5 Ways to Explore Science with the Summer Sun

Hands-On Sun Science

Summer gives sunshine – so use it for science! Utilizing summer sun can mean making the most of the long days, but the endless rays offered this time of year lend themselves to sunshine-based science projects. Whether studying they physical characteristics of the sun, like it’s core, solar flares or sunspots, orthe relationship between light and heat, examining evaporation, or exploring UV radiation, sun-based science is best when conducted during the sun’s brightest, warmest, and strongest time of year!

ABOUT THE SUN

Take your new found appreciation for our sun and conduct experiments at home that lead towards learning about science through the lens of the summer sun:  Read the rest of this entry »

Historical Learning through Swordfighting

Swords Opens Up Opportunities for Historical Learning

Are your children or teens interested in history? What about swordfighting? Learning about history can be extra engaging with an intersecting interest, especially one which can be active and participatory. Here are community-based resources to learn about history through an interest in sword-fighting, along with fencing classes, theater and film: Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 25-29, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

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Suggested Events for July 23rd-29th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As someone new to the area, Hilltown Families has been a great source of information…I appreciate the balance of fun, community-service, and educational events discussed and promoted on the site. It is great to have a one-stop shop for this information!” – Laura Draucker (Amherst, 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.

Bulletin Board

Exploring educational options for your family? Check out Oak Meadow’s flexible, creative homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12, or enrollment in their teacher-supported distance learning school. The K-8 curriculum is child-centered, experiential, playful, and nature-based. High School offers challenging courses, exciting options for earning credit, and college counseling for teens who wish to pursue their passions and interests while earning their diploma. And for parents new to homeschooling, Oak Meadow offers a new online teacher training program, Foundations in Independent Learning. Ready to make a change this fall? Visit Oak Meadow’s website to learn more: www.oakmeadow.com.

Fridays Jul 15 – Aug 16

Shabbat Shabloom! Fridays at 10 am on Abundance Farm in Northampton. End the week with a joyful morning of music and movement with Felicia Sloin and Amy Meltzer – especially for ages 0-5. Tour the farm, sample what’s in season, and take flowers home for Shabbat. Every Friday morning at 10 am until the end of August. First visit free, suggested donation of $5/family thereafter. All are welcome. Abundance Farm is located at Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect Street in Northampton, across the street from the YMCA. For more information, contact Amy@abundancefarm.org or join the Shabbat Shabloom! facebook group.

Jul 23 & 30

Join Enchanted Circle Theater and The Trustees at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington for a unique living history experience! A Fiery and Still Voice: William Cullen Bryant at Home is a site-based history play where past and present converge to bring the Homestead to life! This is a play about love, passion and social justice. Performances are at 11am, 12pm and 1pm on Saturday, July 23rd and Saturday July 30th rain or shine. Please wear comfortable walking shoes as the audience travels through several rooms in the house as well as outdoors. Nineteen shows are scheduled throughout the summer and early fall. Tickets are limited, so be sure to reserve in advance at www.thetrustees.org.

July 26

Meet The Cat in the Hat and Things 1 and 2 at the Springfield Museums’ “Celebrate Seuss Day” on Tuesday July 26 (10am-2pm)! The many FREE activities scheduled that day include balloon sculpting, face painting, plus performances by the Boston Circus Guild. The Cat is coming to make a major announcement at 10am that Seuss fans won’t want to miss! It’s all part of the Summer Spectacular Family Series, with great family entertainment, live animal demos, and fun art and science activities every weekday through August 12th. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 30

The Fab Faux returns to The Mahaiwe Performing Art Center in Great Barrington on Saturday, July 30 at 8pm! With a commitment to the accurate reproduction of Beatles`classics, The Fab Faux are known for their painstaking recreations of the songs – with emphasis on the later works never performed live by the Beatles. Imagine hearing complex material like “Strawberry Fields Forever” or “I Am the Walrus” performed in complete part-perfect renditions; or such harmony-driven songs as “Nowhere Man”, and “Paperback Writer”, reproduced only note-for-note! For tickets, call the box office at 413-528-0100 or go online at www.mahaiwe.org/TheFabFaux.

Jul 30

Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold a Fire Truck Show on Saturday, July 30th. This is your opportunity to get up close and personal with all aspects of the firefighting industry including over twenty fire trucks to view. During your visit you will also learn more about the Fire Truck Museum collection along with local Fire Departments equipment & vehicles. Don’t miss your opportunity to sit in a real fire trucks, try on fireman’s turnout gear, watch fire hose demonstrations, maneuver through a kid’s maze using a fire hose and take home a souvenir fire hat. For the convenience of all, food and refreshments will be available for purchase. CTM is located in East Windsor, CT. For more info visit ct-trolley.org or call 860-627-6540.

