Suggested Events for April 15th-21st, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families helps us to cast a wider net when we are looking for activities during school vacation or on the weekends. Often we find sweet little buried gems that would otherwise have escaped our notice… Thanks for being here.” – Sarah R. (Greenfield, 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! Click HERE to find out more.

Summer Camp Directory

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

Apr 8-30

Bring the whole family to downtown Amherst and celebrate Daffodil Days! Town bursts with daffodils and fun. Sunday April 9 & 23 come to The Games on the Common where community joins college athletes to play bocce, badminton and croquet. A festival honors international students on April 8 on the common. On April 22, The Dessert Crawl benefit for non-profit Reader to Reader offers a chance to try 10 desserts for $10. The Sustainability Festival on the Common has music, demonstrations, and presentations on sustainable strategies. Amherst ChalkWalk on April 29 offers the chance to decorate the sidewalks to win special gift prizes. The annual Daffodil Run on April 30 has special awards for silly costumes and a cookout follows at Kendrick Park.

Apr 14

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, April 14, at 11am, bring your child to a visit with Montessori School of Northampton educator Laura Frogameni. The hour will include time to explore Montessori materials, circle time and a story. The Forbes Library is located at 20 West Street in Northampton. Free; all families of children 0-6 are invited to attend. For more information, call Laura at 413-586-4538 x103 or visit www.northamptonmontessori.org.

Apr 14-15

Huge used music, DVD and children’s book sale at Roundabout Books in Greenfield, April 14 & 15. $1 sale: Saturday 10am-5pm. $2 pre-sale day: Friday, April 14, 12-7pm. Roundabout Books, member ABA and SNEAB, presents our huge Spring CD, DVD, and book sale. Of special interest to Hilltown Families will be Roundabout’s large collection of children’s picture and chapter books. All inventory is used, in excellent condition, with a focus on classic children’s books and series books. Roundabout is a large, open, child-friendly space. Delight in shopping for all ages, as well. $1 DVDs and DVD sets; $1 CDs and CD sets; $1 All children’s books (over 1000 to choose from); $1 All Sci-Fi and Fantasy; $1 audiobooks; 20% off all other books. www.roundaboutbookstore.com.

Apr 16

The Blue Heron Restaurant will celebrate the arrival of spring with their annual farm-to-table Easter brunch buffet on Sunday, April 16, 2017. Seatings are available every half hour from 11am to 4pm. An abundant hors d’oeuvres station, a breakfast buffet, a carving station, and vegetarian and vegan guests will find many options (additional items can be modified to be vegan upon request). Most of the menu items are naturally gluten free. The buffet is $48 per adult and $20 per child ages 4-10; children under four eat free. The full menu is available at www.blueherondining.com/special-events. Reservations are required and by calling 413-665-2102 or info@blueherondining.com. The Blue Heron is located at 112 North Main Street in Sunderland.

Apr 17-21

Celebrate the arrival of spring with two weeks of school vacation week programming at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Explore three giant exhibit hangars filled with over sixty historic aircraft and experience the wonders of flight through daily hands-on activities including: Hands-on Build & Fly Challenges, interactive Flight Science Demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, computerized Flight Simulators. Monday, April 17, Delta Dart Model Building Workshop 10am-2pm. April 18, Constellation Viewer Make & Take Workshop, 10am-2pm. April 19, Pinwheel Props Make & Take Workshop, 10am-2pm. April 20, Rocket Balloons, 10am-2pm. Friday, April 21, LEGO Flying Machine Contests, 10am-2pm. www.neam.org.

Apr 21-24

Experience the awakening of spring in Conway, MA. Wilderness Survival Vacation Program at Earthwork Programs, 4/21-4/24, 9am-3pm. Ages 7+. While spending lots of time outdoors, the group will notice new growth all around while learning about edible and medicinal plants. By practicing nature awareness, looking deeper becomes possible, and through tracking skills and the ability to be quiet in the forest, young wildlife may be seen. During April Vacation, children can wander and learn what to do if lost. They can even learn basic wilderness living skills, like shelter making, fire making, cordage, and knife safety. $276-$300 for 4 days (or 2-day minimum @$75/day). #OptOutside. 413-340-1161. earthworkprograms.com.

May 7

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, Peppa’s theatre tour will visit Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday, May 7, at 2pm. In Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fair to raise money so Mr. Bull can do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep organize an exciting day out complete with a Champion Puddle Jumping Competition judged by Mr. Potato, where everyone gets wet! An interactive experience full of singing, dancing, games, and muddy puddles, it’s a blast for the whole family. The fun-filled show gives families the opportunity to engage in an unforgettable first live theater experience. $29 and up. www.peppapigliveus.com.

