Suggested Events for August 1st-7th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I am currently single parenting a child with special needs; recently separated & often feeling very isolated. Hilltown Families shares information that brings people together & opens up great discussions on ways to support one another; as well as stimulating entertainment within the community. Thank-you for being there for us!” – Sarah M. (Chicopee, 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

Aug 5-8

Ahoy there maties! The adventure starts with a mysterious map. Could X mark the spot for buried treasure? Add in pirates and a stranger and the plot thickens. Now you’re off to the high seas. Adventure, skullduggery, secrets, promises broken, and even a couple of laughs. Welcome to PaintBox Theatre’s Treasure Island—the adventure of a lifetime! Long John Silver ordered that you to come dressed as a pirate. (They need a crew!) Performances are Wednesday, August 5 – Saturday, August 8, 10:30am and 1:00pm. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Aug 6

Join us on Thursday, Aug 6 from 6-8pm for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Thursday, Aug 6 , 6-8pm, Potluck and Volunteer. (Bring your favorite dish to share.) Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Aug 8

Get your groove on! Hilltown Families & Flywheel are hosting a Saturday Block Party for Kids at Millside Park in Easthampton on August 8! DJ Youthelectronix will DJ a dance party (and if you’ve been to our winter dance parties, you know how much fun these are!), Robbins-Zust Family Marionettes will be performing the classic fairytale “Firebird,” and we’ll have juice boxes galore!!! This summertime family celebration is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to invite your neighbors to join us too! — Rain location: Flywheel.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your 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
August 1st-7th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

History, Culture & Community Can All Be Found at Western MA Agricultural Fairs

Agricultural Fairs Celebrate and Preserve Local Culture

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Agricultural fairs, primarily established by agricultural societies for the purpose of agriculture promotion, science and education, celebrate New England history and local culture in communities all over western Massachusetts throughout late summer and early fall.  These generations-old traditions of agriculture, self-sufficiency, and resiliency in rural communities afford families opportunities to participate in intergenerational community-based traditions while offering a myriad of entertainment and learning experiences through the lens of culture and food.  Read the rest of this entry »

Magic Shows: The Psychology Behind Magic Tricks & Illusions

Distraction and Influence: The Psychology of Magic

Have you ever wondered how magic tricks really work? By studying the psychology behind magic, young magicians (and young psychologists) can uncover the “secrets” behind successful magic tricks and learn lots about the human brain at the same time!

Have you ever wondered exactly how it is that magic tricks work? Great magicians manage to perform seemingly impossible feats not through any mysterious form of magic, but through the magic of psychology – the magic of which lies in the ability to subtly influence decisions and attention. Easy to study at home and at community events, magic can be an interesting entry point for studies of psychology and, in addition to gaining a better understanding of the human brain, perhaps families can learn a few tricks for themselves in the process!

Families can learn together about the connection between magic tricks and psychology by exploring research done by researchers at McGill University and the University of British Columbia. Titled ”Psychology of Magic”, the project explores human decision making – specifically, the choosing of cards from a standard deck. Research has shown that, when asked to choose any card from a deck, people choose aces much more frequently than any other card and, in particular, they most prefer the ace of spades.  Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Mem Fox and Kathryn Brown’s “Tough Boris”

Literary Guide for Mem Fox and Kathryn Brown’s Tough Boris

Download Literary Guide for Mem Fox and Kathryn Brown’s Tough Boris

Our next installation of the Summer Reading Resource literary guide series is Tough Boris, written by Mem Fox and illustrated by local illustrator Kathryn Brown. Much more than just a run-of-the-mill pirate book, Tough Boris is a beautiful and succinct tale that teaches an important lesson about human emotions. Centered around Boris, the story’s namesake, the story begins with a wordless page filled with an ocean where upon the horizon sits a ship and upon a sand dune sits a young boy. This scene sets the stage for the tale that’s about to begin – told with few words set amongst images that speak volumes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Morning Summer Block Party for Kids!

Block Party for Kids - Flywheel

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective of Easthampton is holding our first ever outdoor summer block party for kids at Easthampton’s beautiful Millside Park, located just off the Easthampton Bike Trail.* Join families from across the region on Saturday, August 8 from 10am-12noon for a summer celebration that features dancing, a marionette performance and refreshments. This family event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 27th-31st, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 12 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 25th-31th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“When I had my son, I experienced fairly severe postpartum depression. I struggled to find other mothers and parents going through what I was and felt alone, though I knew resources were out there. I continue to experience some ripples from that tumultuous time and discovered Hilltown Families in the not so distant past. As I embark upon a summer of being home alone with my toddler, I have experienced fear that isolation will creep back in and I will be in the same dark place that I was when he was born. The updates from this blog have given me hope that I will be able to be a greater part of the community and experience many new things with my son, creating a summer of incredible memories.” – Jana P. (Easthampton, 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