Sep 25

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its sixth year on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by riding in this fun event as an individual or forming a team with your friends, family and coworkers. With 4 routes to choose from (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles), riders of all ages can get involved. There’ll be music, food, beverages, games and more. Last year’s event raised $100,000 to help feed our neighbors in need. You can make this year’s event even more successful. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Jul 9 – Aug 13

Summer Entertainment Series at the South Hadley Village Commons: Saturdays at 10:30am, July 9th-August 13th. For a lively Saturday morning full of music, magic, and lots of fun, visit the Village Commons in South Hadley! Performances run throughout the summer, beginning July 9th, and include Tom Ricardi and his birds of prey, Trevor the Games Man, music from Roger Tincknell and Dorothy Cresswell, and magic by Ed the Wizard and Ed Popielarczyk! These hour-long events are free and held outdoors in the courtyard in front of the Odyssey Bookshop. In case of rain, entertainment will be held inside the bookstore. For a detailed schedule, call the Odyssey at 413-534-7307, or visit their website, odysseybks.com!

Jul 22-24 & 29-30

It’s the greatest sports story of all time! Welcome to The International Raceway. Our contestants: The Tortoise—PaintBox Theatre newcomer Michael King vs. The Hare—PaintBox favorite and Valley icon Kelsey Flynn. Yes, Kelsey’s coming out of retirement! She is dusting off her rabbit ears and hopping into the race. We promise lots of cheering and excitement as we present this folktale dash for glory. Performances are Fri. July 22, 7pm, Sat.-Sun. July 23 and 24, 10:30am & 1pm at the Williston Theatre in Easthampton, and Fri. July 29, 7pm, Sat. July 30, 10:30am & 1pm at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Jul 26

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, July 26th at 3pm: Improv Workshop with Lisa Papademetriou, Molly B. Burnham, and Heidi Hass. For lots of laughs and plenty of fun, join local authors Lisa Papademetriou and Molly B. Burnham and improv extraordinaire Heidi Hass for a workshop that will make you a master of improv! A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of related book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 6 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Jul 30

Celebrate the eighth Harry Potter book with a Hogwarts Reunion and Midnight Book Release Party at Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA! On Saturday, July 30th, at 10pm, The Odyssey Bookshop, seller of fine wizarding books and wares, is delighted to welcome all wizard- and muggle-folk for a special reunion and Midnight celebration of the latest book about the life of one of Hogwarts’s most famous alumnus, Harry Potter class of ’98! Enjoy participating in a costume contest, browse wands at Ollivander’s, pose at the photobooth, sample some of Harry’s birthday cake (he’s turning 36), and much more! RSVPs are required! Visit http://bit.ly/1sJ8fDb to register, preorder the book, and view an activity list!

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, 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
July 23-29, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Web-Based Space Explorations Blast Off Through NASA Kids’ Club

Web-Based Space Explorations Blast Off Through NASA Kids’ Club

Offering a wealth of space-based information presented in a playful way, NASA’s online Kids’ Club presents opportunities for studies of a fascinating yet largely inaccessible realm. Relevant for most ages and easy to use, the Kids’ Club can be a great resource for space enthusiasts!

Space is a fascinating place, and a big part of its appeal is the fact that it’s just out of reach for most human beings. While curious kids aren’t very likely to be able to visit space anytime soon, NASA offers a kid-friendly online space filled with information about the many different missions, projects, and technologies that the organization is responsible for – allowing aspiring astronauts to learn about the ways in which humans research and explore the vast wilderness that is outer space.

The NASA Kids’ Club is an easy to use portal that connects kids to a wealth of information in many forms. The Kids’ Club offers everything from printable games and coloring pages to detailed descriptions of specific aircraft and their uses. Highlights of the website include a section dedicated to NASA’s current and recent missions and a photo gallery filled with images of the many people involved in NASA’s programs at work on a variety of tasks. Smaller sections within the site offer a look at nutrition and menu planning in space, the locations and inhabitants (both human and nonhuman) of NASA center’s across the country, the reasons behind the exploration that NASA guides, and the difference in time and gravity on each of the planets in our solar system.

Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Molly Bang’s “Nobody Particular: One Woman’s Fight to Save the Bays”

Literary Guide for Molly Bang’s Nobody Particular: One Woman’s Fight to Save the Bays

Diane Wilson was always a strong woman. She made a living as a shrimper while raising five children, and relied on her own resilience and pure grit in order to raise her family. In 1989, shrimp became scarce in the bays of her hometown in Calhoun County, Texas. Diane worried about the size of her catch, and the future of the shrimp population in Texas’ bays. What would happen to the industry if the shrimp died out? How would she support her family?

Diane’s concerns turned into action when she learned about a connection between the lack of shrimp and the monstrous plastics manufacturing plants that dotted the coastline of her home county. At the time (1989), her county was responsible for over half of the state’s pollution – and it wasn’t just killing the shrimp. Diane saw the effects that the plants had all around her – in the local landscape and within the human community, too. And much to her horror, the companies causing environmental destruction and human health problems were not only being allowed to do so, they were about to be allowed to expand without any consideration of the environment impact that expansion would have.

Read the rest of this entry »

Support Art Studies this Summer with Community Classes and Art Exhibits

9 Summer Opportunities for Art Studies

To find a gallery exhibition which interests you, check out our post, Visual Art in Western MA: July Openings, Closings & Calls for Art. Glass sculptures, paintings, drawings, and fiber art can all be found throughout the Pioneer Valley this month.

