40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Caramelization to Lunar New Year. Mardi Gras to Hip Hop.

Have you ever wondered what makes  caramel chewy? Chemistry! This chewy consistency is due to a chemical reaction that occurs when milk is added to hot sugar syrup. Now, can you identify which molecules of milk (protein? fat?) or why sugar and not salt contribute to this chemical reaction? Support an interest in chemistry, pastry arts and food science by learning the basics of caramelization from chef and author Bill Collins in the Learner’s Lab at the Berkshire Museum this weekend. Go curious and ask questions! And then make plans to cook up some chewy caramel covered pastries when you get home… making your kitchen your very own chemistry lab!

Caramelization to Food Swap. Lunar New Year to Theater Shorts. Cougars to Crows. Mardi Gras to Black History Month. Acapella to Hip Hop. .. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: The town of Greenfield‘s 94th Annual Winter Carnival brings indoor and outdoor fun to locations across town, Friday, February 5 – Sunday, February 7! A tradition for nearly a century, Winter Carnival includes everything from traditional winter activities like the Cardboard Classic sled race and ice carving to a chili cook-off and a road race for the hardiest of runners. The event begins on Friday, February 5th with ice carving downtown, the annual Parade of Lights, and a fireworks display! Ongoing weekend events at Beacon Field include skating, sledding, the creation of a snowman village, a snow sculpture contest, a winter-themed story walk, and marshmallow roasting by the warming fire. 413-772-1553. 20 Sanderson Street, Greenfield, MA. (<$ SUGGESTED DONATION)


Mardi GrasWinter CarnivalIce ArtComputer ScienceHackathonFilmFood ScienceTrackingLocal FoodFood SwapChinese New YearLocal HistoryScience HistoryIce HarvestingSTEMTheaterAnimal StudiesOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresBlack History MonthArt StudiesMusic StudiesParenting WorkshopsParents’ Night Out


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Mardi Gras

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW
Saturday, February 6, 9-10am; Sunday, February 7, 7-8am
It may be business as usual here in New England, but way down south in New Orleans next week they will be throwing a huge party! Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) arrives this Tuesday, February 9, and the whole city will be celebrating! Celebrate Mardi Gras here at home with HFVS Mardi Gras Episode with Guest DJs, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington. Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing and Grammy Award winning producer Scott Billington offer a carnival of Louisiana roots music; a showcase of Cajun, New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, Zydeco, Brass Band and Jazz music by Louisiana artists. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. 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!

Winter Celebrations

WINTER CARNIVAL
Friday, February 5 – Sunday, February 7
The town of Greenfield‘s 94th Annual Winter Carnival brings indoor and outdoor fun to locations across town during the first weekend of February! A tradition for nearly a century, Winter Carnival includes everything from traditional winter activities like the Cardboard Classic sled race and ice carving to a chili cook-off and a road race for the hardiest of runners. The event begins on Friday, February 5th with ice carving downtown, the annual Parade of Lights, and a fireworks display! Ongoing weekend events at Beacon Field include skating, sledding, the creation of a snowman village, a snow sculpture contest, a winter-themed story walk, and marshmallow roasting by the warming fire. 413-772-1553. 20 Sanderson Street, Greenfield, MA. (<$ SUGGESTED DONATION)

SNOWFEST
Sunday, February 7, 12noon-4pm
Snowfest, the annual fundraising event for the Williamstown Youth Center will take place at the Towne Field House and Lansing Chapman Rink on the Williams College Campus. Lots of family fun, including rock climbing, bounce houses, arts and crafts, and ice skating. 413-458-5925. 76 and 82 Latham Street, Williamstown, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