Jun 26-Aug 11

Join Journey Camp at Woolman Hill, Deerfield and at Open View Farm, Conway this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace building are hallmarks of Journey Camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Farm Week Session for All ages 7-12, June 26-30,8:45-4pm, Conway; Session One for All ages 7-12, July 3-7, 8:45-4, Deerfield; Moonseed Teen Leadership Camp for ages 12-18, July 17-20, two overnights & campfires, Deerfield; Girls Weeks, ages 7-12, July 31-Aug 4 & Aug 7-11, 8:45-4, Deerfield. www.sarahpirtle.com. Contact: 413-588-6399; marsha.journey@gmail.com.

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, 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 Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 Program Manager, Courtney Supple at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
April 15th-21st, 2017

SaturdaySunday
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Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Earth Day Episode by Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband highlights songs and concepts that explore compassion, kindness, and our interconnectedness with Earth and all beings. The episode underscores the reminder that our love and intention are powerful forces that can inspire all of us to act in ways that protect and take care of the Earth. 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 nearly 10 years!

Saturday, April 15, 9am-1pm
PHYSICS/NATURE STUDIES
What exactly is electricity? It powers our lights and electronic devices, but how? Electricity is a physical phenomenon that occurs when there is an electric charge. It can be harnessed through engineering for technological uses, and it also occurs naturally. Children and their parents are invited to learn more about electricity and spend time outdoors at the Hitchcock Center Second Saturday Science program. This program will continue on the second Saturday of the month through June, with various themes. 413-256-6006. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 9am-3pm
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING
Educator and homeschooling proponent John Holt once stated: “It seems to me a fact that in our struggle to make sense out of life, the things we most need to learn are the things we most want to learn.” (How Children Learn, 1967.) Amherst Splash offers local middle and high school students the opportunity to learn what they most want to, with subjects ranging from crocheting to Greek mythology to algebra to sailing! 100 Boltwood Avenue. Amherst College. Converse Hall. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, April 15, 9:30am-4pm
LIVING HISTORY/AGRICULTURE
Spring is the time for learning about agriculture by meeting baby animals on the farm! You can meet heritage breeds of baby animals (including cattle, lambs, goats, chicks, bunnies and piglets) up close at the Old Sturbridge Village! Families who visit will learn about 19th century agriculture practices and tools, as well as how these traditions affect current agricultural and horticultural practices. Families can also connect their historical learning to literacy, as they “meet” Laura Ingalls Wilder, author the Little House on the Prairie series, portrayed by historian Melanie Stringer. Family Farm Fest takes place April 15 through April 23. On Easter Sunday, April 16, children ages 10 and under are invited to participate in a Great Easter Egg Hunt at 2:00 pm. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$; Ages 4-17 $; 3 and under FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 10am-11:30am
ECOLOGY
Are your kids studying life cycles, ecology or habitats? Have you thought about taking them to check out a vernal pool in your area? Vernal pools are a temporary type of wetland habitat, home to a number of extraordinary animals. Learning about vernal pools is also a way for you and your family to get involved with helping threatened or endangered species. Vernal pools are critical habitats for for many state-listed amphibian species such as spotted salamanders and wood frogs. Come to the Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary to learn more about why these small bodies of water are so important and what you can do to help protect them. This program is suitable for children ages 4-16, and their caregivers. 413- 584-3009. Main Street. Hampden, MA. (<$)

Saturday, April 15, 10am-4pm
ZOOLOGY/AGRICULTURE
The opening of Hancock Shaker Village to visitors brings many educational opportunities for children and adults. April 15 through April 23 you can meet newborn lambs, piglets, calves, goats, chicks and ducklings! Learn about the biology of these animals and their significance in the context of farming life. In addition to history and biology, many people who visit Shaker Village are interested in the architecture of the Round Stone Barn, built in 1826 as a cow stable. Celebrate spring with agricultural learning and by seeing the baby animals. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street. Pittsfield MA. (Adult $; Ages 13-17 <$; 12 and under FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 10am-4pm
NATURE STUDIES
This April school vacation week, keep the learning going by visiting a nature center with your kids! Great Falls Discovery Center is a local resource for self-directed learning through the beautiful and realistic interpretive displays detailing the natural, cultural, and industrial history of the Connecticut River watershed. April 15 through April 23, the center will be expanding their hours. Stop by the welcome desk to find Earth Week investigation stations, habitat diorama scavenger hunts, and games to explore the grounds. Bring your bike for the Canalside Rail Trail. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 10am-4:30pm
EASTER/HISTORY
Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold Easter Bunny Fun Days, featuring pictures with the Easter Bunny, an Easter scavenger hunt, face painting, and crafts! Take as many trolley rides as you would like operated by period dressed motormen. Inside the Visitor Center you will find more static trolley cars and artifacts, a theater showing a short film about trolleys and a gift shop to buy that ‘special’ souvenir. Entrance into the Connecticut Fire Museum complete with antique fire trucks and apparatus is included with admission price. 413-627-6540. 58 North Road. East Windsor, CT. (<$)