In addition to gallery and museum exhibits for supporting art studies, classes and workshops are being offered this summer at several of our best community resources across the region, including the William Cullen Bryant Homstead in Cummington, Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, the Springfield Museums in Springfield and even Eastworks in Easthampton. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 18-22, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Save

Suggested Events for July 16th-27th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I check in with Hilltown Families a few times a week, whether it’s the list of Suggested Events or Newsletter. It’s such a fascinating look at what the Valley has to offer in terms of fun, learning and adventure for my family and I! I would miss out on a lot of events and happenings in the small towns throughout the region without HF. Our community should support this megaphone for the small, and magnifying glass of the interesting in our towns.” – Alice Rich Lewis (Florence, 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.

Bulletin Board

Jul 14 Jul 21 Jul 28 Aug 4

The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) presents 4 Free Concerts in beautiful Kendrick Park for four consecutive Thursdays. July 14 starts the series with World Music by The Pangeans & The Alchemystics, July 21 is Lord Russ & Grammy-winning Children’s Performer Mister G, July 28 is Sprit Ghost & Carinae and August 4 is Salvation Alley String Band & Llama Lasagne. Concerts run from 5:30-8pm. Order take-out from our diverse and delicious downtown cafes and restaurants and enjoy the show in the park. Bertucci’s offers Free Delivery to the Park. For more info: www.amherstdowntown.com

Fridays Jul 15 – Aug 16

Shabbat Shabloom! Fridays at 10 am on Abundance Farm in Northampton. End the week with a joyful morning of music and movement with Felicia Sloin and Amy Meltzer – especially for ages 0-5. Tour the farm, sample what’s in season, and take flowers home for Shabbat. Every Friday morning at 10 am until the end of August. First visit free, suggested donation of $5/family thereafter. All are welcome. Abundance Farm is located at Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect Street in Northampton, across the street from the YMCA. For more information, contact Amy@abundancefarm.org or join the Shabbat Shabloom! facebook group.

Jul 22 & 23

Paul Taylor Dance Company performs at The Mahaiwe Performing Art Center in Great Barrington on Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23rd – featuring 3 New England Premieres and a $20 per FAMILY Saturday matinee! One of the seminal artists of our time, Paul Taylor continues to shape the homegrown American art of modern dance that he has helped define since becoming a professional dancer and pioneering choreographer in 1954. For tickets, call the box office at 413-528-0100 or go online at www.mahaiwe.org/Dance.

Sep 25

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event is returning for its sixth year on Sunday, Sept. 25 in Hatfield. You can pedal towards a hunger free community by riding in this fun event as an individual or forming a team with your friends, family and coworkers. With 4 routes to choose from (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles), riders of all ages can get involved. There’ll be music, food, beverages, games and more. Last year’s event raised $100,000 to help feed our neighbors in need. You can make this year’s event even more successful. Early bird registration ends Aug. 31. To register, or to learn more about WB4F, visit their website at willbike4food.org.

Jul 9 – Aug 13

Summer Entertainment Series at the South Hadley Village Commons: Saturdays at 10:30am, July 9th-August 13th. For a lively Saturday morning full of music, magic, and lots of fun, visit the Village Commons in South Hadley! Performances run throughout the summer, beginning July 9th, and include Tom Ricardi and his birds of prey, Trevor the Games Man, music from Roger Tincknell and Dorothy Cresswell, and magic by Ed the Wizard and Ed Popielarczyk! These hour-long events are free and held outdoors in the courtyard in front of the Odyssey Bookshop. In case of rain, entertainment will be held inside the bookstore. For a detailed schedule, call the Odyssey at 413-534-7307, or visit their website, odysseybks.com!

Jul 16

On Saturday, July 16, the Emily Dickinson Museum will present its annual 19th Century Children’s Circus from 1 to 4 pm on the Museum lawn. Especially perfect for children ages 3 to 10 (accompanied by adults), the cost is $5 per family, with free admission for Museum members. The Circus will feature performances and storytelling by TheatreTruck, a visit from The Goat Girls, a juggling workshop, a reading with author Burleigh Muten and her students, face-painting, 19th-century playthings such as stilts and balance beams, “mini” tours of Emily Dickinson’s bedroom ($1/ticket), gingerbread treats from “Miss Emily” herself and lowered from her bedroom window, crafts, and more. For all the details, visit www.EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org/circus2016.

Jul 16 – 17

July 16-17, 2016. Spirit Houses and Woodland Wonders – Fun for the entire family at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield! Build a spirit or fairy house along the Village’s winding Farm and Forest Trail. Create a spirit drawing inspired by Hancock’s premier collection of Shaker gift drawings. Explore the house-like sculptures of artist Robert Hite. Join their “Parade of the Spirits,” with HSV farm animals and dancers from Cantarella School of Dance. Enjoy special activities in the Discovery Barn. Included in regular admission (children 12 and under on family visits are always free). Hancock Shaker Village is located at 1843 West Housatonic Street. For a complete schedule, visit www.hancockshakervillage.org or call 413-443-0188.

