Astronomy Learning this Leading Up to the Autumnal Equinox… and Beyond!

Astronomy Learning this Leading Up to the Autumnal Equinox… and Beyond!

An interest in studying astronomy can develop from an interest in mathematical calculation, or a simple appreciation for the beauty of the sky. Observing the stars can be an act of scientific or spiritual curiosity, or both. While some people lament the shorter days of fall and winter, longer nights provide more chances to learn about astronomy through observations of the night sky!  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 20th & 21st, 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 August 20th-26th, 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 41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 20-26, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

 Agriculture ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Local History ♦Woodworking ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Guided Nature Walks ♦ Foraging ♦ Music Studies ♦ Automotive ♦ Car ShowZoology ♦ Bird Language ♦ Opera ♦ Art Studies ♦ Culture Studies

Family Volunteer Days

 

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Illustration History: Online Educational Resource & Archive for the Art of Illustration
  2. What to Play?: 25 Undone Family Summer Fun Ideas
  3. Sewing Skills Connect Local Culture, Local History, and Self-Sufficiency
  4. 11 Ideas for Creative Free Play
  5. 16 Picture Books That Celebrate Apples!

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Recap Map is sponsored in part by Hampshire Shakespeare Company.

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41 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking.

Explore local rivers and ponds at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, and learn about the role beavers play in our local ecosystem. This program is suitable for ages three and up. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA.(<$)

Local History to Car Shows. Agriculture to Woodworking. Writing to Foraging. 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: In honor of the National Parks Service centennial, you can participate in a guided hike on Thursday, August 25, 9:30am-12pm to learn about the history of America’s State and National Parks. Learn about the forces which shaped, protected, and preserved these national resources on a three mile hike. This hike will go over moderate terrain and take approximately three hours. The event is appropriate for ages twelve and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Mount Holyoke Range State ParkMeet at the Notch Visitors Center. Please bring water, bug spray, and sunscreen and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. 413-253-2883. 1500 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


 Agriculture ♦ Literacy ♦ Writing ♦ Local History ♦ Woodworking ♦ Dance Studies ♦ Guided Nature Walks ♦ Foraging ♦ Music Studies ♦ Automotive ♦ Car ShowZoology ♦ Bird Language ♦ Opera ♦ Art Studies ♦ Culture Studies


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Accessible Outdoor Trails in Western MA

Accessible Outdoor Trails in Western MA

With the last stretch of summer upon us and fall around the corner, there are still tons of outdoor activities to take part in! Both summer and fall are great seasons for walking and hiking on trails and mountains. Did you know that the Pioneer Valley is home to a number of trails which are designed for persons with disabilities?  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 13th & 14th

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 August 13th-19th, 2016 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 monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 13-19, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Family Volunteer Days

 

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Our Growing Roots: Real Food, Real Connection
  2. Learning Landscapes: Development of Self-Regulation
  3. Literary Guide for George Ella Lyon’s “The Outside Inn”
  4. HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. People-Watching! Supporting Language Arts, Theater & Community Awareness

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Language Learning Resources in Western MA

Language Learning Resources in Western MA

Learning a second language is a fun and exciting challenge for the brain. Since learning a second language is easiest during early childhood, language learning can be the perfect intergenerational pursuit for parents who want to expand their knowledge. Fluency in more than one language opens up career opportunities, as well as the ability to converse easily with a greater number of people, both at home and when traveling. But with over 3000 languages, how do you pick which one to learn?

“Over the course of human history, thousands of languages have developed from what was once a much smaller number,” writes TED-Ed. “How did we end up with so many? And how do we keep track of them all? Alex Gendler explains how linguists group languages into language families, demonstrating how these linguistic trees give us crucial insights into the past.”

Click here to view the full lesson.  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 6th & 7th, 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 August 6th-12th, 2016 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 37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Entomology to Puppetry. Geology to Jazz Studies, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

August 6-12, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Geology  ♦ Cultural Studies ♦Music Studies ♦ Jazz Studies ♦ Art Studies ♦ Panoramic Drawing ♦ Architecture ♦ History ♦ Storytelling ♦ Literacy ♦ Puppetry ♦ Agriculture ♦ Outdoor Adventures ♦ Wild Plant Walk 

Family Volunteer Days

 

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FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 4 Outdoor Adventures for Exploring Geology and Local History
  2. Journal-Making: Creative Outlet for Bringing Family Together
  3. Literary Guide for Mem Fox and Kathryn Brown’s “Tough Boris”
  4. Open Sesame: 4 Summer Bedtime Stories
  5. The Good Life: Summertime Downtime

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37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Entomology to Puppetry. Geology to Jazz Studies.

