Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Maple Sugar Season

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: February Segment
Maple Sugar Season in New England

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts, Ashley Kohl and Seth Stutman, to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Thursday, February 26, 2015, highlighting community-based resources and events that use the Maple sugar season as a catalyst for learning, celebrating local culture and building community. Sienna shares three community-based resources and two community events, highlighting two types of events:

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 28th & March 1st, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 28th-March 6th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 27 Community Highlights: Family Concerts to Purim. Pancakes to Seeds., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 28th-March 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STE(A)MSustainabilitySocial JusticeSpring MusicalsCommunity MealNature/Animal StudiesPuppetryLiterature/WritingPurimSocial StudiesHistoryFamily Concerts

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Parenting Green: It’s Not What We Say, It’s What We Do!
  2. Collaborative Consumption: Learning How to be Resilient Supports Community-Based Education
  3. 6 Ways Community Can Support Family Dinners
  4. HFVS Purim Episode with Guest DJ, Mama Doni (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. TED-Ed Clubs: Supporting Students & Their Big Ideas!

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Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

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27 Community Highlights: Family Concerts to Purim. Pancakes to Seeds.

Community meals are great intergenerational opportunities to sit down with neighbors of all ages, making connections and nurturing relationships across the generations. Participating in a community pancake breakfast does more than fill your belly… it strengthens the social fabric of community by developing a sense of place in our children! The Easthampton PTO is hosting a Pancake Breakfast at Easthampton High School on Saturday, February 28, 8:30am-10:30am.

Family  Concerts to Purim. Pancake Breakfast to Charles Dickens. Seeds to Origami. These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured community highlight this week: Families can join the Northampton Parents Center for Family Fun Night on Saturday, February 28, 4pm-7pm! There will be a performance by In the Nick of Time, dessert from Herrell’s, an optional potluck dinner, and playtime. This is a great chance to to get to know other local families! 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)


STE(A)MSustainabilitySocial JusticeSpring MusicalsCommunity MealNature/Animal StudiesPuppetryLiterature/WritingPurimSocial StudiesHistoryFamily Concerts


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Maple Days in Western MA

Learning through the Lens of Maple Sugar Season

How sweet the end of winter is here in western Massachusetts – and not just because the snow is beginning to melt! Warmer temperatures signal the start of sap flow in sugar maples, whose frozen and sleepy roots and limbs come alive when the landscape begins to thaw. Maple sugaring is a centuries-old tradition in New England, and the seasonal industry remains an important part of the foundation upon which local agricultural is built. Additionally, maple sugaring brings opportunities for families to engage in intergenerational community-based learning through visits to farms, community meals, living history, and experiential hands-on activities.  Read the rest of this entry »

Amherst Cinema’s Family Film Series- A Blend of Entertainment & Learning

Innovative Cinema Continues  to Give Great Consideration to Clever Programming

Amherst Cinema’s Family Films series showcases a handful of fantastic family movies. Not only are the films entertaining and engaging for viewers of all ages, many of them are historically or artistically significant as well – making the series both fun and educational!

Films for young audiences are far more than a way to keep kiddos quiet and entertained for a few hours. The best of such films include plots that are not only engaging for children, but that can be enjoyed by adults as well. And, in addition to engaging plots, the best of children’s film is artistic and creative to boot!

Families can enjoy some of the best of films for young audiences during Amherst Cinema’s Family Films Series. The series is an ongoing endeavor and features a varied collection of wonderful films that can be enjoyed by folks of all ages. Covering a wide rage of themes and styles of cinematography, the Family Films Series is not only entertaining but educational as well!  Here’s what they have coming up next month: Read the rest of this entry »

Mixing Conservation with Art Releases Creativity

Junior Duck Program Motivates Kids to Study Nature with an Artistic Eye

Combining artistic expression and conservation, the annual Junior Duck Stamp Program gives children the opportunity to study local waterfowl and practice using their artistic skills to portray them in their native habitat. The competition even provides curriculum materials to support families and educators in expanding children’s learning as they participate!