Through Sep 6

This summer, experience Curious George – Let’s Get Curious!, the new blockbuster exhibit at the Springfield Museums! Follow George on his mischievous adventures through his neighborhood, a fully interactive construction site, a farmhouse, and even a rocket ship to the stars! Along the way, kids ages 3 through 7 will learn important math and science lessons to keep the learning going this summer. May 23- September 6 at the Springfield Science Museum. Parking is free. For more information, visit: www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Every Thurs

The Amherst Business improvement District (BID) is thrilled to announce the launch of Kendrick Park Summer Concert Series. The concerts feature local musicians and are scheduled for every Thursday on July 16, July 23, July 30 (Family Night), and August 6 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in Kendrick Park in downtown Amherst. Musical acts from a variety of genres will play. All concerts during Amherst BID’s Downtown Beats are free and open to the public. Food will not be sold at the concerts. Attendees are encouraged to purchase food and drinks at the many delicious restaurants surrounding both concert venues. For more information about the Amherst BID and upcoming events, visit www.amherstdowntown.com

Jul 22-25

Sooooo a long while ago, a very cool kitty asked a young lass, “How would you like to be a hero?” The girl had nothing better to do, so she nodded. The adventure begins. The basic rule: when in doubt always trust the cat. Puss is one clever kitty; she’ll show us how to get from empty pockets to the height of adventure. PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—continues its season with Puss in Boots. Performances are Wed., July 22 – Sat., July 25, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Treasure Island, August 5-8. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

Aug 6

Join us on Thursday, Aug 6 from 6-8pm for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Thursday, Aug 6 , 6-8pm, Potluck and Volunteer. (Bring your favorite dish to share.) Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Sep 27

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will once again be holding their 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event on Sunday, September 27th. You have the opportunity to support their community by riding as an individual or forming a team. Starting a team (4 or more) with your friends and family is an easy way to help feed our neighbors in need! With multiple courses to choose from—a 3.5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of all ages and levels can get involved. This year’s event will include a new location (Hatfield Lions Club Pavilion), new routes, and the biggest after-party yet with food, beverages, games and live music. To register, or to learn more about Will Bike 4 Food, visit their website at www.willbike4food.org.

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 25th-31st, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen Scientist Wanted for National Moth Week

Explore Night Time Nature
During National Moth Week
July 18-26, 2015

Did you know that there are over 11,000 moth species in the United States alone?  More than just an evening version of butterflies, moths provide necessary biodiversity to ecosystems all over the world!

National Moth Week will take place this year from July 18-26, and provides an opportunity for families to learn about and help to document the many different moths found in their surroundings!  There are Moth Week events planned nationwide, but the most exciting part of the celebration is the opportunity to help contribute to scientific research on moth species and populations.

Moth Week supports numerous organizations in their research efforts, and families are encouraged to contribute accurate data of any type that they collect.  By searching for moths, families can learn about the many different species who live in the environment surrounding them, as well as the role that the moths play within the local ecosystem.  For more information on how to submit data and ways to search for and identify moths, visit nationalmothweek.org.

The Lepidopterists’ Society can provide K-12 students, teachers and parents resources on butterflies and moth awareness either in the classroom to enhance your educational curriculum, or for your own personal interest and enjoyment.  Check out their projects at www.lepsoc.org.

Literary Guide for Todd Hasak-Lowy’s “33 Minutes… Until Morgan Sturtz Kicks My But”

33 Minutes… Until Morgan Sturtz Kicks My Butt by Todd Hasak-Lowy

This week’s title in our Summer Reading Resource series is Todd Hasak-Lowy’s 33 Minutes… Until Morgan Sturtz Kicks My Butt, a story that offers a fresh take on a common middle school experience. Narrated by seventh grader Sam Lewis, the story is a full-length novel yet spans only a few hours of a day in the life of a somewhat average middle school student. Sam’s narration weaves together real-time experiences, thoughts, and emotions, with memories, self-reflection, and background information in order to tell the story of a changing friendship.

