Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 28th & 29th, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 23rd-29th for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Comedy to Pottery. Sun Prints to Paleontology, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

July 23-29, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Outdoor Adventures ♦ Pottery ♦ Comedy ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ History ♦ Music Studies ♦Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Technology ♦ 3D Printing ♦ Art Studies ♦ Figure Drawing ♦ Culture Studies ♦ Science ♦ Paleontology ♦ Crafts ♦ Sun PrintsBotany

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Shake it! ASL Support & Resources in Western MA
  2. Learn About Local Food & Chemistry through Fermentation
  3. Let’s Play: Supporting Literacy & Creative-Free Play with Sock Puppets!
  4. Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education
  5. Empowering Our Girls: Inner Strength, Smarts & Resources for Girls

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38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Comedy to Pottery. Sun Prints to Paleontology.

Comedy to Pottery. Sun Prints to Paleontology. Writing to 3D Printing. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

The 10th annual Hilltown Six Pottery Tour offers families the opportunity to visit potters’ studios, see their work, learn about the process of creating pottery, and ask questions. Visit nine studios across Western Massachusetts on Saturday, July 23, 10am-5pm and Sunday, July 23, 10am-5pm. Go to the website for a map and full schedule of events on this self-guided tour. Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire county, MA. (FREE)

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

Featured community highlight this week: Celebrate African American culture at the 43rd annual “Gather-In,” in Durant Park on Saturday, July 23, 12pm-6pm, a free neighborhood festival. Organized by the Berkshire County chapter of the NAACP, this free, fun-filled community event for all ages celebrates the rich cultural traditions and deep roots of the African-American community in Berkshire County and is open to everyone. There will be games, activities, music, food, and a free children’s raffle for bikes. The second annual Jahda Classic Basketball Tournament will be held during the Gather-In. For more information call 413-464-9060. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE admission. MARKET/SALE)


Outdoor Adventures ♦ Pottery ♦ Comedy ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ History ♦ Music Studies ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Technology ♦ 3D Printing ♦ Art Studies ♦ Figure Drawing ♦ Culture Studies ♦ Science ♦ Paleontology ♦ Crafts ♦ Sun PrintsBotany


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Nature’s Patterns Reveals Mathematical Reasoning

Nature’s Patterns Reveals Mathematical Reasoning

As you gaze into the center of a flower, did you know that you’re regarding an incredible example of mathematical reasoning? Nature’s patterns, as it happens, are deeply rooted in the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio.

It’s the ultimate in a marriage between the aesthetic beauty of nature, and its mathematical base that makes it make sense. Read on to discover what a learning opportunity this is for the family to share! There are many resources on-line, in your community, and of course in your backyard to explore these theories.

Read more and see great videos in our post, Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education.

[Photo credit: (cc) Steve]

 

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Nature Centers and Events for Multi-Disciplinary Learning

Nature Centers and Events for Multi-Disciplinary Learning

Summer is a great time to get outdoors, and explore deep into the woods. Guided nature walks, and self-directed exploration of nature, can connect to many other interests. Nature centers are an essential resource for outdoor learning. For a list of Western Mass nature centers and their offerings, read our post, Local Nature Centers Connect Families to Nature Through Interpretive Programs. The following upcoming events use a love of nature as a jumping off point to encourage creative free play, environmental stewardship, and even art studies.

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Support Art Studies this Summer with Community Classes and Art Exhibits

9 Summer Opportunities for Art Studies

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

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

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 16th & 17th

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 16th-22nd for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ornithology to Upcycling. Storytelling to Circus Arts., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

July 16-22, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Ornithology ♦ Zoology ♦ Bioluminescence ♦  Music Studies ♦ Local History ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Family Theater ♦ Storytelling ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Upcycling ♦ Art Studies ♦ Drawing ♦ Service-Based Learning ♦ Circus Arts

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Time to Talk: Summer Language Stimulation
  2. Q&A: Are Your Kids Still in Diapers? What Do They Swim In?
  3. Literary Guide for Lisa Campbell Ernst’s “Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt”
  4. Local Agricultural Fairs Showcase Rich Local Heritage
  5. Oak & Acorn: Basil Pesto & Peas

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33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ornithology to Upcycling. Storytelling to Circus Arts.