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the commonwealth of Massachusetts has been a leader in the study of waterfowl species and their habitat. In keeping with this scientific tradition and commitment, children of almost any age are invited to participate in this year’s Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Program! An annual art contest that pairs the study of waterfowl with artistic expression, the Junior Duck Stamp Program provides a platform for learning about conservation, the environment, species identification, and artistic expression!

Open to children in grades K-12 (or of the age equivalent to grades K-12), participation in the Junior Duck Stamp Program requires young scientists and artists to create original pieces of artwork that showcase a species of waterfowl native to Massachusetts. Children may use visual aids in order to create their pieces, so as to ensure that the shape, size, coloration, and surroundings that they create are accurate, but all works of art should be entirely original, rather than drawn or painted as a copy of a photograph, drawing, or other representation of a bird. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 21st & 22nd, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 21st-27th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 33 Community Highlights: Sledding to Fireworks. Food Swap to Seed Saving., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 21st-27th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let Them Grow: 10 Easy Chores for a Two Year Old
  2. Engage in Your Community as a Citizen Scientists During the Great Backyard Bird Count
  3. Email for Kids
  4. Parenting Green: Six Steps Towards Reducing Your Family’s Waste
  5. 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

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Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

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33 Community Highlights: Sledding to Fireworks. Food Swap to Seed Saving.

Have some winter fun at the Clark Art museum on Sunday, February 22, 12noon-4pm! Bring a sled or cross-country skis, or borrow snowshoes from the museum, and have a blast exploring the campus and all its beauty. There will be fun family-friendly activities, like capture the flag and touch football, led by the Williams College men’s lacrosse team. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA.

Sledding to Fireworks. Vintage Photographs to Antique Threads. Food Swap to Seed Saving… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured community highlight this week: Families can have some winter fun at Red Gate Farm‘s annual Fire and Ice event on Saturday, February 21, 5pm-8pm! There will be a winter bonfire, grilled food, sledding, hot cocoa, marshmallows, and more. Bring or borrow a sled and slide down the farm’s big or small hills. This fun winter event is great for all ages! 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. ($)


TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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Holyoke Codes Empowers Youth with Free Workshops

Springfield Armory: A National Historic Site

Kids Can Learn About Local History and Become Junior Rangers at this Community-Based Resource

Tying local history with important national and international events, the Springfield Armory provides visitors with a glimpse into the history of military arms manufacturing and the history of the industrial revolution. In addition to opportunities to learn about history from exhibits, families can learn to be Junior Rangers or participate in special hands-on programs held during school vacation week!

Opened as an arsenal to support George’s Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War, the Springfield Armory served as a major arms manufacturing center for over two centuries. Closed since 1968 – but designated as a National Historic Site – the armory provides families with opportunities to explore the intersection of local and national history. Weaving together the stories of major industrial innovations and the workers themselves with national and international military history, the armory’s exhibits and educational programs provide context for some of American history’s major events.

As part of the National Parks system’s Junior Ranger program, the Springfield Armory offers young visitors the opportunity to become Junior Rangers – a rank that requires visitors to first learn about the site’s history and relevance! Aspiring rangers ages 6+ can explore the museum’s exhibits guided by a special Junior Ranger packet that will lead them to make specific discoveries. As part of their self-guided training, Junior Rangers will learn about Civil War rifles manufactured in Springfield, the local inventors and inventions that helped drive the Industrial Revolution, and a special kind of counter-intuitive gun that saves lives!  Read the rest of this entry »

10 Days of Play: A Multi-Sensory Experience To Energize The Mind

The Science of Play Opens Up Creative & Critical Thinking

Play comes in many forms, but whatever it looks like, it’s great for your brain! The Berkshire Museum celebrates the importance of play during their annual event, 10 Days of Play. Held now through February 22nd, 10 Days of Play celebrates the recreational and educational value of play amongst community members of any age. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids!