ICE ART FESTIVAL
Friday, February 12, All Day
Scheduled to spread love through an icy medium on the Friday preceding Valentine’s Day, the annual Northampton Ice Arts Festival brings beautifully carved (and temporary!) sculptures to the streets of Northampton. Offered as part of the Northampton Center for the Arts’ February installment of Arts Night Out, the Ice Art Festival offers families the opportunity to explore the art that is ice carving. Strolling down Main Street can reveal a variety of techniques and tools, and spectators will be able to watch the pieces evolve throughout the day. Work on the ice sculptures will begin at 10am on the day of the event at 10 different downtown locations; Arts Night Out and the unveiling of finished sculptures will take place from 5-8pm. 413-584-7327. Various locations, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

COMPUTER SCIENCE

CIVICS/HACKATHON
Saturday, February 6, 9am-10pm; Sunday, February 7, 9am-3pm
In 1999, the word “hackathon” entered the realm of computer science, and it really caught on in the subsequent decade. Merging the terms “hack” and “marathon,” a “hackathon” is a programming event in which people participate to drive innovation in computer science. This year, Smith College is hosting its second annual Hack@Smith event, a hackathon designed to promote gender equality in computer science. This event is intended for students ages 18 and older, and first-time coders are encouraged to participate! A panel of leaders in the tech industry will share presentations as well. Davis Ballroom, Smith College, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

SOCIAL CHANGE/COMPUTERS
Monday, February 8, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Holyoke Codes invites teens to create games that address social issues in a positive way, creatively engage with technology, and explore issues important to them. At “We Got Game — Teen Arcade,” professional game designers will discuss how they create games and brainstorm with participants about how to turn ideas into games. Learn how to be an artist, programmer, project manager, and game tester while building projects with a Scratch Game Engine. Participants will present their games on the big screen to friends, family, and the community at an Arcade Party on Friday, 2/19. 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Film

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE/ANIMATED PARABLE
Saturday, February 6, 10am
Bored with his solitary existence, the man in the moon catches a ride on a shooting star and lands on Earth, setting off alarms in the President’s office. While the Moon Man (Not Rated, 2013) explores the planet and its creatures, children cannot sleep while he’s missing from his post, and the President seeks to capture him. The movie is based on the classic children’s book by Tomi Ungerer. Families could read the book first, then talk about how the film compares with the original story. Showing at the Amherst Cinema as part of the Family Films Series. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (<$)

MUSICAL FILM
Saturday, February 6, 2:30pm
Escape the chill of winter at the Clark Art Institute with its Midwinter Movie Madness series, featuring films set in sunny locales. Showing today is the musical Mamma Mia! (PG-13, 2008), the story of a bride-to-be in search of her biological father on a gorgeous Greek Island, set to the songs of 70s supergroup ABBA. Starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and Amanda Seyfried. Appropriate for tweens and teens. Families can discuss the film’s attitude toward relationship and marriage. In the Michael Conforti Pavilion. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Food Science

CANDY CHEMISTRY
Saturday, February 6, 10am
Have you ever wondered what makes a caramel chewy? It’s the chemical reaction that occurs when milk is added to hot sugar syrup. Learn the basics of caramels from chef and author Bill Collins in the Learner’s Lab at the Berkshire Museum. Pre-registration requested. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA. (FREE Members, $ Non-members)

CARAMELIZATION
For older learners, check out this video that storyboards the chemical reaction behind caramelization:

Tracking

ARCADIA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Saturday, February 6, 10am-12pm
You can learn a lot about an animal without even seeing it. That’s because animals leave behind “signs” as to their behavior. Come to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary to learn about tracking wildlife through a craft, an indoor game, and a hike. Dress for the weather. For ages 5 and up. Pre-registration recommended. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. ($)

KESTREL LAND TRUST
Sunday, February 7, 10am-12noon
Explore the Mineral Hills with naturalist John Body and Kestrel Land Trust, searching for animal sign to discover what wildlife has been up to. A porcupine den, fisher and bobcat tracks, and coyote activity have all been found in this area. RSVP by Friday at 5pm for meeting location. Heavy snow or rain cancels. 413-549-1097. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