Saturday, April 15, 10am-5pm
LITERACY/BOOK SALE
Picture books aren’t just for kids! Classic children’s picture books are appreciated for their stories as well as their artwork and can be read and enjoyed by the whole family. You can find classic children’s books and chapter books, as well as used CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks at Roundabout Books in Greenfield for their huge spring sale. This large, open, child-friendly space will be great for people of all ages to peruse. 413-773-0820. 46 Kenwood Street. Greenfield, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, April 15, 11am
GUIDED NATURE HIKE
The ground is thawing and it’s time for hikes! Hiking is both a way to explore nature and a healthy, cardiovascular workout. Guided group hikes combine socializing and education with exercise and time spent in nature. Stu Besnoff will lead this hike at Windsor Jambs. For more information visit the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers Facebook page. Meet at the former Windsor State Forest Campground at the intersection of River Road and Lower Road. Windsor, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 11am-1pm
EASTER/EGG HUNT
Egg hunts get kids outside exploring and using their detective skills to find treasure! Want to give your kids the Easter egg hunt experience without tons of sugar? Come to the Candy Free Easter Egg Hunt at Blue Rider Stables! There will also be pony rides, hay maze, face painting and delicious refreshments available for an additional charge. 413-528 5299. 15 Farm Lane. South Egremont, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 11am-1pm
ART STUDIES/PASTEL
Do you like working with pastels? Unlike paint, pastel is mixed and blended on the canvas. There are more than a dozen different artistic techniques for using pastels. You can improve your pastel artwork, or try it out for the first time, by attending a hands-on workshop run by the classically trained artist Greg Maichack. Participants will experiment with the artist’s professional grade pastels, pastel pencils, and pastel paper, producing their own pastel painting of Georgia O’Keeffe’s elegant Jimson flower that sold for $45.4 million. Spots may fill quickly. Call 413-263-6828 ext. 221 to register for this workshop at the Springfield Central Library. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 12pm-2pm
EGG HUNT/ORNITHOLOGY
In addition to engaging kids’ visual and memory skills, egg hunts can be an opportunity to talk about real eggs and birds! The Migratory Bird’s Egg Hunt at Fort River Division offers a unique spin on this traditional activity, offering families the chance to celebrate spring while learning about ornithology. Participants will use a GPS to discover locations of eggs, and learn about birds who live here in the spring and summer. An interactive worksheet will help participants during the hunt The trail is handicap accessible and all ages are welcome! 413-548-8002. Silvio O. Conte Refuge, 69 Moody Bridge Road. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 1pm-3pm
STEM/PROGRAMMING
Technological skills are a necessary component of the music industry, and tons of emerging computer softwares have opened up doorways of creativity for the musically inclined. You can make computer generated music without playing an instrument. You can also borrow and manipulate samples of sound for your songs. This workshop, “Learn to Code by Making Music,” at Holyoke Codes will teach participants Python coding techniques as they learn how to compose beats, manipulate loops, and apply effects to songs. This workshop is a great opportunity to combine two different subjects of interest, or to learn a new technological skills in support of an interest in music making. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. 413-552-4900. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 2pm-3pm
LOCAL HISTORY
Berkshire County was at one time an industrial base for products such as textiles, paper, glass and iron. Industrial machines were powered in part by local, running waters. Historian John Dickson will be discussing the impact of 19th century mills and factories and telling this local story through historic photographs. His presentation, “Why Here? The Rise of Berkshire County’s Industrial Might,” is part of a series of River Smart programming to help educate our community about the impact of our rivers on past and present life. Berkshire Athenaeum. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, April 15, 7pm
MUSIC STUDIES
Shostakovich’s Symphony #7 in C major is a part of classical music history. It was composed at the height of the Nazi siege of Leningrad during World War II. The composer wrote it in Leningrad and later in Moscow after he had been transferred for his safety. The final score was sent back to Leningrad and was performed by surviving members of Leningrad’s municipal orchestra. The composition draws upon the terrifying circumstances of the time but also serves as a symbol of resistance and a requiem for the victims. You can hear it performed by the Amherst Symphony Orchestra in Buckley Recital Hall. Amherst, MA. (<$)

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores of 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, to hear a rebroadcast of a favorite Doo-Wop Episode with Guest DJs, Michael & Tony Napolitano of Preschool of Rock. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime – click here to see over 9 years of archived shows.