Jul 19

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, July 19th at 3pm: Color Tamer Masks with author/illustrator Julia Denos. Amazing Boston-area author and illustrator Julia Denos will teach campers how to make their very own color tamer masks, based on her book Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color! A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of the book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 4 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Jul 20-23 Aug 3-6

New Century Theatre Kids presents A Year with Frog and Toad book and lyrics by Willie Reale, music by Robert Reale. Join NCTKids this summer for a tuneful re-telling of Arthur Lobel’s beloved classic children’s books Frog and Toad. Follow best friends–worrywart Toad and confident Frog–as they sing and dance their way through a year in the swamp with all their hopping, crawling, flying friends. All the gentle joy and fun of Lobel’s books come to life in this charming musical for kids of all ages! Directed by Cate Damon with Musical Direction by Mitch Chakour. July 20-23 & August 3-6 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Northampton. Call the box office for tickets: 413-585-3220. www.newcenturytheatre.org

Jul 22-24 & 29-30

It’s the greatest sports story of all time! Welcome to The International Raceway. Our contestants: The Tortoise—PaintBox Theatre newcomer Michael King vs. The Hare—PaintBox favorite and Valley icon Kelsey Flynn. Yes, Kelsey’s coming out of retirement! She is dusting off her rabbit ears and hopping into the race. We promise lots of cheering and excitement as we present this folktale dash for glory. Performances are Fri. July 22, 7pm, Sat.-Sun. July 23 and 24, 10:30am & 1pm at the Williston Theatre in Easthampton, and Fri. July 29, 7pm, Sat. July 30, 10:30am & 1pm at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Jul 30

Celebrate the eighth Harry Potter book with a Hogwarts Reunion and Midnight Book Release Party at Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA! On Saturday, July 30th, at 10pm, The Odyssey Bookshop, seller of fine wizarding books and wares, is delighted to welcome all wizard- and muggle-folk for a special reunion and Midnight celebration of the latest book about the life of one of Hogwarts’s most famous alumnus, Harry Potter class of ’98! Enjoy participating in a costume contest, browse wands at Ollivander’s, pose at the photobooth, sample some of Harry’s birthday cake (he’s turning 36), and much more! RSVPs are required! Visit http://bit.ly/1sJ8fDb to register, preorder the book, and view an activity list!

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, 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
July 16-22, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

3D Printing Resources at Local Libraries Supporting STE(A)M

3D Printers as Community-Based Resource

3D printing, a type of industrial robot which can synthesize three dimensional objects for a variety of purposes, is one of the most exciting technological, scientific, and creative innovations of recent years. Local libraries and other learning centers have begun to support an interest in engineering, technology, and creativity by housing 3D printers and providing demonstrations of the technology. 3D printers can be incorporating into makerspaces (read more in our post, Maker Spaces: Community-Based Opportunities to Think, Make, Do, Learn and Share!) or they can stand alone as a resource.

There are several upcoming opportunities for families to learn about and utilize this new technology their your own projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

Summertime Sensory Resources in Western MA

Sensory Experiences in Summer

Summer, a time of hiking, biking, camping, and swimming, can be a joyful time. For children sensitive to sensory integration, however, it can be an overwhelming season full of stimulation. Children, in general, are highly sensitive. Some seek out stimulation and some limit it. Luckily, here in western MA there are inclusive resources and activities for both sensory-seeking and sensory-limiting children and their families.

MUSEUMS

Children who love sensory input will most likely have a great time at one of the many Western Massachusetts museums, including the Springfield Museums, Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield and the Holyoke Children’s Museum.  Read the rest of this entry »

10 Messy Summer Science Activities for Outside!

One of the best ways to engage in hands-on science learning is by simply messing about. When children’s play leads them to make observations about the things around them and the ways in which they interact with each other, they learn powerful lessons that they’ll remember for years to come. Luckily the time of year messy science learning can be done outdoors! Below are ten suggestions for hands-on science activities that families can engage in both to learn about a specific topic and to encourage self-directed “messing about” with safe science materials once formal experimentation has been done.  Read the rest of this entry »

Community Resources Support Interests in Animals, Insects, Fish and More!

Support an Interest in Zoology with Community-Based Resources

Seeking out animals in farms, shelters, zoos, museums, libraries, and your own backyard opens up a world of learning

Directly engaging with animals provide direct ways of learning about biology, habitat, ecology, and other scientific disciplines. Reading or hearing about animals is useful, but actually seeing them upclose is invaluable. Many kids are fascinated by animals- their appearance, their behavior, the way they interact.

For parents of animal lovers, this interest is a ripe opportunity for education via community-base resources and events. Taxonomy, the scientific grouping of biological organisms, is complex. Classes of animal species often encompass their own branch of biology. Kids who collect bugs are budding entomologists, while bird watchers are junior ornithologists. And the great thing about animal studies is that it also strengthens a sense of place, connecting us with animals and habitat that surround us everyday.