HITCHCOCK CENTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Friday, February 12, 9:30am-11:30am
No animals in sight? No problem. Look for tracks and other signs that they’ve been there during Winter Wonderland Tracking Day at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. Make a track guide, go on a hike, eat a detective snack, and listen to a tracking story. Wear warm layers. For ages 3-5 with an adult. Pre-registration required. 413-256-6006. 525 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. ($ Members, $$ Non-members)

Local Food

FARMERS’ MARKET: GREENFIELD
Saturday, February 6, 10am-1pm
Support your local farmers, and your health, by shopping at the Greenfield Winter Fare Market at Greenfield High School. You’ll find the best produce, meat, and prepared food, not to mention one-of-a-kind artisan crafts. Learn where the food was grown, and how, from the growers themselves. You can also bring your favorite canning creations, baked goods, seeds, plants, or other edibles to trade with fellow preservers, bakers, gardeners, and DIYers at the Valley Food Swap, happening at the end of the market. It’s a great chance to share any surplus you have and barter for something new and delicious to try at home. Kids love to swap, so be sure to bring them along and get them excited about new foods, skillsharing, and collaborative consumption. 1 Lenox Avenue, Greenfield, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

FARMERS’ MARKET: AMHERST
Saturday, February 6, 10am-2pm
Explore the sometimes surprising bounty of the winter harvest, and explore other wonderful, local delights such as honey, breads, pastries, cheeses, jewelry, and more at the Amherst Winter Farmers’ Market, which runs most Saturdays through April 2, 2016. SNAP accepted throughout the market. Amherst Regional Middle School, 170 Chestnut Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Cultural Studies

CHINESE NEW YEAR
Ringing in the year of the fire monkey, Chinese New Year takes place this year on February 8, 2016. By exploring Chinese art, food, music, and traditions, families can gain background knowledge to support participation in regional celebrations of the lunar holiday. Read more in our post, Chinese New Year Brings Opportunities for Cultural Studies.

LUNAR NEW YEAR: YEAR OF THE MONKEY
Saturday, February 6, 1:15pm-2:15pm
The Lunar New Year begins February 8 this year. Welcome the Year of the Monkey at Mason Library with storytime and crafts. For preschool- and elementary-aged kids. Pre-registration requested. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA, (FREE)

Local History

LOCAL SCIENTISTS
Saturday, February 6, 2pm
Historic Northampton presents “Science in Exile: Albert Francis Blakeslee and Sophie Satin in Northampton,” by C. John Burk, Elsie Damon Simonds Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Smith College. Burk will discuss Albert Blakeslee and Sophie Satin, eminent geneticists who conducted botanical research at Smith College. The talk is part of a new lecture series, From Mars to Molecules: Quirky Scientists who put the Valley on the Map. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

ICE HARVESTING
Sunday, February 7, 12noon-3pm
Have you ever heard someone, perhaps a grandparent or great aunt, refer to the refrigerator as the “icebox” and wondered where the term came from? In the 19th century, before the development of mechanical refrigeration, people cut ice from lakes and ponds in the winter and stored it throughout the year for use in iceboxes to keep food and drinks cold. It was the first “harvest” of the year, and by the turn of the 20th century, 10 million tons were used throughout the U.S. each year. Come to the 7th Annual Ice Harvest at the Noble and Cooley Center for Historic Preservation to see how ice cutting was done and try it for yourself. Dennis Picard, director of Storrowton Village, will lead the program. Also view a video on ice harvesting and take a tour of the museum. 413-357-6321. 42 Water Street, Granville, MA. (<$)

STEM

ENGINEERING
Saturday, February 6, 10:30am-11:30am
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)

CHESS
Saturday, February 6, 3:30pm-5pm
Chess teaches sportsmanship and builds confidence. It’s great brain-training! Kids ages 7 and up can learn to play, study famous games, and craft strategies for winning at Chess Club with Andy Morris-Friedman at the Jones Library. Continues on 3/5 and 4/2. Limited to 12 players. Sign up on the day of the session by calling or stopping by the Kids Desk. 413-259-3091. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Research shows that, when played from a young age, chess can be beneficial to a child’s learning and development. The game requires the use of high-order thinking skills, such as weighing actions and consequences, and helps players practice decision making. Read more in our post, Playing Chess as Educational Enrichment for Kids.