Sunday, April 16, 9:30am-4pm
LIVING HISTORY/AGRICULTURE
Spring is the time for learning about agriculture by meeting baby animals on the farm! You can meet heritage breeds of baby animals (including cattle, lambs, goats, chicks, bunnies and piglets) up close at the Old Sturbridge Village! Families who visit will learn about 19th century agriculture practices and tools, as well as how these traditions affect current agricultural and horticultural practices. Families can also connect their historical learning to literacy, as they “meet” Laura Ingalls Wilder, author the Little House on the Prairie series, portrayed by historian Melanie Stringer. Family Farm Fest takes place April 15 through April 23. On Easter Sunday, April 16, children ages 10 and under are invited to participate in a Great Easter Egg Hunt at 2:00 pm. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$; Ages 4-17 $; 3 and under FREE)

Sunday, April 16, 11am-4pm
EASTER BRUNCH
Celebrate Easter will a delicious farm-to-table brunch!
The Blue Heron Restaurant will celebrate the arrival of spring with an abundant hors d’oeuvres station, a breakfast buffet, a carving station, and vegetarian and vegan guests will find many options (additional items can be modified to be vegan upon request). Most of the menu items are naturally gluten free. Seatings are available every half hour from 11am to 4pm. Reservations are required and by calling 413-665-2102 or info@blueherondining.com. 112 North Main Street. Sunderland, MA. (Adult $$; Ages 4-10 $; 4 and under eat FREE)

Sunday, April 16, 3pm-4pm
MUSIC STUDIES
Flutes are among the world’s oldest extant musical instrument. These reedless woodwinds are used in classical music, jazz, and occasionally popular music as well. You can celebrate this beautiful instrument by attending MHC’s Flute Choir concert: Silver Enchantment, a diverse program including a movement of a Rachmaninoff symphony, the adagio from the Albinoni Organ Suite, and pieces written for flute choir.The performance will be followed by a reception. Alison Hale directs. Mount Holyoke College. McCulloch Auditorium, Pratt Hall. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, April 17, 9:30am-4pm
LIVING HISTORY/AGRICULTURE
Spring is the time for learning about agriculture by meeting baby animals on the farm! You can meet heritage breeds of baby animals (including cattle, lambs, goats, chicks, bunnies and piglets) up close at the Old Sturbridge Village! Families who visit will learn about 19th century agriculture practices and tools, as well as how these traditions affect current agricultural and horticultural practices. Family Farm Fest takes place April 15 through April 23. On Monday, April 17, in celebration of Presidents Day, there will be activities throughout the day to educate visitors about the lives our colonial ancestors lead at the time the Revolutionary War began. Learn about history through military drills, musket demonstrations, and other living history programs. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$; Ages 4-17 $; 3 and under FREE)