The story begins at 11:41am in a middle school social studies classroom, where Sam waits anxiously for the time of day to arrive when Morgan had declared that he will kick his butt. It is not until much later in the story that we learn about the true roots of the animosity that exists between Sam and Morgan. As Sam anxiously experiences the next 33 minutes of his life, he guides readers through the ins and outs of a middle school lunch period and does a lot of reflecting upon past experiences with Morgan, his parents, and his math team – and the connections between the three. Through Sam’s reflection, a secondary story begins to form alongside the real-time narrative. Each moment of anxiety that Sam experiences, and each interaction with a friend, peer, or authority figure that takes place before the time scheduled for butt-kicking inspires Sam to reflect upon himself and his relationship with Morgan – allowing readers to begin to understand the differences between the two characters and the choices that each one made that lead them to drift apart so drastically. Read the rest of this entry »

Shake it! ASL Support & Resources in Western MA

Language Acquisition for Tactile Learners

For those interested in exploring a new language, American Sign Language (ASL) presents a unique challenge. Rather than being specific to written and verbal communication, American Sign Language is based in physical communication, and requires the use of specific (and sometimes subtle) movements. American Sign Language can be fascinating to explore with young children, whose bodies are active and whose brains’ language centers are fast developing, as it combines both motion and linguistic understanding. Similarly, American Sign Language can provide older children with valuable language experience, especially those who tend to be tactile learners, as it relies on not only the brain’s ability to process language but the body’s ability to remember physical motions and states.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 20th-24th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 13 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 18th-24th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Without Hilltown Families, I would be unaware of almost every wonderful event organized by our community. Hilltown Families brings people out of their houses and out into the world: in doing so, our wider community is strengthened along with our individual families.” – Tricia Loomis (Northampton, 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

Through Sep 6

This summer, experience Curious George – Let’s Get Curious!, the new blockbuster exhibit at the Springfield Museums! Follow George on his mischievous adventures through his neighborhood, a fully interactive construction site, a farmhouse, and even a rocket ship to the stars! Along the way, kids ages 3 through 7 will learn important math and science lessons to keep the learning going this summer. May 23- September 6 at the Springfield Science Museum. Parking is free. For more information, visit: www.springfieldmuseums.org.<

Every Thurs

The Amherst Business improvement District (BID) is thrilled to announce the launch of Kendrick Park Summer Concert Series. The concerts feature local musicians and are scheduled for every Thursday on July 16, July 23, July 30 (Family Night), and August 6 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in Kendrick Park in downtown Amherst. Musical acts from a variety of genres will play. All concerts during Amherst BID’s Downtown Beats are free and open to the public. Food will not be sold at the concerts. Attendees are encouraged to purchase food and drinks at the many delicious restaurants surrounding both concert venues. For more information about the Amherst BID and upcoming events, visit www.amherstdowntown.com

Jul 18

It’s Circus Time at the Emily Dickinson Museum! On Saturday, July 18, the Emily Dickinson Museum presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. All are welcome to this Family Day! Admission is $5 for families and free for Museum members. Activities include songs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; an Imaginary Tea Party with Emily, the Fairy Queen; the Circus Parade; and young writer readings from “Writing with Miss Emily” camp, a program for children at the Jones Library. Other activities include face-painting, children’s tours of the Homestead, 19th century games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. Questions? email EDMprograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

Jul 22-25

Sooooo a long while ago, a very cool kitty asked a young lass, “How would you like to be a hero?” The girl had nothing better to do, so she nodded. The adventure begins. The basic rule: when in doubt always trust the cat. Puss is one clever kitty; she’ll show us how to get from empty pockets to the height of adventure. PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—continues its season with Puss in Boots. Performances are Wed., July 22 – Sat., July 25, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Treasure Island, August 5-8. PaintBoxTheatre.com.

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

Aug 6

Join us on Thursday, Aug 6 from 6-8pm for a meaningful time volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Thursday, Aug 6 , 6-8pm, Potluck and Volunteer. (Bring your favorite dish to share.) Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Sep 27

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will once again be holding their 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event on Sunday, September 27th. You have the opportunity to support their community by riding as an individual or forming a team. Starting a team (4 or more) with your friends and family is an easy way to help feed our neighbors in need! With multiple courses to choose from—a 3.5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of all ages and levels can get involved. This year’s event will include a new location (Hatfield Lions Club Pavilion), new routes, and the biggest after-party yet with food, beverages, games and live music. To register, or to learn more about Will Bike 4 Food, visit their website at www.willbike4food.org.

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 18th-24th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Community-Based Learning at Native Plant Nursery & Wildlife Sanctuary in Berkshires

Weekend with Wildlife Highlights Symbiosis of Native Species

“The caterpillars are remarkable and seeing them up close gives you a new appreciation of the creatures who often go unnotice,” shared Project Native Intern, Lindsay Buesgens.

Dedicated to growing and teaching about native plants, as well as preserving the species who depend upon them, Project Native in Housatonic, MA, offers extensive opportunities to learn about the plants and creatures who live within the local landscape and the ways in which their existence is interconnected. Maintaining 54 acres filled with over 200 local plant species, a wildlife sanctuary, and a native butterfly house, Project Native’s impact is great.