Join us on Saturday, March 14 and Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA.

During a breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, a screening of new episodes of Pancake Mountain will delight families. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix & special guests for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Who needs a night club when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families & Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away!  Read the rest of this entry »

School Vacation Week in Western MA

Staycation in Western MA During
February School Vacation Week

Many children are enjoying a week vacation this week from school. While some families are making fast tracks for warmer climates, they are missing out on all the wonderful community and learning events taking place all week throughout our region!

Pick your day and make plans to enjoy winter in Western MA!

Other spots to peruse for ideas and adventures to be had in western Massachusetts during February Vacation Week:  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 14th & 15th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 14th-20th 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 41 Community Highlights: Straw Rockets to Storytelling. Candyland to Bread Baking., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Animal StudiesTrackingCreative-Free PlayCulinary ArtsSTEMOrnithologyHistoryStorytellingFamily PerformancesService-Based LearningAviationPreschool Highlights

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Ice Skating in Western Massachusetts 
  2. DIY: How to Make Swedish Paper Hearts 
  3. 50 Winter Suggestions: Things to Do & Places to See in Western MA
  4. Children’s Literature & Resources that Support Math
  5. Language Play: Winter Activities & Talking with Your Kids Encourages Language Development

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Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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41 Community Highlights: Straw Rockets to Storytelling. Candyland to Bread Baking.

The Trustees of Reservations and the Hilltown Land Trust are teaming up to offer a day full of Snowshoe Shenanigans at Notchview on Saturday, February 14, 10am-2pm! There will be a 1K snowshoe race, a snowshoe relay race, an obstacle course for kids, sledding, snow sculptures, a snowshoe hike, a bonfire, and other winter fun. Cost includes a day pass to Notchview. Pre-register. 413-628-4485 x4. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($$)

Porcupines to Arctic Gray Wolf. Candyland to Bread Baking. Straw Rockets to Storytelling… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: 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 will be held approximately once a month on various days and times. Participation is free and open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Tuesday, February 17 from 6-8pm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Animal StudiesTrackingCreative-Free PlayCulinary ArtsSTEMOrnithologyHistoryStorytellingFamily PerformancesService-Based LearningAviationPreschool Highlights


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts &
Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

Volunteering together teaches children positive values, like kindness, empathy and tolerance, and opens up channels of communication between parent and child. Engaging children in community service can increase their participation as future volunteers, helping to create more resilient and sustainable communities.

Over the years, Hilltown Families has partnered with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in several ways, offering families in the region opportunities to engage in service-based learning while volunteering together as a family in support of food security in our region. We’ve organized a field trip and a couple of virtual food drives and told you how you could organize your own field trips and food drives too. We’ve given you a heads-up on youth volunteer opportunities, services for families during summer months, and resources to support child(ren)/student’s learning of hunger and food security, including Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity and Youth Against Hunger Education Curriculum.

One of the issues participants learned during our field trip was how difficult it can be for some families to have access to fresh organic fruits and vegetables. In response, we organized a station at our Family Community Service Event to empowered families to learn how to grow an extra row of vegetables in their home gardens to harvest and donate to their local food pantries, and collaborated with local business and farms to offer gleaning opportunities for families.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts &
Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

Families continue to seek out new ways to spend time together that supports values and learning, and volunteering as a family at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is great way to do just that! In partnership with Hilltown Families, families are invited to attend a series of monthly volunteer sessions where they will help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. Volunteering together as a family encourages quality time, increases communication, and provides opportunities for family members to be role models.  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 7th & 8th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 7th-13th 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 31 Community Highlights: Winter Carnivals to Ice Festival. Chemistry of Candy to Victorian Valentines., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 7th-13th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Winter CelebrationsAnimal Studies/TrackingOrnithologyBlack History MonthParent WorkshopsCulinary Arts & ScienceValentinesLocal HistoryIce HarvestingSingingFolk TalesSTEMPreschool Highlights