Bioluminescence, emission of light by an organism, is a fascinating chemical process. It has many uses in various organisms including attracting mates, communication, defense against predators, and illumination for the purpose of sight. An upcoming Young Scientists’ Club gathering at the Gaylord Memorial Library will teach kids all about bioluminescence.

Ornithology to Upcycling. Storytelling to Circus Arts. Dance Studies to Service-Based Learning. These are just a few of the community-based 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: On Thursday, July 21, from 10am-4pm, people of all ages are invited to “Science in the Streets” at the Springfield Museums. This STEM festival, part of the Summer Spectacular family programming series, will feature exciting demonstrations by researchers and innovators. Educators and parents are encouraging children to develop or sustain an interest in STEM because many exciting career paths require STEM skills. Learn about science, technology, engineering and math at the Springfield Museums! This program is open to all ages and free with museum admission. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Children under two FREE).


Ornithology ♦ Zoology ♦ Bioluminescence ♦  Music Studies ♦ Local History ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Family Theater ♦ Storytelling ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Upcycling ♦ Art Studies ♦ Drawing ♦ Service-Based Learning ♦ Circus Arts


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10 Messy Summer Science Activities for Outside!

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

Storytelling Contest in the Berkshires Celebrates a Sense of Place

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

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

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

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

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 9th & 10th, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 9th-15th for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Figure drawing to Robotics. Snails to Architecture, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

July 9-15, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Art Studies ♦ Collage ♦ Nature Studies ♦ Invasive Species ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Invertebrates ♦ Geology ♦STEM ♦ Robotics ♦ History ♦ ArchitecturePhysics ♦YoYosLiteracy ♦ Music Studies ♦ Klezmer

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Hand Clapping Games: Summer & Schoolyard Creative Free Play that Supports Learning
  2. Thunderstorms: Those Rumbling Science Shows
  3. Sing About Science and Math
  4. The Dinner Table: Letting Go of Perfect!
  5. Literary Guide for Mildred Pitts Walter’s “Alec’s Primer”

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33 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Figure drawing to Robotics. Snails to Architecture.

African drumming performances are highly physical and visual, involving not only the movement required to play the drums but also dance and chanting. These high energy performances get people moving and feeling the beat. You catch witness African drumming as part of the 15th Annual Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Friday, July 15.

Figure drawing to Robotics. Snails to Architecture. World Music to Literacy. These are just a few of the community-based 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 highlights this week: The 12th Annual Massachusetts Regional Yo-Yo Contest at the Academy of Music Theatre will feature the best of the best Yo-Yo tricks! More than just a toy, Yo-Yos can teach kids about physics. In order to understand how a yo-yo works in the first place, it’s essential to understand potential and kinetic energy. Even young kids can learn what these terms mean just by holding and dropping a yo-yo, or witnessing someone doing so. Be amazed by physics in action, Friday, July 15, 11am-5pm. Arrive towards the end of the event to witness the very best performers. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Art Studies ♦ Collage ♦ Nature Studies ♦ Invasive Species ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Invertebrates ♦ Geology ♦ STEM ♦ Robotics ♦ History ♦ ArchitecturePhysics ♦ YoYosLiteracy ♦ Music Studies ♦ Klezmer


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Springfield Armory Reunion Offers Historical Learning Through Collective Memory

Springfield Armory Reunion Offers Historical Learning Through Collective Memory

Opened as an arsenal to support George Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War, the Springfield Armory served as a major arms manufacturing center for over two centuries. The Armory closed in 1968, becoming a National Historic Site which now provides families with opportunities to explore the intersection of local and national history.  Read the rest of this entry »

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

Volunteers play critical role in feeding our neighbors in need

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

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

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

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 2nd & 3rd, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 2nd-8th for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements, Ongoing Story Hours & Playgroups and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Contemporary Art to Cemetery Studies. Biology to Theater, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

July 2-8, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Fireworks & Parades  Art Studies ♦ STEM ♦ Rube Goldberg Machines ♦History ♦ Cemetery Walk ♦ Food ♦ Theater ♦ Sports ♦Water Skiing ♦ Music Studies ♦ Percussion ♦Placemaking ♦ Lawn ConcertsLiteracyImmigration StudiesNature ScienceHerpetologyAstronomy ♦ Collaborative Consumption

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Time to Talk: 11 Apps to Support Children’s Language Skills
  2. Pressing Plants and Flowers Supports Summer Learning & Memories
  3. Literary Guide for Lois Lowry’s “Gathering Blue”
  4. Under the Hat: Counting and Key Changes
  5. Hindsight Parenting: The Bumpy Inconsistent Emotional Journey of Parenthood

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29 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Contemporary Art to Cemetery Studies. Biology to Theater.