Monday, April 17, 10:30am-11:30am
SUSTAINABILITY/ART STUDIES
Kids are often very passionate about their values, and can look at a global or political problem with a fresh, creative perspective. Multi Arts is offering families the opportunity to engage their creative problem solving skills and their artistic abilities in celebration of Earth Day. Children are asked to consider the question: “Why does the environment matter and what can we do to protect it?” Attendees will use this question to guide them as they create postcards to be sent to political officials. Help your kids connect to both the local community and the natural world. Space is limited, please reserve your space by emailing info@multi-arts.org. Immanuel Lutheran Church. 867 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Monday, April 17, 11am
FAMILY THEATER/PUPPETRY
Kick off April school vacation week with family-friendly theater! Nutshell Playhouse presents Mambo and Nemonee’s Worldwide Adventure, which tells the story of the main characters’ mission to save the beautiful but endangered Floratius Serendipitus. The performance will feature movement, live music, masks, and puppetry. The storyline will introduce children to sustainability concepts and the balance of nature, opening up the possibility for important, educational conversations among families. Catch this free performance at the Whitney Center for the Arts. 413-443-0289. 42 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday, April 17, 2pm
ART STUDIES/ELDER CARE
The Clark Art Institute invites persons with dementia and their caregivers to a free gallery talk! Groups are welcome as well as pairs. The Clark, which is both an art museum and a center for research and education, is closed on Mondays, providing a safe and private atmosphere for this tour. Specially trained docents will guide participants in an open-ended conversation about art. Through this program, the museum staff seek to encourage self-expression and a positive social experience for people with dementia and the people who love and care for them. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Monday, April 17, 7pm
FILM STUDIES
Northampton Community Television’s annual 7-Day Film Sprint encourages collaboration and skill sharing, and strengthens our local film community. The Film Sprint is a mini-marathon of filmmaking, calling for the creation of short films over the course of a single week and culminating in a screening event celebrating the hard work and creativity of those involved. The Film Sprint invites both aspiring and professional filmmakers to come together and collaborative. The event also challenges these filmmakers by assigning them a prompt and a genre to work within. The event kicks off on Monday April 17 at Northampton Community Television Studies, located in Northampton High School For more information call 413-587-3550. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Belchertown, Cheshire, Easthampton, Florence, Gill, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hatfiled, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Ludlow, New Salem, North Adams, Sheffield, Sunderland, Turners Falls, Ware & West Springfield.

Tuesday, April 18, 10am-2pm
STEM/ASTRONOMY
Constellation viewers can help kids learn the shapes of constellations and know what to look for in the night sky. Families are invited to New England Air Museum to learn about the history of constellations and build their own constellation viewer out of paper materials. Constellations helped humans over time to learn about the movement of celestial bodies, through the discovery that what is visible in the night sky changes seasonally. This program is part of Spring Fling, two weeks of educational programming at the New England Air Museum. Check their website for full details. 860-623-330. 36 Perimeter Road. Windsor Locks, CT. (Adult $; Ages 4-11 <$; Members and ages 3 and under FREE)

Tuesday, April 18, 11am
ART STUDIES/CRAFTS
Have you and your child ever crafted with fusible beads? They are small, tube shaped beads that you place into formations. This type of bead allows for a great deal of creative, out-of-the-box thinking as kids get to make choices about color and shape. They’re also a great way for children to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Children ages five and up, and their caregivers, are invited to drop in and use fusible beads at the Granby Library. Participants can follow the designs or create their own! 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, April 18, 1pm-3pm
SERVICE-BASED LEARNING
April is National Volunteer Month! Engaging children in community service can increase their participation as future volunteers, helping to create more resilient and sustainable communities. Volunteering together with your children, you can model this behavior for them and have a fun, educational bonding experience as a family. At Hilltown Families Family Volunteer Day with Food Bank of Western Massachusetts there will be a number of educational and hands-on activities for children and their caregivers such as sorting and packaging food donations, decorating bags for the Brown Bag program, learning about nutrition, touring the warehouse, and more. Kids of all ages are welcome. Registration is required and fills up fast! Register on the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts website. 413-247-9738 ext. 135. 97 North Hatfield Road. Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Tuesday, April 18, 7pm
POETRY
April is National Poetry Month! You can expand your knowledge and appreciation for poetry by attending the Poetry Cafe at Westhampton Public Library. Bring one of your favorite poems, or one you’ve written, to read. Attending this event is a great way to find new poets whose work you haven’t yet explored. Some local, published poets have been invited to attend and read. All ages are welcome to bring a poem to this cafe night. There will be desserts and warm beverages. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, April 18, 7pm
POETRY/FILM STUDIES
History has shown time and time again that art and social justice go hand in hand. Sonia Sanchez is both an award-winning poet and a social activist, writing in the name of black culture, civil rights, and women’s liberation since the 1960s. She was among the first writers to incorporate urban black English into poetry. She also fought for the inclusion of African American studies in university curricula. Learn more about her writing and her political impact by screening the 2015 documentary BaddDDD SONIA SANCHEZ (not rated) at Amherst Cinema. Sonia Sanchez will be present for this one time screening of the film! She will be joined in conversation with Dr. John H. Bracey, Jr., of the UMass Afro-American Studies Department. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Athol, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Cummington, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Erving, Granby, Greenfield, Huntington, Leverett, Monson, New Marlborough, North Adams, Northampton, Sheffield, Shelburne Falls, South Deerfield, Springfield, Turners Falls, Wendell, West Springfield, and Williamsburg.

