Ticket Giveaway: The Buzz About Bees Family FunFest

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The Buzz About Bees Family FunFest
Family Concert with Uncle Rock
Bees, Cat in the Hat, Science and More!
Springfield Musuems
Friday, August 27th from 10am-4pm

Win tickets to see Uncle Rock, the Cat in the Hat, Bees and more at The Buzz About Bees Family FunFest in Springfield, MA on Friday, August 27th. - Deadline to enter to win a family 4-pack of free tickets is 8/25/10. Details below.

Hilltown Families and the Springfield Museums have partnered up to offer a family 4-pack of tickets to The Buzz About Bees Family FunFest at the museum on Friday, August 27th, from 10 am-4 pm in downtown Springfield, MA, featuring a family concert with Uncle RockDeadline to enter to win is Wednesday, August 25th at 7pm (EST).

ABOUT THE BUZZ ABOUT BEES FAMILY FUNFEST

The Springfield Museums and WGBY Public Television are pairing up to present The Buzz about Bees Family FunFest to celebrate the launch of the new science-based PBS series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! with activities for kids and families, including:

  • Family concert with Uncle Rock (1pm)
  • Special sneak preview of the premiere episode of the new PBS Kids program The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!
  • Meet a bee keeper and learn about a real bee hive in the Science Museum
  • Visit a honey market hosted by local bee keepers
  • Join a scavenger hunt through the museum galleries
  • Make bee antenna headbands
  • Try on glasses that make you see like a bee
  • Greet the Cat in the Hat and costumed bee characters as they travel through the Museums

ABOUT THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!

A team of science and early childhood experts developed the curriculum for The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!™ Each episode begins with a question posed by Sally or Nick. Guided by the Cat, the kids figure things out for themselves by observing, collecting and managing clues, making connections, constructing and evaluating theories, and having discussions — all in a preschool-appropriate manner.

To support the show’s science curriculum, educator-designed parent and teacher resources will be available this fall on PBS Parents (pbsparents.org) and PBS Teachers (pbsteachers.org) sites. A specially prepared The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!™ Explorer’s Guide will empower parents and teachers to engage children in scientific inquiry, nurture their innate curiosity, and inspire them to stay excited and interested in science. The sites will also feature activities, tips, and strategies that parents and teachers can use to help children connect the science concepts in the series with their everyday explorations.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to The Buzz About Bees Family FunFest at the museum on Friday, August 27th, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in downtown Springfield, MA is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. SHARE A SCIENCE QUESTION YOUR KIDS MIGHT ASK BELOW (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 08/25/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, you should still go! The Springfield Museums are located at the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in downtown Springfield. Parking is free in the museum lots on Edwards Street. For more information call 413-263-6800, ext. 488.

STREET TEAM: HELP US SPREAD THE WORD AND EARN AN EXTRA ENTRY Read the rest of this entry »

A Day at the Springfield Museums

Heat Wave

The crew with The Grinch in the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museum. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

When we moved an hour north, I thought it might be snowier in the winter, but I didn’t think it’d be hotter in the summers. Here in Northampton we have been victims of several faker summer thunderstorms. The skies cloud over, we get ready to go do our rain dance of joy in the streets, the wind picks up, we hear a distant rumble, a few drops fall and then it all drifts away. Somebody else gets our rain, I suppose. A mother could go crazy like this, but instead we went to the Springfield Museums in Springfield, MA.

The Springfield Science Museum is a moderate sized natural history museum. As we’d been melting in the heat for days, the air-conditioning was like a shot in the arm. Am I the only mother at museums trying to slow my kids down enough to soak in a little information? The Dinosaur Hall, the African wing, the aquariums downstairs put us through our paces. For younger kids, there are plenty of eye-level exhibits and buttons to push. The Dinosaur Hall and African wing have a pleasant dark & quiet museum exhibit feel, with low lights and tall ceilings. Four year old Theo enjoyed being frightened by the life size replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Photo credit: Isaac Bayne)

All the kids enjoyed a pretend safari through the African animals exhibit. The sound effects were quite realistic. The lion’s roar rumbled in the kids’ chests. Their eyes went big like saucers, and they hid behind me. Apparently, if approached by roaring lion, all my boys will try to hide behind my linen skirt and wait for me to put the big cat in timeout.