STEM/LITERACY
Wednesday, February 10, 4pm-5pm
Wednesday Wizards meets the third Thursday of every month at the Greenfield Public Library. A guest presenter introduces a science concept with a book and activity to inspire creativity. 413-772-1544. LeVanway Room, 402 Main Street, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

CREATIVE FREE PLAY/STEM
Friday, February 12, 11am-3pm
The Berkshire Museum hosts its 4th annual Ten Days of Play from 2/12 – 2/21, the week that most schools have vacation. Kids can build and innovate with the big blue blocks of Imagination Playground, tiny LEGO bricks, a kid-sized Bilderhoos architectural building set, and colorful Tegu magnetic blocks. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA. (FREE Members, $ Non-members)

Theater

CHILDREN’S THEATER/SHORTS
Saturday, February 6. 4pm & 7:30pm; Sunday, February 7. 3pm
Winter Shorts Festival. The Drama Studio is an educational conservatory theater that educates young people on all aspects of theater arts while supporting their individual artistic talents. The Winter Shorts Festival will feature two short plays developed and performed by young actors in the program. The first is Kristin’s Rainbow, an ensemble piece created by faculty member Amelia Hays-Rivest and the members of the 2010 ACT Class. This play tells the story of a young girl who is emotionally numb from her parent’s constant fighting and is unable to respond to the needs of her friends or her younger brother. A mysterious girl arrives and encourages Kristin to experience a “rainbow of emotions,” encouraging Kristin to confront difficult emotions and embrace hope. This play offers an excellent platform for discussing the importance of exploring and honoring our feelings. The second play, On the Chin, was written by Steve Hays and follows the story of two camp counselors who embark on a hike with nine of their campers. As the two try to create a positive bonding experience for their young charges, they must navigate the souring of their own relationship from the previous summer. This play highlights the process of self-discovery and healing emotional wounds. The festival brings together educational themes while also giving audiences the opportunity to witness the developing talents of young theater artists. Performances will be held at the Drama Studio. 413-739-1983. 41 Oakland Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Animal Studies

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
Saturday, February 6, 10:30am-12noon
Where do animals go in the winter? Will the warmer winter weather change their behavior? Let your kids ask questions and come curious to “Over and Under the Snow.” Using puppets, props and picture books, young children will have an opportunity to ask questions and find answer during this winter story hour. Takes place at the Charlemont Town Hall. 157 Main Street. Charlemont, MA (FREE)

COUGAR
Saturday, February 6, 7pm-9pm
Once considered impossible, cougar sightings have now been confirmed in the eastern U.S. Join Sue Morse, founder of Keeping Track, for “The Cougar Returns to the East,” an illustrated introduction to cougar biology and ecology at Berkshire Community College. Morse is one of the top wildlife trackers in North America and has studied wildlife and their habitat, particularly bobcat, black bear, Canada lynx, and cougar, since 1977. Sponsored by the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, The Trustees of Reservations, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Berkshire Community College. 413-230-7321. Robert Boland Theatre – Koussevitzky Arts Center, 1350 West Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

ORNITHOLOGY/BIRDS OF PREY
Sunday, February 7, 1pm-4pm
Observe a number of birds of prey, then dive into some great, ornithology-inspired science and art activities at the Center School‘s annual Birds of Prey Open House. Local raptor rehabilitator, Tom Ricardi, will give a presentation that includes live owls, eagles, and hawks from 1pm-2pm, and visitors may stop in an assortment of classes to build bird nests, make bird masks, dissect owl pellets, and more. Parents/guardians and children will also have ample opportunities to explore the campus, meet teachers, and learn about the Center School’s unique educational program. 413-773-1700. 71 Montague City Road, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