Check out the beautiful view around the Oxbow marina while you witness the Oxbow Water Ski Show Team build pyramids 3-4 people high, flip through the air and other more. Come see what they can do at this fast-paced water ski show. In addition to being dazzled and entertained, integrate the excitement into learning about physics by thinking deeply about water skiing and certain concepts of physics, including Newtown’s Third Law of Motion, Reynolds number, and gravity.

Contemporary Art to Cemetery Studies. Nature Science to Theater. Food History to Rube Goldberg Machines. These are just a few of the community-based 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: Marches and parades can be a form of celebration, as well as a means of demonstrating for change, or both! The first ever “Interdependence Day” parade on Saturday, July 2 at 1pm will serve as a celebration of the world we all love, as well as a call to action against gas leaks and other environmental threats. The parade will come from four directions and also feature The Expandable Brass Band, puppets, and children’s theater. Everyone is invited to march in the parade and offers an opportunity to engage in creative-free play, placemaking and learning about community environmental concerns. Arrive at noon if interested in participating, and call 413-268-3588 for information on where to meet. Downtown. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Art Studies ♦ STEM ♦ Rube Goldberg Machines ♦ History ♦ Cemetery Walk ♦ Food ♦ Theater ♦ Sports ♦ Water Skiing ♦ Music Studies ♦ Percussion ♦ Placemaking ♦ Lawn ConcertsLiteracyImmigration StudiesNature ScienceHerpetologyAstronomyCollaborative Consumption


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Invasive Species an Unlikely Catalyst for Community-Based Learning

Invasive Species an Unlikely Catalyst for Community-Based Learning

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

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

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Summer Supports Interest-Based Learning

Summer Supports Interest-Based Learning

Author and educator John Holt wrote in his book, Learning All the Time: “Children learn from anything and everything they see. They learn wherever they are, not just in special learning places.”

Even amongst parental fears about “summer learning loss,” the phenomenon of children losing academic skills and knowledge over the summer months, there are many free and inexpensive ways to encourage learning for people of all ages during the summer. What’s more- programs, workshops, and educational events in the summer can give kids outside of school the chance to direct their own learning and develop new interests! The following are a brief selection of interest-based learning opportunities for children, self-directed teens, and lifelong learners:  Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Contest Encourages Community Story Sharing

Writing Contest Encourages Community Story Sharing

Writing is a hobby which can help kids and adults in many areas of life including academics, careers, and even relationships. In general, being able to write clearly helps people work through their own thoughts and express their emotions. Writing fiction in particular can build a stronger sense of empathy. In 2013, researchers at The New School in New York City found that reading fiction helped people perform better on tests of their ability to understand what others were thinking or feeling. Writing fiction requires a similarly empathetic process of deciding what characters feel and how those feelings lead to actions.  This summer, the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield is encouraging children and young adults to foster their creative and expressive abilities through a short story writing contest this summer!

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 25th & 26th, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 25th-July 1st 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 30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pollinators to Performance Art. River Studies to Boat Racing and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

June 25-July 1, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

EntomologyHistoryPerformance ArtPlacemakingLabyrinthFitnessQuidditchLiteracyWomen’s StudiesPlant and Soil ScienceCreative Free PlaySTEMAstronomy

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education
  2. The Garden Plot: Tending Gardens & Family Learning Opportunities
  3. Let Them Grow: Creating Child Friendly Food Experience
  4. HFVS All Kinds of Families Episode with Guest DJ, Alastair Moock (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Picky Eaters, Part 1: The Root

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30 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pollinators to Performance Art. River Studies to Boat Racing.

Lavender is a plant which can teach us about local culture, farming, aromatherapy, and culinary arts. The Lavender Festival at Johnson Hill Farm will provide lots of ways for people of all ages to learn about lavender farming and production.