People of all ages can learn about dragonflies and butterflies at Lime Kiln Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday, August 7, 9am-11am. Bring your favorite field guide and binoculars. Wear sturdy shoes and bring insect repellent. Call 413-637-0320 to register. Silver Street. Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Entomology to Puppetry. Geology to Jazz Studies. Literature to Panoramic Drawing. 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:  You can learn about New England history and local Native American culture at the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival! This all ages event, on Saturday, August 6, 11am-7pm, will include live music, drumming, dancing, storytelling, and native crafts. Spiritual teachings by Native American elders will offer further insight into a fascinating culture. This event is part of the Nolumbeka Project. Unity Park Waterfront. First Street. Turners Falls. (FREE)


Zoology ♦ Entomology ♦ Geology  ♦ Cultural Studies ♦ Music Studies ♦ Jazz Studies ♦ Art Studies ♦ Panoramic Drawing ♦ Architecture ♦ History ♦ Storytelling ♦ Literacy ♦ Puppetry ♦ Agriculture ♦ Outdoor Adventures ♦ Wild Plant Walk 


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Inspiration for Aspiring Woodworkers & Blacksmiths

Inspiration for Aspiring Woodworkers & Blacksmiths

The annual Woodworking and Age of Iron weekend at Hancock Shaker Village provides opportunities to learn about not only woodworking, blacksmithing and sculpture, but also history and photography, through demonstrations.

Blacksmithing has been around for many centuries, dating back to the Iron Age, and is the practice of forging metal for practical or decorative purposes.

Along side carpentry, both artisan skills not only build furniture, but all sorts of artistic and functional works, including instruments.

Thus, an interest in carpentry can intersect with music studies and art. Building your own furniture can also be part of a wider homesteading lifestyle.

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 30th-31st, 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 30th-August 5th 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 37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Guided Nature Walks to Literacy. Sports to History, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

July 30-August 5, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

ZoologyChiropterologyGuided Nature WalkArt StudiesEarth ScienceOceanographyCircus Arts ♦ UpcyclingMusic StudiesHistoryWitchcraft ♦ SportsLiteracyCreative Free PlaySustainabilityDance Studies

Family Volunteer Days

RECAP

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. The Good Life: Summertime Downtime
  2. Soup’s On: Picky Eaters, Part 2
  3. When Dinosaurs Walked…Western Mass
  4. Journal-Making: Creative Outlet for Bringing Family Together
  5. Monarch Butterflies: The Life & Science

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37 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Guided Nature Walks to Literacy. Sports to History.

Mr. Vinny: The Bubble Guy will be at the Springfield Museums with his gigantic bubble wants and jokes. This program is free with museum admission. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Children under two FREE)

Guided Nature Walks to Literacy. Sports to History. Sustainability to Music Studies. 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: People of all ages are invited to Wild Woods Walk at Mount Holyoke Range State Park on Sunday, July 31, 2pm-3pm. A park interpreter will teach you about the plants and animals that call the park home. You will learn how to recognize some of them by sight and sound. Meet at the Notch Visitors Center. 413-253-2883. 1500 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


ZoologyChiropterologyGuided Nature WalkArt StudiesEarth ScienceOceanographyCircus ArtsUpcyclingMusic StudiesHistoryWitchcraftSportsLiteracyCreative Free PlaySustainabilityDance Studies


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5 Ways to Explore Science with the Summer Sun

Hands-On Sun Science

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

ABOUT THE SUN

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

Historical Learning through Swordfighting

Swords Opens Up Opportunities for Historical Learning

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

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

RECAP

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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Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

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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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Become a sponsor of Learn Local. Play Local. and see your banner here:


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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Support Art Studies this Summer with Community Classes and Art Exhibits

9 Summer Opportunities for Art Studies

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

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

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

RECAP

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 »

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