ORNITHOLOGY/CROWS
Sunday, February 2:30pm-6pm
The American crow is one of our most common birds, and one of the most intelligent. Learn about these fascinating members of the corvidae family, and their cousins the ravens, at Winter Crows, a workshop at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Following a slide show, participants will carpool to Springfield to observe thousands of crows on a nighttime roost. For lifelong learners and self-directed teens. Registration recommended. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. ($ Members, $$ Non-members)

Museum Adventures

FRIENDIVERSARY/THE CARLE
Saturday, February 6, 10am-4pm
Celebrate Friendiversary with Mo Willems characters Elephant and Piggie at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. This annual celebration of reading and friendship is promoted by First Book, which provides new books to children in need. There will be free admission, storytimes, films, art activities, and a free Mo Willems book for every child. 413-658-1126. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

WORD UP FAMILY DAY/THE CLARK
Sunday, February 7, 1pm-4pm
Celebrate storytelling in all its forms — verbal, visual, digital, or musical — at the
Clark Art Institute‘s Word Up Family Day. In conjunction with the exhibition An Eye for Excellence: Twenty Years of Collecting, there will be family activities to stretch your thinking about what makes a story and how it can be told. Make books inspired by the museum’s collection; participate in collective storytelling by adding to a group narrative at a typewriter station; learn the art of paper marbling; listen to musician Harris MacDonald sing about his life’s journey; and explore printmaking techniques. As part of the Clark’s First Sunday Free program, admission to the galleries is free all day. Read more in our post, Word Up Family Day Explores Intersection of Visual Art and Storytelling. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

FREE SECOND FRIDAY/SMITH COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART
Friday, February 12, 4pm-8pm
Enjoy Free Second Friday at the Smith College Museum of Art, with art activities and programs related to the exhibition MOTHERS’ ARMS Käthe Kollwitz’s Women and War. Try your hand at printmaking and make Valentines for those you love at Printed with Love from 4pm-6pm; have a guided conversation about one work of art in the exhibition during Open Eyes from 6pm-6:30pm; participate in a book signing for the exhibition catalogue from 7pm-8pm; and view the film Käthe Kollwitz: Images of a Life at 7pm. The Museum Shop will be open and light refreshments will be available. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

TEN DAYS OF PLAY/BERKSHIRE MUSEUM
Friday, February 12, 5:30pm-7:30pm
At the Ten Days of Play Free Community Night at Berkshire Museum, kids can build and innovate with the big blue blocks of Imagination Playground, tiny LEGO bricks, a Bilderhoos architectural building set, and Tegu magnetic blocks. Also visit the ArtZoo exhibition. Ten Days of Play continues through 2/21, with regular museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Black History Month

ART STUDIES
Sunday, February 7, 1pm-3:30pm
Music and Diversity II is a series of events that educate, entertain, and build community awareness of diversity through the arts. This opening event at the Great Falls Discovery Center features “Portraits of African Americans, Past and Present,” an exhibition by artists Louise Minks and Belinda Lyons Zucker. Minks’ portraits of African Americans connected to the Pioneer Valley include Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Lyons Zucker will share her multi-media handmade dolls that represent historic African Americans, family members, and people she has met. The exhibition continues through March 31. At 2:30pm, Tim Neumann, executive director of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, will present “A Web of Community: Slavery in a Rural New England Town,” a look at the complicated relationship between free and enslaved African Americans in the mid-1700s. 413-835-1390. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

LOCAL HISTORY
Monday, February 8, 6:30pm
As part of the Black Her/History Month celebration at Westfield State University, Dr. Robert Brown, Professor Emeritus of History, presents “The Paytons of Westfield: Black Entrepreneurship and the Founding of Harlem.” He will discuss the life of Philip Payton Sr., an ex-slave from North Carolina who moved to Westfield and became a successful businessman. In the Owl’s Nest. 413-572-5442. 577 Western Avenue, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Music Studies