From July 24-26, 2015, families can join Project Native in celebrating the wonders of the natural world by participating in Weekend With Wildlife, a three-day-long event featuring studies of caterpillars, birds of prey, and the many inhabitants of the lush landscape offered at Project Native’s 54-acre farm in Housatonic. Though the grounds at Project Native are filled with enough life to sustain enough wildlife-centric learning to fill hundreds of weekends, the Weekend With Wildlife will include visits from special guest presenters, within whom will come many fascinating wildlife visitors.  Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Lisa Campbell Ernst’s “Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt”

Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt by Lisa Campbell Ernst

More than just a tale about a farmer who wishes to sew quilts rather than sowing seeds, Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt can be used to raise discussion about gender roles and cooperation – not to mention opportunities to connect the story to concepts in math, art, and history, too!

This week’s installment of Hilltown Families’ 2015 Summer Reading Resource series features Lisa Campbell Ernst’s Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt. A heartwarming tale featuring themes of rural living, cooperation, and gender roles, the story is a great read for folks ages 5 and older.

Sam Johnson, one half of the book’s namesake, is a rural farmer who leads what appears to be a fairly idyllic agrarian life. One day, he decides that he’d like to learn to quilt and asks his wife’s quilting group if he can join. Surprised that a man would request such a thing, the women turn Sam away. Rather than be discouraged, Sam stands up for himself and pickets their decision, then creates his very own men’s quilting group. With his fellow male quilters, Sam creates a beautiful quilt that he plans to enter in the county fair – in order to compete against the women’s group’s creation. In the end, an accident and a compromise combine to make for a surprisingly happy ending.  Read the rest of this entry »

6 Community-Based Resources: Train Travel with Local History

Follow the Rail Trail: Exploring Local History Through Trains

Energy Park Caboose in Greenfield: “The Town of Greenfield and NESEA found an original 1944 New Haven caboose in good condition… renovations were completed and the museum opened May 2001. Visitors find an excellent example of the workspace inside an active caboose as it would have looked in the mid-1940’s. Many original features are showcased in one-half of the caboose including: a pot-bellied stove, the fusee & torpedo box, a large oil can used at the station, and the brakeman’s desk. The other half is a gallery of vintage photos, models, and ephemera.”

Though Amtrak just recently made its debut in a handful of communities in western Massachusetts, mass transportation has existed in our state for centuries – since 1631 to be exact! While there’s plenty of mass transportation statewide to learn about, the railways of western Massachusetts present local folks with lots of opportunities for community-based learning. Trains have served as a means of moving both goods and people across the state and country for generations, and rail travel has played an important role in the development of industries and, as a result, communities throughout western Massachusetts. Letting railroads serve as a point of entry to community engagement, families can utilize enthusiasm for train travel as a way of connecting interests to local history, innovation and transportation.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: July 13th-17th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 12 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 11th-17th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Weekly Suggested Events

“There are so many opportunities for families to enjoy and be enriched by in our area…without your eNewsletter most of us wouldn’t know about them. My family would have missed out on discovering new nature excursions, cultural experiences, and new friendships that build community.” – Josh W. (Shelburne Falls, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls has full week summer art programs available for children & teens. Space is still available! All programs involve collaborations with local artists, bringing a range of media & technical expertise to an already inspiring and nurturing studio art experience. Two separate weeks in August feature guest artist morning workshops in mosaic, printmaking, felting, henna, shadow puppetry, musical instrument making, painting & collage. Every day at The Art Garden includes time for self-directed projects using the extensive collection of traditional & non-traditional art materials available. Fees vary. Financial aid available. Registration required. Details: www.theartgarden.org, csartgarden@gmail.com or 413-625-2782.

Jul 8-11

PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—opens its season with a very silly show, featuring Porky, Oink and Bacon Bits—the Three Little Piggies. However, they need your help. They have three actors and they all want to be pigs. Who plays the wolf? Guess what: the entire audience will play the wolf in this wild adaptation of a favorite tale. You can even come dressed as a wolf. Start practicing your huffing and puffing! Performances are Wed., July 8 – Sat., July 11, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Puss in Boots, July 22 – 25. PaintBoxTheatre.com

Jul 10-Aug 9

The 24th Annual Ko Festival of Performance, July 10-August 9, has 5 weeks of original & compelling theatre for teens – adults curated on the theme of “NEW | HOME | LAND: Strangers, Newcomers & Neighbors in a New America.” Also, the Mettawee River Theater Company in their last year of touring, with “Out of the Past,” performed for all ages, out under the stars with giant puppets, masks, live music and a spirit of celebration. Plus 3 intensive workshops for adults: “FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story for Performance,” ZEN & THE ART OF PERFORMANCE,” & “IMAGE-OBJECT-PUPPET: Creating a Poetic Theater.” All on the Amherst College campus. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit kofest.com or email info@kofest.com

