hike. Meet at Mt. Greylock Reservation (Visitor Center) in Lanesborough at 12pm or the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls at 1pm. Hiking promotes mental and physical well-being. Wear winter boots, and dress in layers. 617-626-1450. Various locations, MA. (FREE)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Goshen, Heath, Holyoke, Leyden, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Warwick, Williamsburg and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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