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Valentine’s Day Tips for Dads and Daughters
  2. Black History Month: Six Featured New Titles Bring History Alive
  3. A Love Letter to My Children
  4. Let’s Play: Winter Flashlight Tag
  5. Q&A: The Struggle of Winter Wear

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Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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31 Community Highlights: Winter Carnivals to Ice Festival. Chemistry of Candy to Victorian Valentines.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, visitors to the Berkshire Museum can learn to make their own hand-dipped chocolates at the Learner’s Lab on Saturday, February 7, 10am-11am! Kathy Sinico of Catherine’s Chocolates will teach you how to make several types of chocolate. Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)<

Winter Carnivals to Ice Festival. Hand-Dipped Chocolates to Chemistry of Candy. Victorian Valentines to Birds of Prey… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Discover the chemistry behind candy at the Springfield Science Museum on Saturday, February 7, 10am-12:30pm! Kids can make fudge, chocolates, and other all natural treats while learning about their physical and chemical properties. This workshop will also help kids improve their math skills through measuring, counting, and modifying ingredients. Purchase tickets in advance. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)


Winter CelebrationsAnimal Studies/TrackingOrnithologyBlack History MonthParent WorkshopsCulinary Arts & ScienceValentinesLocal HistoryIce HarvestingSingingFolk TalesSTEMPreschool Highlights


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Annual Winter Celebrations in Western MA: Your Cure to Cabin Fever!

Winter Celebrations in Western MA Spotlight Local Culture

During this part of the year, the cold and dark make it difficult to truly enjoy the outdoors. For the past month, temperatures in the single digits (and beyond!) have kept kids and adults alike on the couch instead of in the snow, and we’re all starting to get cabin fever! Luckily, mid-winter ’tis the season to celebrate, as western Massachusetts comes alive with seasonal festivals galore. The coming weeks bring a deluge of indoor and outdoor community celebrations happening across western Massachusetts, offering families opportunities for winter sports, outdoor adventures, friendly competition, community-building, and learning of all kinds! Read the rest of this entry »

Trust In The Trustees. Winter Staycation is Where It’s At!

The Trustees of Reservations Offer Accessible Winter Family Fun for School Vacation

Photo credit: (c) Sienna WildfieldPlanning to staycation during February school vacation week? If so, The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) have you covered with community-based programs and activities for all ages designed to expand your family’s horizons. Whether it’s learning to snowshoe, identifying animal tracks, or making maple sugar, The Trustees have programs to teach you and your kids something new this winter across western MA! Read the rest of this entry »

Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a Community Tradition

Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a
Community Tradition

February 2015
Hawks-Hayden Room Gallery, Meekins Library
Williamsburg, MA

Featuring handmade Valentines by Hilltown Families’ Annual Handmade Valentine Swap participants, 2009-2015

For the past seven years, Hilltown Families has organized an intergenerational, community-based, handmade Valentine swap. Spearheaded by Hilltown Families founder, Sienna Wildfield, this community tradition has grown from an intimate group of families to an extensive roster of participants living across western Massachusetts, from Williamstown to Monson.

This year, 1,550 handmade valentines are being prepared for swapping through the mail by families, individuals, and even youth groups, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

For the month of February, in the Hawks-Hayden Room Gallery at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, over 100 handmade Valentines sent to Hilltown Families by swap participants over the years will be on display in an exhibit, Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a Community Tradition. New handmade Valentines received this year as part of the swap will be added to the display throughout the month.

These handmade tokens of friendship and community push back against the commercialization of Valentine’s Day while connecting and expanding an age-old tradition. The act of creating handmade Valentines supports creative-free play, while receiving them generates excitement to make community connections and eliminates loneliness. Having them on display at the Meekins Library chronicles the growth of what has become a delightful community tradition in western Massachusetts, open to all and free to participate. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 31st & February 1st, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Please take a moment to support Hilltown Families with your vote! Deadline to vote is this Wednesday, Feb 4, 12noon.