Wednesday, April 19, 8am-10am
ORNITHOLOGY/GUIDED NATURE HIKE
Spring is in the air…and so are migratory birds! Beginner and expert bird watchers alike are invited to Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary to look for species of wood warblers, orioles, thrushes, and more, who make their temporary homes here in the warm months. Participants will walk through wetlands, meadows, and woodlands. During this weekly event participants will see how the ecology changes and different birds arrive over time. Please bring binoculars. This program is for adults and will be instructed by Pleasant Valley’s caretaker. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 19, 10am-12pm
AUTOMOTIVE
Touch A Truck events are a fun opportunity for youth interested in automobiles and how things work to get up close with cars, and meet members of the fire department. The Family Center’s annual Touch A Truck event offers youth the chance to explore large and small automobiles and get to know helpers in their communities, by climbing into big trucks, a police car, a fire truck and an ambulance. Families can meet local officials and kids can explore future careers! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 19, 10am-2pm
STEM/PHYSICS
Pinwheels, propellers, wind turbines, windmills- they all have a similar shape. Why? Symmetry is the scientific secret behind the movement of wind-powered tools and toys. Kids with an interest in physics and hands-on activities should come to the pinwheel make and take at New England Air Museum to learn more! This program is part of Spring Fling, two weeks of educational programming at the New England Air Museum. Check their website for full details. 860-623-330. 36 Perimeter Road. Windsor Locks, CT. (Adult $; Ages 4-11 <$; Members and ages 3 and under FREE)

Wednesday, April 19, 10am-4pm
LOCAL HISTORY/PlACEMAKING
Studying local history can make broad historical topics easier to envision and relate to. Holyoke has a rich industrial history and once served as the world’s largest paper manufacturer. This history can literally be seen through the design of the city, which was a planned industrial community and features rectangular street grids which are otherwise rare in New England. Children of all ages are invited to engage with local history by visiting Wistariahurst and perusing the Holyoke History Exhibit. Participants can also enjoy painting, clay art, mask making, board games, and card games throughout the day. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. ()

Wednesday, April 19, 10:30am-12pm
SINGING/ELDER CARE
There are innumerable reasons why music has a positive effect on individuals with dementia (Read more on the Alzheimers Foundation of America website). All kinds of music can lift our moods, and familiar music can stir up positive associations. Sharon Lazerson is leader of “The Off Key Chorale,” a daily singing group for people with dementia and their friends and companions. She will be bringing the joy of music to the Mason Library with show tunes, great American standards, classic folk songs, and anything else participants might choose. Please register. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 19, 1pm-2pm
YOGA
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice which dates back to the fifth century BC and originates in India. Why has yoga become such a globally widespread, popular activity? Yoga can help you build your physical strength and flexibility, connect you to the present moment, and relieve stress. No matter what you wish to get out of your yoga practice, attending a beginner’s course is a great way to get started. The Storrs Library is offering a beginner’s yoga class on. This class will get you started with basic poses and also teach you how to use the online lesson streaming service Hoopla so you can continue this practice from home. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 19, 1pm-4pm
ART STUDIES/DRAWING
Trips to museums can bring out your creative side by showing you a wide range of contemporary or historic art styles. The Clark Art Institute is offering visitors a chance to build their drawing skills, gaining inspiration from the current exhibition and engaging in activities. Visitors can pick up a complimentary sketch pad for drawing in the galleries, self-portrait studio, or figure drawing workshop. The special exhibition Looking North and South features some of the Renaissance’s most famous artists. Improve your drawing abilities by looking, sketching, and learning! 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (Adults $; Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID FREE)

Wednesday, April 19, 3pm
ART STUDIES/DRAWING
Zentangle is a simple, structured method of drawing which relies on patterns. Learning how to draw these structures is a creative way to engage with geometry, as well as a relaxing hands-on activity. Zentangle drawing can be combined with a meditation practice or simply be a way of branching out your artwork. Youth ages five through twelve are invited to the Granby Library for a drawing session. The library will provide coloring tools, sheets, and instruction. 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 19, 4:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES/FAMILY MUSIC
Storytelling, as a performance art, can connect communities through oral histories and narratives which make us think. Davis Bates is a renowned local storyteller as well as a Parent’s Choice award winning singer. His intergenerational performances are highly participatory and educational. In this performance, “Under One Sky: songs and stories,” Davis will entertain families at the Dickinson Memorial Library and also provide a short lesson on how to play the musical spoons! Davis’ stories celebrate various cultures and teach children about our diverse and beautiful world. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, April 19, 5:30pm-7:30pm
ZOOLOGY/OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Salamanders are amphibians, relying on both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Some species of salamander share our local habitat. In early spring, you can find local woodland salamanders under logs, stones, and other objects, venturing out only in the cool moist of evenings. Experts Gayle Tardif-Raser and Dale Abrahams will be leading nature explorers around Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary to look for salamanders! Get acquainted with these fascinating creatures. This event is suitable for ages five and up. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (<$)

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Florence, Gill, Greenfield, Hatfield, Huntington, Lee, Lenox, Millers Falls, Montague, Northampton, Sheffield, South Hadley, and Turners Falls.