Jul 18

It’s Circus Time at the Emily Dickinson Museum! On Saturday, July 18, the Emily Dickinson Museum presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. All are welcome to this Family Day! Admission is $5 for families and free for Museum members. Activities include songs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; an Imaginary Tea Party with Emily, the Fairy Queen; the Circus Parade; and young writer readings from “Writing with Miss Emily” camp, a program for children at the Jones Library. Other activities include face-painting, children’s tours of the Homestead, 19th century games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. Questions? email EDMprograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

Jul 15

Join us on Wednesday, July 15 from 1-3pm for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Wednesday, July 15th, 1m-3pm, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

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 11th-17th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Western MA State Forests & Parks Supporting Nature-Based Education through Community Engagement

Learning through the Lens of Local Habitat at Western MA State Forests & Parks
By Guest Writer, Gini Traub

As a tax-supported agency, DCR’s educational programs are offered free of charge. They are available to public, private, and home school groups, scouts, and adult learners. Here’s a quick run-down of field trip opportunities in the Connecticut River Valley.

When you hear the term, “Field Trip,” what do you think?

Recently I spoke with a teacher at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter School in Framingham. This middle school emphasizes expeditionary education with field trips for students. “But we don’t call them field trips,” the teacher said. “Students think a field trip is a day to goof off. We call them field work and field research, just like scientists do.”

I couldn’t agree more, even though I still call them “field trips.” I’m a regional educator for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the agency that manages the state forests and parks. There is so much to learn and discover in them. And it fits with so much of what’s taught in the classroom.

Why not take classroom learning and see how it’s applied in the field? The subjects can be geology, soils, plants, and ecology. It can be history, too: No matter where we walk in wooded Massachusetts, chances are we will find evidence of past human activity, what I sometimes call hidden history. Read the rest of this entry »

Family Volunteer Day Summer Series Supports Food Security All Summer Long

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Summer Vacation

During the summer months of June, July and August, food pantries and meal sites across Western Mass. see a 45% increase in visits over the holiday season. (Photo courtesy of Feeding America)

By now, you’ve probably heard the national news about a public school kitchen manager in Colorado who was fired for giving a free lunch to a crying first grader who was hungry. The manager was fired because the child wasn’t officially qualified for the federally-subsidized lunch program. However, what you may not have heard is that thousands of kids in schools across Western Massachusetts are in this same situation. They are relying on cafeteria staff, teachers and even their classmates to feed them because they don’t have enough food at home.

With so many families struggling with free or reduced school meals, image the challenges they face in the summer when those meals disappear. June, July and August are, by far, the busiest months for our member agencies in Western Massachusetts (which includes food pantries, meal sites and shelters). Approximately 44,665 individuals were served at our member agencies during those three months last year. That’s nearly a 45% increase over the winter months of December, January and February.  Read the rest of this entry »

Museum Adventures: Mead Art Museum

From Mead to You: Making Learning Connections at the Mead Art Museum

Experience, investigate, and explore world-class art and hidden treasures at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum. In July, families can travel the world without ever leaving the area through the Mead’s family workshops and open house days. Enjoy art-making, guest performances, tours, and more—all of it free and open to all.

Search for secret doors in a seventeenth-century paneled room. Puzzle over a cuneiform inscription that praises a powerful Assyrian king. Marvel at a hanging sculpture spinning in a still gallery.

Visitors to the Mead Art Museum do so much more than see objects—at the Mead, art is experienced, investigated, and explored. Set on Amherst College’s beautiful main quadrangle and flanked by a fascinating, stand-alone stone steeple, the Mead offers a world of resources for connecting art across countless cultures, mediums, and eras.

Just as its south-up, equal-area map (on permanent display in the Kunian gallery) turns traditional worldviews “upside-down,” the Mead provides learning opportunities that encourage creative thinking and a global, culturally-aware approach to art history.  Read the rest of this entry »

100+ Science Books to Support STEM Learning this Summer

Science Books to Support Self-Directed Learning & Interests

Experience is always the best teacher – and this is especially true for children! However, when kids are eager to learn about a topic, the experiences available might leave some space for supplementation. After you’ve explored the woods, caught critters, messed about with materials, and exercised all five of your senses together, it might be time to turn to print materials in order to help kids add specific language and detail to their understanding of scientific topics. And, in addition to being filled with lots of useful and fascinating information, science-themed books give children valuable practice reading and interpreting non-fiction material – a skill that will allow them to develop strong skills for self-teaching and answering their own questions.