My children are deeply impressed by rocks; in fact, I can hear their voices now: Not rocks, mama, meteors! Meteors from outer-space! The boys spent a full 30 minutes comparing meteorite samples while we waited for the planetarium show. There were bits you could touch and other bits you could look at magnified. There were meteorite bits with amino acid in them, bits with water from space, and bits from meteorites to big to be moved without getting chopped to pieces.

Springfield is the birth place of Theodor Seuss Geisel and inspired many of his works. Sculptures of Dr. Seuss characters are in the corner of the Quadrangle green. Sculpture groups include Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat (pictured in part here), Horton Court, and The Storyteller. You'll also find the Lorax in another corner of the quad. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

The basement of the museum contains a live animal center, featuring fish and critters from our native New England rivers and coastline and forests. We will have to return to the animal tracks exhibit because all four of us proved incapable of accurately determining whether the tracks over the woodpile were made by a rabbit or a fox. We made several guesses and were quite wrong at least four times.

We made our way out to the quad for a snack time. It was hot but that did not stop my boys from rushing to the Dr. Seuss sculpture. The pictures say it all. If Theo could have crawled up on Seuss’ lap, he would have.

I was just about ready to tear us all away, when I decide to brave one of the art museums, all alone with three boys on a hot day. GWV Smith Art Museum’s first floor promised Samurai stuff. We had to see it, but I was nervous that the museum staff be visibly annoyed. The boys bounced in as quietly as they could. The Arms and Armor of Japan are directly opposite the door. The museum guide took one look at us and knew what we had come to see. It then took us each a while to pick our favorite samurai. The boys then decided they loved all the swords the best as there was no way to pick a favorite samurai sword.

In the Art Discovery Center, families are invited to try on costumes, play games, explore Asian culture, hear stories and participate in craft activities. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

Henry, who is six, was completely taken by the Sculpture Hall, which was full of plaster casts of original classical works. When asked what he liked so much about the statues he replied, “I was thinking I could be one.” The staff invited the kids upstairs to the Art Discovery Center. Isaac spent his time photographing the walls, which are beautifully painted. Henry and Theo enjoyed the puppet theater, toys and books. Then they tried on some costumes which proved to be hilarious. At the very far end of the room, some very young staff members were hosting arts and crafts time at the the tables. Our afternoon of fun was winding down. We were sent home with pretty fancy coloring sheets that helped to soften the blow when I decided to pack us back in the van and drive north.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Museums to Join Public Reading of Frederick Douglass Speech

Springfield Museums to Join Public Reading of Frederick Douglass Speech
Wednesday, June 30th at Noon

The communal reading and discussion of abolitionist Frederick Douglass's 1852 speech, "The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro" would be a great supplement to America history curriculum for older students. Younger students can discover Frederick Douglass at home in David Adler's book, "A Picture Book of Frederick Douglass."

The Springfield Museums are participating in a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’s fiery 1852 speech, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro.” The shared reading will take place at noon on June 30th in Court Square in Springfield and will be followed by a discussion at First Church.

On July 5, 1852, Douglass, a former slave and leading abolitionist, addressed the “race question” at an event in Rochester, NY, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “Fellow-citizens,” he began, “why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” The full text of the speech is available online at the Mass Humanities website, www.masshumanities.org.

The program is intended to take up the challenge leveled by Barack Obama at Constitution Hall in Philadelphia: “I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle. Race is an issue this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. To work for ‘a more perfect union’ we need to start to understand complexities that we’ve never really worked through. [This] requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point.”

The event is part of a state-wide series of readings which is partially funded by a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Local collaborating organizations are Mass Humanities, the Springfield Cultural Council, Art for the Soul Gallery, and the Springfield Museums. Additional sponsors are The Brethren, Olive Tree Books and Voices, PAHMUSA, Springfield NAACP, and the Teaching American History Program of the Springfield Public Schools.

Lego® Art in Western Mass

The Art of the Brick
Through September 5th at the Springfield Museums

The Lego Art of Nathan Sawaya will be on display at the Springfield Museums from June 16th - September 5th, 2010.