Thursday, April 20, 12pm-1:30pm
POETRY
Poetry often utilizes strong sensory details to help the reader to imagine a given scene or idea. Writing poetry can help you connect to the present moment and to the sometimes overlooked sensory details of life. Do you like to write poetry, or want to start writing but aren’t sure how? In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Renaissance Arts Center is offering an adult poetry writing workshop with guided prompts. Kateri Kosek will teach two sessions on April 20 and April 27. Participants are invited to attend one or both sessions. 413-528-9600. 420 Stockbridge Road #11. Great Barrington, MA. ($$)

Thursday, April 20, 1pm
STEM/ENGINEERING
Introduce your kids to engineering in a fun relaxed atmosphere, at a STEM storytime! The North Adams Family Center staff will team up with a North Adams Public Library youth librarian to offer stories about shapes and building, as well as themed activities. Build with shapes and blocks! Building activities engage kids creativity while allowing them to practice their fine motor skills. This program is appropriate for ages 2-8. 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, April 20, 6:30pm
AROMACHOLOGY/AROMATHERAPY
Essential oils and natural botanicals have an ancient history and continue to be used today. You can learn about the history of aromatherapy and explore the healing properties of essential oils and plants in this program at the Westhampton Public Library. Participants will create their own soap recipe, a beneficial scrub, and a fragrant dream pillow. You will be able to work with lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, orange, lemon peel, chamomile, rose and more. Call, visit, or email the library to register for this program. Space is limited. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, April 21, 7pm
LOCAL HISTORY   
Thurs., April 20, 2017, 7 pm
When Hadley was first settled in the 1660s, which included what is now Hatfield, it was mandated that property boundaries be marked with “meerstones” and earthen fences. Could it be that some of these  350-year-old artifacts have survived to this day? How about more than 100?  In the first public presentation of this startling discovery, Hidden in Plain Sight: Discovering the Meerstones of Olde Hadley, Bob Osley will describe his journey back to the 17th century in the meadows of Hatfield. Come learn and see what he found. Jointly sponsored by the Hatfield Historical Society and the Hadley Historical Society, to be held in the First Congregational Church of Hatfield. 41 Main St. Hatfield, MA (FREE) 

Thursday, April 21, 7pm-9pm
ENTOMOLOGY/SUSTAINABILITY
Thanks to environmental activists and concerned citizens, people are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that bee populations have been declining at a dangerous rate for more than a decade. Climate change has caused some plant and animal species to migrate, negatively affecting a once thriving habitat for bees. Why should humans work to prevent threats to bees? Potential endangerment of bee species could be devastating for many species since bees are the main pollinators for many fruits and nuts. One thing you can do to help local pollinators thrive is to attract them to your garden! Tom Sullivan will be at Great Falls Discovery Center teaching attendees how they can create a habitat for bees and make a positive impact. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Housatonic, Longmeadow, Monson, Northampton, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Stockbridge, and Sunderland.

Friday, April 21, 8am-10am
ORNITHOLOGY
Spring is in the air…and so are migratory birds! Beginner and expert bird watchers alike are invited to Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary to look for species of wood warblers, orioles, thrushes, and more, who make their temporary homes here in the warm months. Participants will walk through wetlands, meadows, and woodlands. During this weekly event participants will see how the ecology changes and different birds arrive over time. Please bring binoculars. This program is for adults and will be instructed by Noreen Mole – Sanctuary Volunteer and Hoffmann Bird Club leader. 413-637-0320. Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 21, 8am-4pm
SUSTAINABILITY
The annual Earth Day Festival at UMass Amherst will feature over 30 student, faculty, staff, and community groups, showcasing the work they do to increase sustainability and fight climate change on a community level and beyond. The festival will also include a farmer’s market, performance art, music, tie dye and more! The Earth Day celebration takes place in conjunction with UMass Amherst’s 1st Annual Green Commute Day, encouraging people to bike, walk, carpool or take public transit for the day. Come get inspired about the small changes you can make in your life to have a positive impact. Student Union North Lawn. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 21, 10am-2pm
STEM/ENGINEERING
LEGO activities can engage kids in problem solving and planning while helping them build their motor skills. Children ages 3-12 are invited to construct a futuristic flying machine using the New England Air Museum collection of LEGOs. Prizes will be awarded in three age categories, and winners need not be present to win. Visit the museum with your children to learn about aerospace science and history and engage in this fun, creative project. 860-623-330. 36 Perimeter Road. Windsor Locks, CT. (Adult $; Ages 4-11 <$; Members and ages 3 and under FREE)