Pollinators to Performance Art. River Studies to Boat Racing. Yoga to Coding. These are just a few of the community-based 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 are invited to celebrate the Connecticut River and the ways in which it has impacted settlement patterns, economy, culture, and ecology. The Connecticut River Watershed Council’s River Celebration will involve river activities, food, and a presentation from naturalist speaker Laurie Sanders. On Saturday, June 25, from 9am-3pm you will have chances to tour the river, listen to live music, and celebrate nature with friends. Registration is required through the Watershed Council’s website. Brunelle’s Marina. 1 Alvord Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE).

EntomologyHistoryPerformance ArtPlacemakingLabyrinthFitnessQuidditchLiteracyWomen’s StudiesPlant and Soil ScienceCreative Free PlaySTEMAstronomy


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2016 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western Massachusetts

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

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

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

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

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: River Walks & Nature Centers

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: June Segment
Nature-Based Learning through River Walks & Nature Centers

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 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 Monday, June 20, 2016. This month Sienna and Lauren talked about intergenerational ways to engage in natural resources to support interests and education, including River Walks and Nature Centers:

Click here to view video.

Learn more about River Walks and Nature Centers in Western MA:


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be July 18th, 2016!

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Explore the Local Landscape and Local History with Hike 125

Explore the Local Landscape and Local History with Hike 125

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

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

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 18th & 19th, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with nearly 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose! New camps added every week!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 18th-24th 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 38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Physics to Folk Music. Agriculture to Road Races, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

June 18-24, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Art Studies ♦ Picture Books ♦ Literacy Biology Entomology ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Music Studies ♦ History ♦ Placemaking ♦ Sports & Recreation ♦ Skateboarding ♦ Bubble Soccer ♦ Food Culture ♦ Strawberry Fest ♦ Museum Adventures ♦ Agricultural History  ♦ Dance Studies Father’s Day

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Empowering Our Girls: Being a Role Model
  2. 4 Community Organizations that Support Learning on the River
  3. What to Play? Summer is Time to Absorb the World
  4. Hindsight Parenting: Nothing Beats Planning for the Summer
  5. Strawberries Take Center Stage in Western MA Moonlight

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38 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Physics to Folk Music. Agriculture to Road Races.

Physics to folk music. Agriculture to road races. Sculpture to strawberry festivals. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

In addition to being great exercise and a fun, social activity, skateboarding can inspire kids to become interested in science! Skateboarders performing tricks are actively engaging with scientific principles such as momentum, gravity, friction, and centripetal force.

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

Featured community highlight this week: Do you and your children enjoy learning about history through demonstrations and artwork? August 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The Springfield Armory National Historic Site is currently exhibiting an art installation in honor of the National Park Service. You can come see this exhibition and learn about American war history on Armory Day, Saturday, June 18, 10am-5pm. A full day of events will include military drills with living history reenactors, primary source documents such as WWI videos and letters, and much more. Visit the Springfield Armory National Historic Site website for a full schedule of events.413-734-8551. One Armory Square. Springfield, MA. (FREE)


Art Studies ♦ Picture Books ♦ Literacy Biology Entomology ♦ STEM ♦ Physics ♦ Music Studies ♦ History ♦ Placemaking ♦ Sports & Recreation ♦ Skateboarding ♦ Bubble Soccer ♦ Food Culture ♦ Strawberry Fest ♦ Museum Adventures ♦ Agricultural History  ♦Dance Studies


Join our stellar team supporters!
Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 11th & 12th, 2016

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

Check out our comprehensive list of summer camps with nearly 70 summer programs in and around western MA from which to choose! New camps added every week!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 11th-17th, 2016 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 44 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Stamps to Hip Hop. Jam to Bike Safety., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

June 11-17, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Architecture ♦ Ancient History ♦ Numismatics ♦ Civil Rights ♦ Sustainability ♦ Makerspace ♦ Agriculture ♦ Father’s DayHorticulture ♦ Music Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Cultural Studies ♦ Placemaking ♦ Artisan Skills ♦ Sports ♦ Strategy ♦ Art Studies ♦ Reading ♦ Parenting

Family Volunteer Days

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 14 Playgrounds Recommendations in Western MA!
  2. Learning Landscapes: Catch and Store Energy
  3. 12 Baseball Books for Kids
  4. Expressing Appreciation to Teachers & Administrators as the School Year Draws to an End
  5. 12 Tips for Live-Away Dads

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44 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Stamps to Hip Hop. Jam to Bike Safety.