If you build it, they will come. And New York artist Nathan Sawaya has built some amazing sculptures out of common LEGO® building bricks.

The Art of the Brick features 29 whimsical three-dimensional works created from nearly one million colorful pieces. Sawaya’s attention to detail, scale, color and sense of action elevates this common toy to the status of art. He has the uncanny ability to make little rectangular bricks produce curved forms. The exhibit includes portraits and human figures, a 19-foot-long dinosaur skeleton, abstract constructions, and common objects such as a giant pencil and a skateboard. Both beautiful and playful, the exhibit appeals to adults and children alike.

As a child, Sawaya drew cartoons, wrote stories, perfected magic tricks and also played with LEGO. After college at NYU he rediscovered LEGO not as a toy, but as an art medium. He has been featured on national television, including The Today Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Colbert Report. In January of this year, there was an entire Jeopardy category devoted to The Lego Art of Nathan Sawaya.

The Springfield Museums are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in downtown Springfield, Mass. Free parking is available in the Edwards Street parking lots. Summer hours are Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For information, call 413-263-6800 or visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Public Night Sky-Gazing at the Springfield Science Museum on May 7th, 2010

Stars Over Springfield at the Springfield Science Museum

Rooftop telescope at the Springfield Science Museum.

The Springfield Science Museum’s large rooftop telescope will be open for public sky-gazing on Friday, May 7th, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. The program will be held rain or shine. If it is overcast, a planetarium show will be presented in place of telescope viewing.

Christopher Lyons, museum astronomy educator, will present “The Life Cycle of Stars.” Stars, like humans, are born, live their lives as adults, and go through major changes as they grow old and finally die. But they do this over a life-span of millions and billions of years. Lyons will explain the out-of-this-world stages and processes of a star’s life.

After the presentation, participants can use the museum telescope to view sights in the night sky, which may include objects such as the moon, a planet, star clusters, a nebula or a galaxy, depending on their visibility. Springfield Stars Club members also set up telescopes outside the museum, weather permitting.

The programs are best suited for families with children ages 8 and older, however younger children are also welcome. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children 17 and under.

The Springfield Science Museum is located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street, off Chestnut Street. Free parking is available in the Edwards Street lots. For information about astronomy programs at the museum, call 413-263-6800, ext. 318.

Museum of Springfield History Presents an Underground Railroad Lecture on Sunday

Underground Railroad Talk
Museum of Springfield History
April 11th @ 2pm

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, historical site in Florence, MA (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Many families emailed to let me know how much they appreciated the Underground Railroad Episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show as a supplement to their children’s studies. Another opportunity for older students to learn about the Underground Railroad will be this Sunday, April 11th in Springfield, MA. At 2pm, the new Museum of Springfield History will host a talk titled “The Underground Railroad in Western Massachusetts.” The program will be held in the museum’s SIS Hall and is free with the price of museum admission. Museum passes may be available to check out from your local library.

The talk will be presented by historian Steve Strimer of the David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History and Underground Railroad Studies. The Ruggles Center, named for an early abolitionist, documents the movement and settlement of fugitive slaves in the Connecticut River corridor of Massachusetts. Strimer will discuss what has been preserved and uncovered about the Underground Railroad, particularly in Florence and Springfield.

For older kids studying the California Gold Rush, there will be a talk “Springfield and the California Gold Rush” on April 25th.

The series is co-sponsored by the Pioneer Valley History Network, a coalition of historical museums, libraries, and societies. The Museum of Springfield History is located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in downtown Springfield. Free parking is available in the Edwards Street parking lots. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $12.50 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, $6.50 for children 3-17, and free for children under three and museum members. Springfield residents are free with proof of address. The fee provides admission to all four Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle. For information, call 413-263-6800 or visit http://www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Summer Biology Lessons at the Springfield Science Museum

Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body
Springfield Science Museum through September 6th, 2009

Grossology is based on a popular series of books by science teacher Sylvia Branzei. The exhibit is an interactive, larger-than-life biology lesson that harnesses children’s natural curiosity about themselves and explains how the human body functions. Grossology engages young children by appealing to their fascination with the stinky, slimy, noisy functions of their bodies.