Whatever topic children are learning about, there are age- and reading level-appropriate materials available. And, thanks to the creativity of children’s authors and illustrators, they’re not only informative but engaging and filled with photographs, diagrams, drawings, and other visuals that children in comprehending text. Read the rest of this entry…

Learning Ahead: July 6th-10th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 10 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 4th-10th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls has full week summer art programs available for children & teens. Space is still available! All programs involve collaborations with local artists, bringing a range of media & technical expertise to an already inspiring and nurturing studio art experience. Two separate weeks in August feature guest artist morning workshops in mosaic, printmaking, felting, henna, shadow puppetry, musical instrument making, painting & collage. Every day at The Art Garden includes time for self-directed projects using the extensive collection of traditional & non-traditional art materials available. Fees vary. Financial aid available. Registration required. Details: www.theartgarden.org, csartgarden@gmail.com or 413-625-2782.

Jul 6 – Aug 14

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 6th through August 14th. Performers this summer include the Akwaaba Drum & Dance Ensemble, Mister G, and The Nields. Plus, don’t miss Curious George: Let’s Get Curious at the Springfield Science Museum through September 6. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 8-12 & Jul 22-25

Hooray! Hooray! NCTKids is bringing everybody’s favorite first grader to the stage in this lively musical adaptation of Barbara Park’s beloved Junie B. Jones book series. Junie B. (the B. stands for Beatrice only she does not like Beatrice, just B.) sings and dances her way through First Grade with the help of her teacher Mr. Scary, the Cafeteria Lady and friends like Sheldon and Herb and even that tattle-tale, May. Grab your top-secret personal beeswax journal and join us for all the fun. Directed by Cate Damon with musical direction by Mitch Chakour. July 8-12 & July 22-25 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Green Street, on the Smith College Campus in Northampton. All seats: $10. Box Office: 413-585-3220

Jul 8-11

PaintBox Theatre—Northampton’s theatre of imagination and improvisation for all ages—opens its season with a very silly show, featuring Porky, Oink and Bacon Bits—the Three Little Piggies. However, they need your help. They have three actors and they all want to be pigs. Who plays the wolf? Guess what: the entire audience will play the wolf in this wild adaptation of a favorite tale. You can even come dressed as a wolf. Start practicing your huffing and puffing! Performances are Wed., July 8 – Sat., July 11, 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily, at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street. Tickets: $10 at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. Stay tuned for Puss in Boots, July 22 – 25. PaintBoxTheatre.com

Jul 10-Aug 9

The 24th Annual Ko Festival of Performance, July 10-August 9, has 5 weeks of original & compelling theatre for teens – adults curated on the theme of “NEW | HOME | LAND: Strangers, Newcomers & Neighbors in a New America.” Also, the Mettawee River Theater Company in their last year of touring, with “Out of the Past,” performed for all ages, out under the stars with giant puppets, masks, live music and a spirit of celebration. Plus 3 intensive workshops for adults: “FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story for Performance,” ZEN & THE ART OF PERFORMANCE,” & “IMAGE-OBJECT-PUPPET: Creating a Poetic Theater.” All on the Amherst College campus. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit kofest.com or email info@kofest.com

Jul 15

Join us on Wednesday, July 15 from 1-3pm for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Wednesday, July 15th, 1pm-3pm, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

July

The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children & Teens—a program of Cooley-Dickinson VNA & Hospice provides support to grieving young people & their families, announces Summer in The Garden. This FREE program takes place July 2015. Summer in The Garden is open to grieving youth (ages 5-18) & an adult caregiver. Participants will make projects in small groups, for example an “intention stick” where participants will write messages of intention or inspiration on a stick before embellishing with meaningful colors, ribbons, shells. Summer in The Garden will be on 7/21, 7/23, 7/28 & 7/30 at 168 Industrial Dr. Northampton For more information AND to RSVP call Shelly Bathe Lenn at 413 582 5312. Shelly_Lenn@cooley-dickinson.org

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 4th-10th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Gateway City Arts Connects Community and Creativity

Gateway City Arts Connects Community and Creativity

Previously in our series spotlighting arts-based community organizations, we featured Easthampton City Arts+, Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays and Turners Falls RiverCulture, all of which support a community’s cultural identify. Across western Massachusetts, many communities have become havens for artists of all kinds. The area is chock-full of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, performers, and other creative types, their work saturating our communities with artistic expression in a wide variety of mediums. Connecting these artists and their work to the the rest of the community are arts organizations, which serve as valuable resources for connecting families with events and community-based learning opportunities.