Here are a few community-based resources to support an interest and education in zoology, biology and entomology:  Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Contest in the Berkshires Celebrates a Sense of Place

Story Slam at the Clark Art Institute Celebrates a Sense of Place

Stone Hill is a prominent geological formation at the heart of the Clark’s campus.

Celebrating the Clark Art Institute’s current exhibit, Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill, a community story slam will coincide on Friday, July 22 at 7pm. Community members are invited to The Clark in Williamstown to hear and tell stories that center around the topic of place.  Stories about the place called home, a particularly meaningful place, or moments of feeling in place, out of place, or displaced are all welcome at this community story slam

On the evening of the event, names of those interested in sharing place-related stories are chosen at random, and those selected are invited to tell their stories up to five minutes in duration. A panel of judges provides feedback and prizes are awarded.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 11-15, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Save

Suggested Events for July 9th-15th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“We try to go to at least one of the Hilltown Families recommended events each weekend to keep our son experiencing new, educational, and community oriented experiences. Hilltown Families supports my interests in education through community engagement by providing a network of families with similar interests in the same area…a sense of belonging to a group that supports my goals and interests.” – Yi-Lo Yu (Southampton, 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.

Bulletin Board

Jul 4 – Aug 7

The 25th Annual Ko Festival of Performance, July 4-August 7. KoFest is celebrating 25 Years of Summer Theater in Amherst with five weeks of original & compelling theatre for teens and adults, including a Gala Cabaret and a KoFest Story Slam & Party. Plus a one-time family event, The Little Farm Show, a musical extravaganza about farming, food, and the environment, on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn. Also 3 intensive workshop weeks for adults: “Dynamic Space/Poetic Object: Scenic Design, “First Person: Crafting Your Story for Performance” and “Solo Performance.” All on the Amherst College campus. Tickets $8-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. For info, visit kofest.com The Ko Festival, where the only certainty is surprise!

Jul 5 – Aug 12

Great family entertainment, live animal demos, and fun art and science activities every weekday. It’s the Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums, July 5th through August 12th. Enjoy puppet shows every Friday by the Tanglewood Marionettes, performances by The Yo-Yo People and Mr. Vinny the Bubbly Guy, plus planetarium shows and special exhibits like The Scoop on Poop. Fight Summer Slide at the Springfield Museums! For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 14 Jul 21 Jul 28 Aug 4

The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) presents 4 Free Concerts in beautiful Kendrick Park for four consecutive Thursdays. July 14 starts the series with World Music by The Pangeans & The Alchemystics, July 21 is Lord Russ & Grammy-winning Children’s Performer Mister G, July 28 is Sprit Ghost & Carinae and August 4 is Salvation Alley String Band & Llama Lasagne. Concerts run from 5:30-8pm. Order take-out from our diverse and delicious downtown cafes and restaurants and enjoy the show in the park. Bertucci’s offers Free Delivery to the Park. For more info: www.amherstdowntown.com

Jul 8-10 & 15-16

PaintBox Theatre kicks off the summer with Linda Tardif as Raggedy Ann, the living doll. Eight stories folded into one big production? Why not? But if Linda is Ann, who will play the dozens of additional characters? No problem: Myka Plunkett and Connor Paradis can do it all! With costume changes galore, we are certainly in for a wild time. They may even draft members of the audience to help. Performances are Fri. July 8, 7pm, Sat.-Sun. July 9 and 10, 10:30am & 1pm at the Williston Theatre in Easthampton, and Fri. July 15, 7:00 pm, Sat. July 16, 10:30am & 1pm at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Season Tickets: $24. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Jul 9 – Aug 13

Summer Entertainment Series at the South Hadley Village Commons: Saturdays at 10:30am, July 9th-August 13th. For a lively Saturday morning full of music, magic, and lots of fun, visit the Village Commons in South Hadley! Performances run throughout the summer, beginning July 9th, and include Tom Ricardi and his birds of prey, Trevor the Games Man, music from Roger Tincknell and Dorothy Cresswell, and magic by Ed the Wizard and Ed Popielarczyk! These hour-long events are free and held outdoors in the courtyard in front of the Odyssey Bookshop. In case of rain, entertainment will be held inside the bookstore. For a detailed schedule, call the Odyssey at 413-534-7307, or visit their website, odysseybks.com!

Jul 12

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday July 12th at 3pm: Animal Collages with author/illustrator Micha Archer. Campers will create collages of an animal they love in its habitat with Micha Archer, awesome local author and illustrator of Daniel Finds a Poem. A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of the book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 4 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Jul 16

On Saturday, July 16, the Emily Dickinson Museum will present its annual 19th Century Children’s Circus from 1 to 4 pm on the Museum lawn. Especially perfect for children ages 3 to 10 (accompanied by adults), the cost is $5 per family, with free admission for Museum members. The Circus will feature performances and storytelling by TheatreTruck, a visit from The Goat Girls, a juggling workshop, a reading with author Burleigh Muten and her students, face-painting, 19th-century playthings such as stilts and balance beams, “mini” tours of Emily Dickinson’s bedroom ($1/ticket), gingerbread treats from “Miss Emily” herself and lowered from her bedroom window, crafts, and more. For all the details, visit www.EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org/circus2016.