Visitors enter Grossology by walking over a huge tongue floor mat and through a giant mouth. Once inside, they encounter Nigel Nose-It-All, a 9-foot-tall moving, talking animatronic character with a faucet-shaped head; Burp Man, a larger-than-life 3-D cartoon character that drinks from a three-foot soda can pumped by visitors; the “Patients Please” game which resembles a giant version of the popular old “Operation” game; a climbing wall where the hand- and foot-holds are warts, hair, and other blemishes on a fiberglass replica of human skin; and many other gross – but fun – activity stations.

Colorful graphics arranged throughout the exhibit provide additional interesting facts about our bodies, and children can play a multiple choice trivia game hosted by the video character “Her Grossness” to show what they have learned from visiting the exhibit.

$4 per person special exhibit fee for all visitors ages 3 and up at the Springfield Science Museum.

Free Admission to Area Museums

Lisa Downing of the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA writes:

Free admission to area museums is as easy as a visit to the Forbes Library. Now in the fifth year, the library’s museum pass program enables patrons to borrow a free admission pass to the Children’s Museum of Holyoke, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Historic Deerfield, Mass MoCA, Massachusetts State Parks, Norman Rockwell Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, Springfield Museums and the Zoo in Forest Park.

The passes circulate for two days and generally admit one family free admission for the day. Passes are available to borrow from the main desk and same day reservations can be made. The passes are checked out with a library card. This program is sponsored by the Friends of Forbes Library. For more information call 587-1011 or stop by the library to pick up a brochure about the program.

  • Click HERE for a list of museum passes available at additional area libraries in Western Massachusetts.

The Wonderment of Museums

Making a Family Museum Visit Fun …
By Marilyn Anderson and Patricia Sullivan

More Art, Please!

Museums are places of wonderment, exploration, learning, and fun for the entire family. Just ask Jean L. Sousa, associate director of museum education, The Art Institute of Chicago. “Don’t be intimidated or worry that your children will cry or misbehave at the museum…and don’t worry that you need a degree in art history,” she said. “If the museum offers family programs, these are non-issues.” Sousa said that parent workshops at museums build on issues in child development and learning theory to make family visits more comfortable.

Today, many museums are interactive learning centers that give families an opportunity to explore, learn, create their own art, and, yes, even touch some exhibits. With all of this variety and activity, how can parents ensure that their children won’t become overwhelmed, tired, or too distracted to enjoy the experience? The key is in the planning.

A Look at Art Museums

“It’s important for children to distinguish between beautiful, masterfully rendered art and mass-produced art or what you see on television,” Sousa said.

For children’s first art museum experiences, she recommends that parents keep the visit simple. “See three pictures and then have lunch,” she said. Be flexible. When the children start becoming restless, do something else.

Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden at Springfield Museums. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Following are suggestions from Sousa and The Art Institute of Chicago on how to cultivate your children’s curiosity through art.

Look for recognizable things.
Simply identifying things in a painting can be fun for families with young children. Parents can ask their children how many people and animals they see, how many fruits are in a still life, what kind of activity is taking place, and what colors and shapes they see.

Find visual clues that uncover meaning.
Ask older children to describe what they see and help them determine the meanings the artist intended. For instance, ask your children to determine the time of day, season, or which person is oldest in a painting. Then ask them to explain how they came to their conclusions.

Imagine the work of art coming to life.
Let children’s active imaginations run wild by asking them to make up a story for a picture. “In some ways not knowing much is an advantage,” Sousa said.

Modern art offers plenty of room for interpretation, too.
Parents can ask, what just happened? What’s going on now? What will happen next? What sounds or smells do you imagine while looking at the painting?

Listen and respond to each other.
Sharing time with your children at a museum also means communicating well. Be sure to ask your children why they feel a certain way or made certain comments about a piece of art.

Eric Carle Museum

Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA.

How to prepare for a museum visit

“A child is going to get out of an experience what the adult is willing to put in,” said Nancy Kolb, president and chief executive officer of Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. “The parent has to be patient.”