This month, we spotlight Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, a creative co-working space intended for making, teaching, and performing art of all kinds. Gateway City Arts is much more than a maker space, however – the organization’s mission is not only to provide work spaces but to strengthen local community, culture, and the arts by providing space in addition to infrastructure. Community-based learning opportunities abound at Gateway City Arts, thanks to the myriad of diverse events, performances, and learning opportunities.  Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Lois Lowry’s “Gathering Blue”

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Designed for use with readers at a 5th grade level, our literature guide for Lois Lowry’s Gathering Blue offers families support in adding insight, visualization, and even mastery of a new skill to a great summer read!

Looking for ways to enhance family reading time? Summer is the perfect time to explore books as a family, and to expand stories and create opportunities for deeper learning together. Hilltown Families offers a wealth of resources for supporting families in this endeavor, beginning with the very first featured title in our 2015 Summer Reading Resource series of literary guides!

Featured weekly throughout the summer, this year’s installments in the annual Summer Reading Resource series include downloadable guides to children’s literature written by students and alumni from the Integrated Learning teacher preparation program at Antioch University New England. Each literary guide pairs a featured book with suggestions for ways to help children expand their thinking, create connections to the text, and allow their literacy skills to grow. These guides contain outlines with discussion topics, critical thinking questions, and suggestions for many other activities that can provide supplemental education at home. The titles featured throughout the summer will cover a wide range of genres, themes, and reading levels, so as to provide something for everyone and to support families in their pursuit of new and fascinating reading material.

The books included in the series include both picture and chapter books, and cover all of the ages and developmental capacities typically found in grades K-6. Check back weekly for a new guide, or peruse the resources offered in our 2013 and 2014.

The first guide in this summer’s series is Gathering Blue, written by literary great, Lois Lowry.  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: June 29th-July 3rd, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 7 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

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


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for June 27th-July 3rd, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is the first place I check when deciding what to do with a free weekend, day, or even hour! My favorite thing is when they post a question to the community and we can read the opinions and recommendations of our fellow parents – this is true community engagement in the 21st century. This website is an absolute service to our community – not just people with kids but for everyone! I’d be at a total loss most weekends or when guests visit, if not for Hilltown Families, and I think we should support it as it has supported us.” – Lauren W. (Northampton, 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

Over 60 summer camps & programs, in and around western MA, to choose from!!!

Check out our featured post, 2015 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a comprehensive list of summer camps & programs in the region! 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

Jun 27

Join us on Saturday, June 27 from 10am-12noon for a meaningful morning volunteering with your family and your community! Free and open to everyone!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Saturday, June 27th, 10am-12noon, Farming with Friends at Mountain View Farm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Jun 27

Join us for Franklin Land Trust’s 24th Annual Farm & Garden Tour on Saturday, June 27th from 10am-4pm. This is one day self-guided tour of the secret gardens, working farms and special places in Ashfield & Conway. Some highlights include: an off-the-grid home, bee yard, beautiful rock walls, wattle fence of alder whips, espaliered star magnolia, collection of heirloom roses (dating to the Roman Empire) an edible landscape, permaculture, herbs, habitats for native pollinators; one-of-a-kind barn artistically decorated with glass beads and jewelry, organic fruit farm and a country casual garden with easy care plants. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. $15 for a reserved luncheon. www.franklinlandtrust.org or 413-625-9151

Jun 30-Aug 18

Camp Odyssey Craft Camp: Tuesdays June 30th- August 18th. Camp Odyssey is a once-a-week one hour camp featuring one book and activity for kids every Tuesday afternoon at 3pm. Each week they feature a different activity book and matching activity, ranging from make your own lava lamps and cupcake decorating to making grass hair funny faces! A required $5 supply fee or the purchase of the book featured (per child) to attend. Pre-registration is required (at least 2 days prior to event.) A full list of activates and ages ranges can be found listed at www.odysseybks.com Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. Email kids@odysseybks.com to register.