Jul 16 – 17

July 16-17, 2016. Spirit Houses and Woodland Wonders – Fun for the entire family at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield! Build a spirit or fairy house along the Village’s winding Farm and Forest Trail. Create a spirit drawing inspired by Hancock’s premier collection of Shaker gift drawings. Explore the house-like sculptures of artist Robert Hite. Join their “Parade of the Spirits,” with HSV farm animals and dancers from Cantarella School of Dance. Enjoy special activities in the Discovery Barn. Included in regular admission (children 12 and under on family visits are always free). Hancock Shaker Village is located at 1843 West Housatonic Street. For a complete schedule, visit www.hancockshakervillage.org or call 413-443-0188.

Jul 20-23 Aug 3-6

New Century Theatre Kids presents A Year with Frog and Toad book and lyrics by Willie Reale, music by Robert Reale. Join NCTKids this summer for a tuneful re-telling of Arthur Lobel’s beloved classic children’s books Frog and Toad. Follow best friends–worrywart Toad and confident Frog–as they sing and dance their way through a year in the swamp with all their hopping, crawling, flying friends. All the gentle joy and fun of Lobel’s books come to life in this charming musical for kids of all ages! Directed by Cate Damon with Musical Direction by Mitch Chakour. July 20-23 & August 3-6 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Northampton. Call the box office for tickets: 413-585-3220. www.newcenturytheatre.org

Jul 30

Celebrate the eighth Harry Potter book with a Hogwarts Reunion and Midnight Book Release Party at Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA! On Saturday, July 30th, at 10pm, The Odyssey Bookshop, seller of fine wizarding books and wares, is delighted to welcome all wizard- and muggle-folk for a special reunion and Midnight celebration of the latest book about the life of one of Hogwarts’s most famous alumnus, Harry Potter class of ’98! Enjoy participating in a costume contest, browse wands at Ollivander’s, pose at the photobooth, sample some of Harry’s birthday cake (he’s turning 36), and much more! RSVPs are required! Visit http://bit.ly/1sJ8fDb to register, preorder the book, and view an activity list!

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, 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
July 9-15, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Ruins Reveals Local History and Culture

Exploring Ruins Reveals Local History and Culture

Eyrie House Hotel

Scattered throughout western Massachusetts are remnants of the homes, industries, and culture of the past. Historic buildings line our downtown neighborhoods, stone walls crisscross the now forested hills, and old mill buildings have found new, modern uses. In addition to the still-visible, preserved and/or re-purposed signs of the past are a handful of ruins, speaking volumes about the human history surrounding both their creation and their eventual demise. By safely exploring the ruins of local fame, families can explore local history and culture as a microcosm of national history and culture. Additionally, explorations of such areas can illuminate the ways in which nature eventually reclaims land, no matter what has been placed in its way.  Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Athletics and Sports History Through Community-Based Resources

Exploring Athletics and Sports History Through Community-Based Resources

Western Massachusetts is known for a great many things, but sports aren’t generally one of them. Nevertheless, the region is filled with opportunities to learn about (and participate in!) sports of all kinds. Western Massachusetts can claim itself as the birthplace of at least two sports played worldwide, is home to a handful of semi-professional teams, and offers opportunities for youth to explore athletics of all kinds. Local families can even find ways to explore sports and sports history through the arts! From spectator opportunities and museum visits to full-on participation, sports-related learning opportunities exist locally all year round.

In terms of sports fame, the area is probably best known as the official birthplace of both volleyball and basketball. Springfield’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a landmark in the city, and honors the city’s claim to fame as home of basketball and its inventor, James Naismith. Created in 1891 in order to offer athletes an exciting and physically challenging indoor sport, basketball is now internationally known and loved. The Basketball Hall of Fame itself includes thousands of square feet of basketball history exhibits, as well as a 300+ member hall of fame commemorating the contributions and achievements of notable players, coaches, and others who’ve been a part of the sport.

A few years after basketball’s invention, volleyball was created in Holyoke – pitched then as a sport offering excitement similar to that of basketball but slightly less physical intensity. The International Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke spotlights the sport’s history and local roots, as well as exceptional players from the nearly century and a quarter that the sport has existed. Visitors can learn about the 125 people from 21 countries whose accomplishments have been significant within volleyball history, and can also view exhibits that offer a glimpse at the evolution and international growth of the sport.

Read the rest of this entry »

Community-Based Organizations & Workshops to Support Coding for All Ages

Organizations and Workshops to Support Coding for All Ages

Some educators in the field of computer science have taken up the motto that, “Coding is the new literacy.” Programming languages, the logic used to build tools such as websites and video games, do have similarities with the written word. Once you learn to read and write code, new avenues of understanding and building emerge. Knowledge of programming languages and can turn people from users and consumers to creators. Thankfully, there are several Western MA organizations and spaces which support this “new literacy.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Service-Based Learning at The Food Bank of Western MA Supports Neighbors in need

Volunteers play critical role in feeding our neighbors in need

Volunteers from Amerprise visited The Food Bank to help sort, inspect and pack food for distribution.