Bicycling is a great sport and hobby, and a wonderful way to explore your neighborhood or other local areas on a bike trail adventure! Make sure the bike riders in your family know how to be safe riders. Participating in a bike rodeo is one great way to gain confidence and important skills.

Stamps to hip hop. Jam to bike safety. Tinkering to fencing. These are just a few of the community-based 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: Do you love to express yourself through motion, or to watch others tell a story without saying a word? Perhaps there is a dance style you’ve always wanted to try but have never had the chance? Dance is a physical and mental workout involving spatial relationship skills, coordination, and memory. Plus, it is an interesting way to communicate and a fun way to exercise! At Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, which begins on Saturday, June 11, at noon, you can try modern dance, Zumba, and hip hop. You can also watch performances by EarthDance, Berkshire Pulse, Olga Dunn Dance Company and Albany Berkshire Ballet. This all-ages community festival will also involve historic tours, storytimes, scavenger hunts and more. Visit the Jacob’s Pillow website for more information and a schedule of events. 413-243-9919. 358 George Carter Road. Becket, MA. (FREE)


Architecture ♦ Ancient History ♦ Numismatics ♦ Civil Rights ♦ Sustainability ♦ Makerspace ♦ Agriculture ♦ Father’s Day ♦ Horticulture ♦ Music Studies ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Cultural Studies ♦ Placemaking ♦ Artisan Skills ♦ Sports ♦ Strategy ♦ Art Studies ♦ Reading ♦ Parenting


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Resources for Mindfulness in Western Massachusetts

Resources for Mindfulness in Western Massachusetts

What is meditation?  Carrying different meanings in different contexts, Wikipedia defines meditation as, “a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.”  In other words, when people meditate, they are focusing their awareness on the present moment, often times to their breath, allowing thoughts to enter and pass through their awareness without attachment, constantly balancing their attention back to the present moment.

According to health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, because the brain is like a muscle which strengthens with practice, meditating can also help to exert willpower in other areas of your life. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain associated with reasoning, problem solving, impulse-control, and perseverance. Being mindful of the present moment through meditation, as well as some other activities like physical movement, sends blood to the prefrontal cortex. McGongial suggests that a regular practice of meditation could help you accomplish many other goals which require the same kind of perseverance and attention.

Mindfulness is something you can practice at any time, in any place. Still, if you don’t know anything about how to meditate or practice mindfulness, you may want to find guidance and support in the form of community-based classes or groups. Luckily, western Massachusetts is home to many organizations, courses, and sanctuaries for people to learn about and practice mindfulness. Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Camping Adventures Promote Nature-Based Play and Learning

Summer Camping Adventures Promote Nature-Based Play and Learning

Camping is one of the most classic outdoor adventures of childhood, and thanks to the wealth of state parks and forests found locally, there are endless camping adventures to be had in western Massachusetts! From exposing young campers to sleeping outside to allowing children to experience all aspects of the local landscape, camping trips are full of meaningful experiences.

The long days and warm nights of summer provide the perfect conditions for family camping, a tradition that serves as one of childhood’s most classic summer adventures. Camping trips not only allow children to learn how to live outside of their homes, but provide them with the opportunity to engage in experiential learning about their surroundings during all hours of the day (and perhaps the night, too). From afternoon playtime in the woods to an evening of fireflies and campfires to the misty early morning hours that bring endless bird songs, camping trips offer ceaseless exposure to the sights, sounds, and smells of the world. As an added bonus, children who connect with their surroundings are many times more likely to practice environmentally friendly and conservation-minded behaviors as adults. Read the rest of this entry »

Lawn Concerts Strengthen the Social Fabric of a Community via Live Music in Green Spaces

Western MA Summer Lawn Concert Series Begin for 2016

Greenfield Energy ParkPlacemaking is a practice and a philosophy. It is an approach to both the creation and use of public spaces, aiming to promote the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Events which support placemaking, such as parades, festivals, outdoor film screenings, and lawn concerts, draw people together and strengthen a connection to neighbors via community spaces.

Some outdoor music series are already underway in parts of western Massachusetts, while others are just around the corner. Concerts on town commons and other outdoor, public areas encourage people to share the space, enjoy family dinner alfresco, and take in live music. These are family-friendly, intergenerational events as well as opportunities to meet and support local musicians. Find one near you, BYO family dinner & blanket, and get ready to take in the sweetness of a summer evening as live music lofts through the air. Read the rest of this entry »

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