Friday, April 21, 10:30am
EARTH DAY/SUSTAINABILITY
Planting seeds can teach kids about the values of patience and planning as they see their plants grow slowly over time. Gardening is a low-risk way for kids to learn the responsibility of caring for a living thing. For Earth Day at the Gaylord Memorial Library. children will learn about the ways in which their actions impact the environment, through stories and songs. If weather permits, participants will also plant seed balls behind the library. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 21, 11:30 to 1:20pm
ICE SKATING
Ice skating is a 3,000 year old sport and a New England family tradition! Whether indoors or outdoors, ice skating is a fun physical activity for kids and adults. Families are invited to skate at the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst on Fridays in March and April. Check the Mullins Center website for a full calendar and details. The Mullins Center rink accepts cash or check only. Governors Drive. Amherst, MA. (Child <$)

Friday, April 21, 12pm
POETRY
The pen is mightier than the sword, and social justice can be fought for in all genres. Martin Espada is a poet and essayist as well as an editor and translator. He uses his poetic voice to fight for social justice including Latino rights. His collections of poetry have been finalists for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. You can hear him read from his critically acclaimed poetry at Berkshire Community College.413-236-2103. Koussevitzky Arts Center, Boland Theatre. 1350 West Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 21, 1pm
LEGOs
This April vacation week, children ages four and up are invited to the Granby Library for a drop-in LEGO building session! LEGOs are an open-ended, classic toy which allow kids to practice their fine motor skills, learn cause and effect, and engage in creative free play. Come check out the library’s massive collection of LEGOs and build structures with other families! 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 21, 1pm-4pm
ECOLOGY/ZOOLOGY
In honor of Earth Day and as part of “Be River Smart Month,” visitors to the Berkshire Athenaeum can learn about local ecology and see live critters! Children and parents can see up-close many of the creatures who make their homes in our local waters. There will be other water-themed activities and stories. Kids can enter the water Olympics and make river-themed crafts. This program is best suited for ages six to twelve, and their caregivers. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 21, 3pm
ECOLOGY
Children are natural scientists and explorers. They can learn a great deal about the world around them simply by observing backyard habitats, collecting rocks or identifying bugs. If your child is a naturally inquisitive explorer, he or she might be fascinated by vernal pools! These are temporary habitats which can be found this time of year. Dale Abrams of the Mass Audubon will present “Vernal Pools are cool,” an interactive slideshow, at the Adams Free Library. After attending this program you may want to keep the learning going by taking a nature walk and keeping an eye out for vernal pools. 413-743-8345. 92 Park Street. Adams, MA. (FREE)

Friday, April 21, 7pm
EDUCATION/THEATER
In the United States, college is a huge financial investment. The traditional education system is not right for everyone, and eighteen is a young age to make one of the biggest financial and practical decisions of a lifetime. Some people Smith College serves many students of non-traditional age. The Ada Comstock Scholars come to Smith College at the age of 24 or older, bringing added levels of experience, knowledge, and maturity and having a positive impact on the college’s culture. You can learn some of their stories by attending “The Ada Monologues,” a piece written and performed by Ada scholars and modeled structurally after Eve Ensler’s hit play, The Vagina Monologues. The production features humor, music, dance, and more. Graham Auditorium. Hillyer. 20 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)

Friday, April 21, 8pm-12am
PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT/DANCE
The Dance Spree, a local tradition since 1978, provides parents, children, and teenagers a safe, inclusive space to dance like no one’s watching! Come ready to boogie and remember the only rules: no alcohol, and no shoes! The Dance Spree encourages any kind of self-expression. There is no instruction and no one dance style. This is a great opportunity for intergenerational family bonding, or a parents’ night out alone. Dance is an integral part of every culture and one of the most fun ways to get exercise. 413-658-7011. 25 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Heath, Holyoke, Ludlow, Montague, Montgomery, Pelham, Rowe, Russell, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Ware, and Warwick Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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