Volunteers play critical role in feeding our neighbors in need
Each year, dozens of local farms collaborate with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to donate thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. From carrots, to potatoes, to apples and squash, our local farmers are working hard to support our vision of a region where everyone has access to healthy food.

Last harvest season, local farms donated more than 452,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to The Food Bank. We distributed all of that healthy food to our member agencies in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties. We were also able to distribute that produce through our Brown Bag: Food for Elders program (which served 7,893 seniors last year) and our Mobile Food Bank (providing food to more than 22,000 people).  Read the rest of this entry »

4th of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western MA

4th of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western MA for 2016

From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of Fourth of July celebrations happening in Western MA!  To follow is a preview of events, parades & fireworks happening to celebrate the 4th of July for 2016. Please take the time to confirm events you wish to attend, including time, place, age appropriateness, location and costs before attending.   Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 4-8, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Save

Suggested Events for July 2nd-8th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Community engagement and socialization are so important for youth to gain experiences that will enrich their souls. Hilltown Families is an essential tool for our family, as we are able to get the highlights and happenings in the valley. Without it, we’d have a whole lot more research to do that would take time out of our schedule giving us less opportunity to enjoy some of the fantastic activities we’ve learned about with Hilltown Families.” – Tara Palmer Finn (Springfield, 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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

70 summer camps & programs in and around western MA to choose from this year!

Check out our featured post, 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, arts & crafts, wilderness adventures, dance, performance art, farming, rock climbing, STEM, pre-college, sports, theater… to good old traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens!

Bulletin Board

Jul 4 – Aug 7

The 25th Annual Ko Festival of Performance, July 4-August 7. KoFest is celebrating 25 Years of Summer Theater in Amherst with five weeks of original & compelling theatre for teens and adults, including a Gala Cabaret and a KoFest Story Slam & Party. Plus a one-time family event, The Little Farm Show, a musical extravaganza about farming, food, and the environment, on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn. Also 3 intensive workshop weeks for adults: “Dynamic Space/Poetic Object: Scenic Design, “First Person: Crafting Your Story for Performance” and “Solo Performance.” All on the Amherst College campus. Tickets $8-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. For info, visit kofest.com The Ko Festival, where the only certainty is surprise!

Jul 5 – Aug 12

Great family entertainment, live animal demos, and fun art and science activities every weekday. It’s the Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums, July 5th through August 12th. Enjoy puppet shows every Friday by the Tanglewood Marionettes, performances by The Yo-Yo People and Mr. Vinny the Bubbly Guy, plus planetarium shows and special exhibits like The Scoop on Poop. Fight Summer Slide at the Springfield Museums! For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Preschool Openings at The Common School in Amherst. What is the best way to insure a quality education for your child? Invest in it early. The Common School provides the foundation for life-long learning by emphasizing how to learn. Experiential activities, a strong social curriculum, environmental awareness and imagination are hallmarks of our pre-school program- paving the way for strong academic success. Openings for 3-5 year olds for Fall 2016. Call for a tour 413-256-8989 and visit their website www.commonschool.org.

Jul 5

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, July 5th at 3pm: Cupcake Decorating. Get creative and enjoy a tasty treat! The Odyssey returns with their most popular event of the summer! Frost and decorate your cupcake in your favorite color or in a rainbow explosion! A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of related book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 5 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Jul 8-10 & 15-16

PaintBox Theatre kicks off the summer with Linda Tardif as Raggedy Ann, the living doll. Eight stories folded into one big production? Why not? But if Linda is Ann, who will play the dozens of additional characters? No problem: Myka Plunkett and Connor Paradis can do it all! With costume changes galore, we are certainly in for a wild time. They may even draft members of the audience to help. Performances are Fri. July 8, 7pm, Sat.-Sun. July 9 and 10, 10:30am & 1pm at the Williston Theatre in Easthampton, and Fri. July 15, 7:00 pm, Sat. July 16, 10:30am & 1pm at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Season Tickets: $24. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

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, 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
July 2-8, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Visual Art in Western MA: July Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
July Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Explore Western MA through the lens of visual art! Featured here are July art openings, closings & call for art at galleries, museums and public meeting places across the region, including: The Clark Museum, Schantz Galleries, Wistariahurst Museum, and Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum. Read the rest of this entry »

Invasive Species an Unlikely Catalyst for Community-Based Learning

Invasive Species an Unlikely Catalyst for Community-Based Learning

We’re unfortunately quite familiar with invasive species here in western Massachusetts. From the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer gnawing its way through every tasty tree in sight to Japanese knotweed crowding nearly every riverbank for miles around, invasive species have made our place their home… but how is it that this happens?