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 31st – February 6th 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 24 Community Highlights: Children’s Opera to A Cappella. Valentines to Tu B’Shevat., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

January 31st – February 6th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

SnowshoeingChildren’s OperaMuseum AdventuresValentinesTrackingTu B’ShevatSingingLocal HistoryUnderground RailroadMusicalsPreschool HighlightsParent Workshop

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. HFVS Black History Month Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. River Otters in Western MA
  3. Music About Love, Kindness & Friendship for Valentine’s Day
  4. Hilltown Families on Pinterest!
  5. George Washington Carver: A Life in Poems

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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24 Community Highlights: Children’s Opera to A Cappella. Valentines to Tu B’Shevat.

With new snow on the ground, winter is the best time of the year to go in search for animal tracks! There are several opportunities this weekend, most lead by interpretive guides and naturalists to point out signs of animal life and to interpret their findings in the context of your natural surroundings. Terrific community-based educational opportunities that utilizes our natural environment, regional species, weather and local experts. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Snowshoeing to Tracking. Children’s Opera to A Cappella. Valentines to Tu B’Shevat… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: The Araboolies of Liberty Street is a picture book by Sam Swope, about a street with lots of rules, where everything looks the same and must be a certain way. That is, until an exotic new family moves to the neighborhood, and with the help of the kids of Liberty Street, the neighborhood is changed forever. The Smith College Department of Music and the Smith College Campus School have taken this story and turned it into a children’s opera, with libretto by Constance Congdon and music by Ronald Perera. The opera will be performed on Saturday, January 31 at 4pm in Sweeney Concert Hall on the Smith College campus and the performance is free and open to the public. The one-act children’s opera stars Smith College student actors and features music by the Smith College Campus School chorus. All ages will enjoy seeing this story come to life! 144 Green Street. Northampton, MA


SnowshoeingChildren’s OperaMuseum AdventuresValentinesTrackingTu B’ShevatSingingLocal HistoryUnderground RailroadMusicalsPreschool HighlightsParent Workshop


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 24th & 25th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 24th-30th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 29 Community Highlights: Owl Moon to Porcupine Tracks. Youth Yoga to Family Volunteer Days., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

7th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap

January 17th-23rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Service-Based LearningAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryLocal FoodYoga for YouthPreschool HighlightsTransportation/TrainsParent SupportMuseum AdventuresCostume MakingFamily Fun Night

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Tu B’Shevat: New Year of the Trees
  2. Q&A: Where to Dine in Western MA for Valentine’s Day with Your Family
  3. Ice Skating in Western Massachusetts
  4. 7 Places to Downhill Ski in Western MA this Weekend!
  5. Snow Much Fun in Western Massachusetts!

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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29 Community Highlights: Owl Moon to Porcupine Tracks. Youth Yoga to Family Volunteer Days.

By Richard Crossley (Richard Crossley) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Come to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary to see a magical puppet show retelling of Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon on Saturday, January 24, 5pm-7pm. Learn about Massachusetts’ seven native owl species and take a walk in the winter woods to search for them. After exploring the forest, head back inside for a warm treat. Best for ages 5-10. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)

Owl Moon to Porcupine Tracks. Youth Yoga to Whalemobile. Family Volunteer Days to Family Fun Night… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Search for tracks and sign of fisher and porcupine at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center on Saturday, January 24, 1pm-4pm. Hike the trails on snowshoe and learn about track patterns and tips for observing prints. Studying animal tracks is a good way to learn about animal behavior, since tracks tell you exactly where the animal has been. Beginner snowshoers are welcome, but participants should be able to comfortably snowshoe two miles. Call for more info and to register. Please pre-register. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)


Service-Based LearningAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryLocal FoodYoga for YouthPreschool HighlightsTransportation/TrainsParent SupportMuseum AdventuresCostume MakingFamily Fun Night


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Beat Winter Doldrums by Taking on a Second Skin!