Before the visit

  • Get the information. Explore the museum’s website to learn about the permanent and special exhibits, hours of operation, accessibility, admission fees and discounts, and family programs. Request a brochure or activity sheet that is used for school groups. (More than half of museums are free to the public. Of those that charge fees, nearly 60 percent have free days.)
  • Ask your children what they’re interested in and what they’re studying in school. Then try to build upon their responses.
  • If you have a book at home that’s related to one of the exhibits you plan to see, sit down and leaf through the book with your children. It will help build their excitement.
  • Consider becoming a member if you plan to visit several times during the year. Museum memberships often provide discounts for the museum store, food vendor, and special museum programs. (The median museum admission for a family of four is $15. The median membership fee for families is $25.)
  • Determine how long you will spend at the museum. Ninety minutes to two hours should be enough

At the museum

  • Find the information desk and ask, “What do you recommend for families?”
  • Help children figure out how things work, but don’t do it for them. Use open-ended questions and try to get to the how and the why of things. For example, while at a dinosaur exhibit, ask, “How do you think they ate? Where did something that big sleep?”
  • Keep the visit simple and don’t try to see everything. Take a break.

After the visit

  • Ask your children what they liked or didn’t like, and why. Ask what they enjoyed the most.
  • Have them share their experiences with friends and relatives.
  • Help your children find the answers to their unsolved questions.
  • Talk about items in your home and have them relate what they learned to everyday objects.

Source: www.pta.org


Here’s a sampling of  museums in Western Mass (check with your local library for free museum passes):

V-log: Robots in Springfield!

V-log: Dances with Robots
by Tom Adams (Hilltown Families Contributing Writer)

Come along as my family and I journey to Springfield MA’s Symphony Hall (after a little detour) to see “Dances with Robots” a presentation by James McLurkin.  My apologies for sub-par audio/video quality- I guess I won’t be using my still-camera’s video settings anymore.

Stay tuned for the next ‘vlog’ from ReelifeProductions. Never know where we’re headed next…


Tom Adams

Tom lives and works in Williamsburg, MA with his wife, two kids, dog maggie & cat charlie. He is a graduate of UMASS, Amherst and has over 15 years of experience in the fields of educational, commercial and corporate video production. In 1996, he founded Reelife Documentary Productions (1997 & 2008 Telly Award recipient). He is an active member of Hidden-Tech, the Chair of the Williamsburg Technology Committee and Chair of The Williamsburg Cultural Arts Committee. Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events 12/22/07 – 12/28/07

The Snowman

One my favorite films to watch during the holidays is The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, a 23 minute pencil-drawn animation. It’s the purity of The Snowman that I enjoy the most. The film is without words and set to the composition “Walking in the Air” by Howard Blake and performed by Peter Auty. With his wonderful illustrations and a timeless musical composition, Briggs brilliantly captures the innocence of a young boy’s imagination during the holiday season.

Somehow we’ve misplaced our copy of The Snowman and have had to get our holiday movie classic quota from outside sources … BUT, I was happy to find the video for view on-line. So if you’re looking for something to do with the kids, grab them and enjoy the magic of Raymond Briggs:

To add this video to your movie collection, click here to buy it from Amazon.

Thank you to this week’s Suggested Events Sponsor, Spirit of the Heart. Nancy has a couple of weekend classes for families available. Check them out and get the kids active!

www.spiritoftheheart.org

  • Become a Sponsor

  • To find out how you or your business can help support Hilltown Families by becoming a sponsor, drop us an email or give us a call at 413.296.0096 for more information. We’re offering very reasonable rates throughout the holiday season. By having individuals in our community and area businesses become sponsors, Hilltown Families can continue to offer a weekly list of suggested events, a weekly podcast, updated resources, articles and much more.

    • Submit an Event

    If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, or would like to submit your event to the Hilltown Families calendar of Suggested Events, email Sienna at swildfield@juno.com. Comments are warmly welcomed!

    Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings & Delays

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    Saturday – 12/22

    WINTER SOLSTICE

    8am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to WXOJ 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA, from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. [All ages] (Free)

    Noon – SPORTS – (Amherst) Take the family to see the “big girls” play basketball at UMass (vs. Buffalo) in the Mullins Center. 413.545.0810 [Families] ($$)

    2pm – THEATER – (Stockbridge) The Berkshire Theatre Festival will be presenting Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol at the Unicorn Theatre. 413.298.5536 x33. [Families] ($$)

    2:30pm – FAMILY MUSIC – (Greenfield) Join the rocking kids music group The Pop Rockets at Barts Ice Cream for a family fun holiday show. They’ll be serving up new music and hot cocoa, along with a sing-a-long to traditional holiday music. www.poprocketsmusic.com [Families] (Free)

    4:30pm – HOLIDAY CAROLING – (Cummington) The CFC invites families to go caroling down Main Street, followed by hot chocolate and a potluck dinner. Caroling begins at the Cummington Community House. [Families] (Free)

    5pm-8pm – HOLIDAY HAYRIDES – (Florence) Look Park is offering a tour of their holiday lights display on a horse drawn hayride. [Families] (>$)

    5:30pm-8:30pm – SOLSTICE CELEBRATION – (Easthampton) Arcadia Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary will be hosting a Winter Solstice Celebration with candles, readings, music, bonfire & hot cider. 413.584.3009 [Famileis] (Free)

    6pm – HOLIDAY DISPLAY – (Florence) Join the community for the annual Luminaria Display in the Village of Florence. There will be a public display, holiday reception at the Civic Center and free hayrides. 413.320.2306 [Families] (Free, Benefit)

    6pm-8:30pm – SOLSTICE CELEBRATION – (Westhampton) A Full Moon Howl and Solstice Celebration will be held at Parsonage Field. There will be refreshments, bonfire, singing, sledding, and marshmallow roast. 413.527.1731 [Families] (Free)

    6:30pm-8:30pm – SOLSTICE CELEBRATION – (Ashfield) On the town green join other families for a Winter Solstice Celebration with candles, a bonfire, singing, story tellingand Morris Dancers. [Families] (Free)

    7:30pm – SPORTS – (Amherst) Take the family to see the “big boys” play basketball at UMass (vs. CCSU) in the Mullins Center. 413.545.0810 [Families] ($$)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    10th Annual Seuss-abration

    Western Mass elementary schools honor national Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss

    Gateway elementary schools held another successful “Seussabration”, to honor national Read Across America Day on March 7th. This is the 10th year that Gateway has participated in this event, which typically involves students, staff, parents and high school volunteers.

    National Honor Society members from Gateway Regional High School visited classrooms and read to students at the Blandford, Chester, R. H.Conwell and Littleville Elementary schools.

    In our area there are two great place to get a closer look at the work of Dr. Seuss. The National Dr. Seuss Memorial in Springfield, MA, and the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA. The R. Michelson Galleries exhibits many of Dr. Seuss’s original draws and limited editions. Both places offer an educational experience for children.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Medieval Faire at the Springfield Museum

    (c) Hiilltown Families

    The Springfield Museum is hosting a Medieval Faire during the winter school break. On Tuesday, Rosalita’s Puppets performed a marionette puppet show. Keeping in theme with the Medieval Faire, the performance was Goldilocks and the Three Dragons and was performed to an interactive crowd in the Davis Auditorium. With an endearing improvisational method, puppeteer Charlotte Anne Dore invoked the crowd of families to participate on cue, while incorporating into the performance suggestions and comments children would shout out from the audience.

    All week long families can participate in a variety of craft activities, including medieval mosaics in the G.W.V.S. Art Museum. Mosaic art was very popular during the Renaissance era. Children were given the opportunity to create their own mosaic art while visiting the museum during the Medieval Faire. Read the rest of this entry »

    Midwinter Magic Puppet Show

    Puppet Show

    The Springfield Museums’ Holiday Happenings this past Saturday was a great adventure. They had a list of activities to do with the kids in addition to visiting all four of their museums. They had several craft activities, including coloring a nut cracker crown, making a magnet mitten, paper holiday wreaths, and snowflakes.

    The Midwinter Magic puppet show, put on by the Gerwick Puppets, was well attended. The story was about the Winter Solstice and magic that two children encounter during a dream on that special night.Puppet Show

    Following the puppet show, puppeteer Deborah Costine sat down with children in the audience and shared the nuts and bolts behind the show, from how they made their puppets to the mechanisims of their performance.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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