Jul 6 – Aug 14

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 6th through August 14th. Performers this summer include the Akwaaba Drum & Dance Ensemble, Mister G, and The Nields. Plus, don’t miss Curious George: Let’s Get Curious at the Springfield Science Museum through September 6. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Jul 8-12 & Jul 22-25

Hooray! Hooray! NCTKids is bringing everybody’s favorite first grader to the stage in this lively musical adaptation of Barbara Park’s beloved Junie B. Jones book series. Junie B. (the B. stands for Beatrice only she does not like Beatrice, just B.) sings and dances her way through First Grade with the help of her teacher Mr. Scary, the Cafeteria Lady and friends like Sheldon and Herb and even that tattle-tale, May. Grab your top-secret personal beeswax journal and join us for all the fun. Directed by Cate Damon with musical direction by Mitch Chakour. July 8-12 & July 22-25 at 10:30am in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Green Street, on the Smith College Campus in Northampton. All seats: $10. Box Office: 413-585-3220

Fall Openings

Amherst Montessori School has Fall 2015 openings for pre-school and Kindergarten. Financial aid available! Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler through Sixth Grade. For more information or to schedule a visit, please call 413-253-3101 or email Shelley Poreda, Director, at sporeda@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

All Summer

Rent a summer cottage on the Lower Highland Lake in the heart of the Hilltowns for a relaxing family get-away! Located in Goshen, MA, 3 unique summer cottages are for rent by the week. Ideal for families, artists & reunions, there are many weeks still available this summer. Fondly called the ”Goshen Ocean,” the lake offers swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, & fishing. A favorite with the kids is the trampoline raft! The lake abuts the 1500 acre DAR State Forest that has miles of marked hiking & mountain bike trails. No need to drive to Maine to get away; Goshen Summer Rentals are only 25 mins from downtown Northampton & across the lake from Camp Howe! Last minute inquiries welcome. www.goshensummerrentals.com 413-695-3874

July

The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children & Teens—a program of Cooley-Dickinson VNA & Hospice provides support to grieving young people & their families, announces Summer in The Garden. This FREE program takes place July 2015. Summer in The Garden is open to grieving youth (ages 5-18) & an adult caregiver. Participants will make projects in small groups, for example an “intention stick” where participants will write messages of intention or inspiration on a stick before embellishing with meaningful colors, ribbons, shells. Summer in The Garden will be on 7/21, 7/23, 7/28 & 7/30 at 168 Industrial Dr. Northampton For more information AND to RSVP call Shelly Bathe Lenn at 413 582 5312. Shelly_Lenn@cooley-dickinson.org

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 27th-July 3rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Along the Watershed: Rivers, Wetlands & Bogs

Learning through the Lens of Habitat: Watersheds in Western MA

Our natural landscapes come to life in the summer months, offering families numerous opportunities to learn about local plant and animals species and a variety of habitats found in our region. These community-based resources are available everywhere, from the parks in our cities to rural countryside. While the months are warm, look for ways to engage in your community in meaningful ways while supporting nature-based interests and education.

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When thinking about the flora and fauna found in our local habitat, consider how these environments support them and how they are all connected with one another.  In western Massachusetts we have a variety of natural surroundings we can examine, including rivers, wetlands and bog, and how they support insects, birds and plants.  Check out these community events that utilized our local habitats and species to support learning, along with points of entry to community engagement that include intergenerational adventures, citizen science and community service… Read the rest of this entry »

Hit a Home Run with Community-Based Learning this Summer through Local Baseball!

Art, History, and Baseball: Learning from a Great American Pastime

Be a part of a great American pastime this summer and head to the ballfield! Families can explore everything from art and design to American history by using baseball as a lens through which to explore local museums, online resources, and fantastic children’s literature.

A springtime standard for many western Massachusetts families, the sport of baseball is certainly one of our country’s favorite pastimes. Certainly the sport has much to offer families in terms of entertainment, but baseball as a topic of study can serve as an entry point into learning about much more than team dynamics and the specifics of the game. Baseball-inspired studies can spark explorations of civil rights, immigration, local and national history, art, design, and more.

While most youth baseball and softball teams play their seasons during the late spring and early summer, baseball as a spectator sport carries on throughout the summer and early fall. Locally, three collegiate summer teams make a summer outing to a baseball game quite accessible for families. The Pittsfield Suns play at Wahconah Park, Holyoke’s Valley Blue Sox‘s home games are at Mackenzie Stadium, and the North Adams SteepleCats play at Joe Wolfe Field.

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Summer Reading Programs Focus on Heroes

Discover Literary Heroes this Summer

With the end of the traditional school year comes an overwhelming sense of freedom for children and adults alike. Summer vacation brings what can feel like an endless stretch of days, the hours of which children can only begin to imagine how they’ll fill. Alongside outdoor adventures, creative free play, and some much-needed unstructured down time, families can fill up those long days of summer with great books – endless volumes of which are available in our local libraries.

too darn hot

In Massachusetts – and across the country – public libraries participate in the Collaborative Summer Library Program. Each year brings a new theme to the program, and libraries work to incorporate educational programs, celebrations of learning, and constant reading in order to provide a comprehensive summer reading program that not only encourages families to read together, but allows participants’ reading to be supported by educational activities that relate to the program’s theme. Read the rest of this entry »

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