Though quite unwanted and dangerous to our fragile ecosystems, the numerous invasive species that have become part of the local landscape can serve as a community-based resource for learning. Through studies of local habitat, opportunities for citizen science, and targeted community service efforts, local families can use invasive species as a catalyst for building knowledge and cohesiveness both at home and in the community at large.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: June 27-July 1, 2016


Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

This summer, select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


See your banner here! Sponsor Learning Ahead!

Save

Suggested Events for June 25th- July 1st, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is THE best resource for activities for children and families in Western Mass, in my opinion! I have found that you have certain happenings on your page that I had not seen advertised anywhere else! That makes you my ‘go to’ resource! And I really like the areas you cover as well…I can find an activity in Greenfield, Deerfield, Westfield or Springfield…or anywhere on between! You also give very complete information on the events you are suggesting to your audience. What’s not to like? Hilltown Families is THE best!” – Christine Bray (Ludlow, 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.

Summer Camps in Western MA

Nearly 70 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from with new camps added every week!

Check out our featured post, 2016 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! Summer opportunities featured range from music, arts & crafts, wilderness adventures, dance, performance art, farming, rock climbing, STEM, pre-college, sports, theater… to good old 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

Preschool Openings at The Common School in Amherst. What is the best way to insure a quality education for your child? Invest in it early. The Common School provides the foundation for life-long learning by emphasizing how to learn. Experiential activities, a strong social curriculum, environmental awareness and imagination are hallmarks of our pre-school program- paving the way for strong academic success. Openings for 3-5 year olds for Fall 2016. Call for a tour 413-256-8989 and visit their website www.commonschool.org.

Jun 28

Camp Odyssey on Tuesday, June 28th at 3pm: Make Your Own Night Light. For campers young and old. Decorate a jar to make a beautiful night light or candle holder! A nonrefundable $5 supply fee per child or the purchase of the book (for up to 2 children) is required, as well as pre-registration at least 2 days prior to event. Events last for approximately (but not always) one hour. Minimum age is 5 years old. Younger children accepted if parents stay to assist. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St, South Hadley, MA. Call 413-534-7307 or email kids@odysseybks.com to sign up!

Smith College faculty member Alexandra Burgess, Ph.D., is recruiting families with children ages 8-12 to participate in a paid psychology study about children’s emotions, thinking styles, and problem solving abilities. Study activities are fun and interactive, including tasks such as solving a variety of puzzles, playing memory games, and writing about a favorite game. All caregiver-child pairs are encouraged to participate, and will earn $40 for their time. The study takes place on the Smith College campus, with free parking provided. Participation is also a great way to teach kids about the process of science! Please contact Dr. Burgess at childperfectionism@gmail.com or in her office at 413-585-3386 to find out more and schedule a time to come into the lab!

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, 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
June 25-July 1, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western Massachusetts

4th of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western MA for 2016

From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of Fourth of July celebrations happening in Western MA! Be sure to check out the Hilltown Families list of Weekly Suggested Events for a comprehensive list of family and community events happening in Western MA.

To follow is a preview of events, parades & fireworks happening to celebrate the 4th of July for 2016. Please take the time to confirm events you wish to attend, including time, place, age appropriateness, location and costs before attending.

Be sure to check out the Hilltown Families list of Weekly Suggested Events every Thursday for a comprehensive list of family and community events happening in Western MA.  Subscribe to our free eNewsletter and have weekly update sent to your inbox every Thursday! Read the rest of this entry »

Explore the Local Landscape and Local History with Hike 125

Explore the Local Landscape and Local History with Hike 125

Alongside camping, hiking stands as one of summer’s most classic family activities. The leafy canopy afforded to hikers on forest trails makes the woods a cool and inviting space to explore, and the potential for exploring nature at its greenest and liveliest is enticing for adventurers of any age. From short afternoon hikes to serious treks, the trails of western Massachusetts have much to offer adventurous families.

On top of the many benefits of hiking is an added bonus this summer, related specifically to local trails that are part of properties maintained by the Trustees of Reservations. To celebrate the organization’s 125th anniversary, the Trustees are holding the Hike 125 challenge, a celebratory event that challenges locals to hike 125 (or more) miles of the Trustees’ trails before December 31, 2016. In addition to a strong sense of accomplishment, heightened awareness of natural phenomena, stronger muscles, and a deepened sense of place, all participants attempting to rise to the challenge will be entered to win special prizes – with those who manage to hike at least 125 miles entered to win the best prizes of all.  Read the rest of this entry »

Local Nature Centers Connect Families to Nature Through Interpretive Programs

Local Nature Centers Connect Families to Nature Through Interpretive Programs

Photo credit: (c) Jessica Schultz; Hitchcock Center

Supporting families in learning about the local landscape, western Massachusetts nature centers serve as community resources for interpreting the educational value of the natural world. As local hubs for nature-based learning, nature centers add depth and breadth to visitors’ understanding of the natural world. Different from nature preserves and other public natural spaces, nature centers combine access to nature with interpretive programs and/or museum-like educational exhibits and displays so as to offer both experiential and structured learning experiences for visitors.  Read the rest of this entry »

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