Free Costume Workshops to Prepare for Fire and Ice: Wild at Heart Art Walk

This year’s Fire and Ice Art Walk Easthampton invites all to beat the winter doldrums by taking on a “second skin” in the form of animals, beasts, and creative creatures. The Fire and Ice: Wild at Heart Art Walk is inspired by such traditions as Fasnacht, where communities wear costumes meant to scare off old-man winter and wish for spring to near.

This Art Walk will include costume contests, performances, exhibitions and more. All are invited to make wearable art at workshops or elsewhere and join in festivities as part of Art Walk on February 14, 2015. Two upcoming free workshops include Wearable Arts Costume and Body Puppet: Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 17th & 18th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 17th-23rd, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 28 Community Highlights: Monet to Manga. Minecraft to Aircraft., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

7th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap

January 17th-23rd, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Outdoor Adventures  ♦ SnowshoeingLocal History  ♦ GraveyardsWorld MusicPeople’s MusicPuppetryFairy TalesService-Based LearningMLK DayAnime/MangaScienceLocal FoodBackyard ChickensFather GroupsParent WorkshopsArtAviationSilent FilmReading to DogsMinecraft

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Oak & Acorn: Beet Brownies
  2. Let’s Play: Favorite Reads Inspiring Creative-Free Play
  3. 20 Indoor Places to Host a Winter Birthday Party in Western MA
  4. The Ripple: How Rivers Still Flow When It’s Way Below
  5. Q&A: Nut-Free Bakeries in Western MA

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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28 Community Highlights: Monet to Manga. Minecraft to Aircraft.

Food Swap to Backyard Chickens. Monet to Manga. Minecraft to Aircraft… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: CISA’s Winter Fare happens during the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, January 17 from 9am-2pm at the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.  Come learn how to make homemade yogurt, herbal honeys and infused vinegars. Find out what it takes to keep chickens in your backyard and what your neighbors have made in their kitchens.  Bring your own home-preserved food and swap it with other participants. And see what the farmers’ have in their stalls that you can take home and prepare for your family dinner. This is a wonderful community-based learning event that incorporates collaborative consumption with food-based learning. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)


Outdoor Adventures  ♦ SnowshoeingLocal History  ♦ GraveyardsWorld MusicPeople’s MusicPuppetryFairy TalesService-Based LearningMLK DayAnime/MangaScienceLocal FoodBackyard ChickensFather GroupsParent WorkshopsArtAviationSilent FilmReading to DogsMinecraft


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Six Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2015

Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in western Massachusetts, 2015

Next week, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19th, 2015, presents families with a three-day weekend. Instead of spending your extra day off sleeping in and lazing around the house, highlight the historical significance of the holiday for your family and find a way to make it meaningful. Families can find special events and service opportunities taking place across western Massachusetts, each of which presents students with the chance to learn experientially about the history of oppression in our country, community activism, and the importance of kindness and a commitment to serve others. Here are six ways to celebrate with your community and family in meaning ways in western MA: Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 10th & 11th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 10th-16th, 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 29 Community Highlights: Winter Wildlife to Winter Sports. LEGO Clubs to Social Justice., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

January 10th-16th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Winter WildlifeOutdoor AdventuresWinter Trail DaysBonfireService-Based LearningLEGO ClubsFarmingSTEMBabysitting CourseLifestyleSocial Justice/MusicFeatured Storytimes

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. A Quick, Cozy & Nourishing Meal For the Winter Months
  2. Happy St. Knut’s Day!
  3. Snow Much Fun in Western Massachusetts!
  4. Family Volunteers Can Help Children in Transition Celebrate Their Birthdays!
  5. HFVS Underground Railroad Episode (Podcast/Radio Show)

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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