ACAPELLA
Sunday, February 7, 2pm
A fabulous lineup of collegiate a capella groups from the Northeast will perform at the Silver Chord Bowl 2016. This event, which kicks off the Four Sundays in February Winter Festival Series, will be emceed by Northampton’s mayor, David Narkewicz, and Smith Dean of Students, Donna Lisker, and will feature Northampton High School’s a capella group, the Northamptones! Proceeds benefit arts programs funded by the Northampton Arts Council. 413-587-1269. John M. Greene Hall, Smith College, Northampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

LATIN MUSIC
Sunday, February 7, 2pm-6pm
Carnival season in the Caribbean features big, boisterous music and dance. Learn the percussion and songs of three Carnival traditions: Brazil (samba), Cuba (conga) and Martinique (vidé), at the Caribbean Carnival: Drums & Songs Workshop, offered by the Northampton Community Music Center. Beginners will get an introduction to basic technique on conga, bass drums, and a host of bells, shakers, and scrapers. More experienced percussionists are welcome to come wail! Instruments provided, but if you have a conga, bring it. Suitable for teens and adults. 413-585-0001. 139 South Street, Northampton, MA. ($$)

HIP HOP
Wednesday, February 10, 4pm-5pm
Learn to freestyle and rhyme, spit lyrics, and develop beats at Rock the Stacks!: Hip Hop at the Library at the Mason Square Branch of the Springfield Public Library. The Community Music School of Springfield will help young people develop their voice and self-confidence. For ages 6-14. Every Wednesday through 2/24. 413-263-6853. 765 State Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Parenting Workshops

HOW TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT THERAPY
Tuesday, February 9, 6pm-7:30pm
We all need help sometimes, but children may not understand what therapy entails. In “How to Talk to Kids About Therapy,” Sarah Abel, LICSW, will provide caregivers with an understanding of child therapy and offer advice on discussing therapy with kids. The workshop is presented by The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens, a program of Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice. Family, friends, and loved ones of youth are all welcome. Snow date 2/11, same time. 413-582-5312. 168 Industrial Drive, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

ANXIOUS KIDS, ANXIOUS PARENTS
Tuesday, February 9, 7pm
Does your child struggle with worries and anxiety? It can be hard to watch our children face psychological challenges, especially when we are not sure how we can help. Lynn Lyons, author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents, specializes in anxiety disorders and is dedicated to “breaking the generational cycle of worry in families.” She brings her “How to Stop the Worry Cycle” presentation to the Longmeadow High School auditorium. 413-656-4220. 95 Grassy Gutter Road, Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

GRIEF THROUGH STORY
Wednesday, February 10, 6pm-7:30pm
Family, friends, and loved ones in the life of a grieving young person are invited to attend “Grief Through Story,” a workshop for caregivers that teaches how to start a conversation about death, dying, and grief with youth. Participants will learn to use children’s literature as a tool in talking with kids about these challenging topics. There will be a guided conversation about grief, and participants will learn about resources in various mediums to help with discussions. Presented by The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens, a program of Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice at the Sunderland Public Library. Snow date 2/17, same time. 413-582-5312. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Parents’ Night Out/Childcare

DROP N’ DINE
Friday, February 12, 5pm-8:30pm
At Drop N’ Dine, kids can enjoy pizza, supervised swimming, games, Bingo with prizes, and cookie decorating while parents/guardians have a much-deserved evening out. Provided by Northampton Parks & Rec Department. For kids in grades K-5. 413-587-1040. 100 Bridge Road, Florence, MA. ($ Residents, $$ Non-residents)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT/CHILDCARE
Friday, February 12, 6pm-8:30pm
Enjoy a special night out with your spouse, partner, or friends while the kids have fun at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Activities include cupcake decorating, swimming, crafts, pizza, and a bedtime story. For ages 3-12. Pre-registration required (48 hours in advance). 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington, MA. ($)

[Photo credit: (cc) Tracy Benjamin]


Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Blandford, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Erving, Holyoke, Montague, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Warwick and Williamsburg Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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