47 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Bald Eagles to Bobcats. Makerspace to Meteorology.

Nordic skiing is a unique was to enjoy your local landscape in the winter months. During school vacation week, Notchview in Windsor offers instruction for children under age 14 Both classical and skating instruction are being offered and ski rentals are available. Call ahead!

Bald Eagles to Bobcats. Makerspace to Meteorology. Seed Swap to Chocolate. 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 weekSaturday Morning Music Party: Sat., Feb 13, 10am-12noon in Easthampton! Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER)


Birds of PreyOrnithologyCitizen ScienceTrackingCynologyAnimal StudiesWinter FestivalsMakerspaceAviationChemistryPhysicsArt StudiesArt HistoryMuseum AdventuresCollaborative ConsumptionSeed SwapFood HistoryIce HarvestingCivil WarSportsDance StudiesService-Based LearningFood SecurityFilm StudiesMusic StudiesCreative-Free Play


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Presidents’ Day Invites Studies of Democracy and Freedom

Presidents’ Day Invites Studies of Democracy and Freedom

From the birth of George Washington to the four freedoms outlined by FDR, upcoming opportunities for community-based learning offer Presidents’ Day-inspired ways to explore democracy, freedom, and American history.

Officially known as Washington’s Birthday by the federal government, Presidents’ Day comes every year on the third Monday of February. Once upon a time, Presidents’ Day was celebrated every February 22nd – the true birthday of George Washington. However, thanks to Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, Presidents’ Day is celebrated on a Monday (along with a handful of other holidays) so as to allow workers more three-day weekends. In addition to an extra day off, Presidents’ Day offers families opportunities to explore democracy and the freedoms that it allows us to enjoy.

At The Clark Art Institute , families can enjoy five days’ worth of celebration, presidential portraits, and hands-on art-making in honor of Presidents’ Day. From Monday, February 15th through Friday, February 19th, The Clark will have Washington-themed art and activities from 1-4pm. Families can visit to see an iconic portrait of George Washington, and can try their hand at re-designing a dollar bill, taking patriotic photos in a photo booth, and taking the first steps to plan their very own presidential campaign. Through the activities offered, families can explore George Washington as an American icon and can use art-making as a means of reflecting their understanding of his impact and importance within American history.

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Art, Music, Engineering & Science Through the Lens of Creative Free Play

10 Days of Play Blends Art, Music, Engineering, and Science Through Creative Free Play

Play in any form is good for the human brain, and the Berkshire Museum is offering a week and a half of play-based learning during the 4th annual Ten Days of Play event! Blending hands-on activities and play-based learning with musical performances, gallery shows, zoology, engineering, architecture, and fine art, this exciting event offers a myriad of exciting opportunities to engage in creative free play and the meaningful learning that such activities promote.  Read the rest of this entry »

Silent Film-and-Music Pairings Highlight Art of Filmmaking

Silent Film-and-Music Pairings Highlight Art of Filmmaking

Pairing original music with decades-old films, two upcoming events spotlight the true art of filmmaking. Screenings of two vastly different silent films will be accompanied by original scores created by Alloy Orchestra – offering two unique opportunities for older learners to explore the art of filmmaking.

A winter of community-based opportunities for film studies continues here in western Massachusetts, with opportunities to enjoy and learn about the art of silent film coming to the Pioneer Valley and Berkshires. Adding to an already healthy dose of local opportunities for film studies, two more upcoming events spotlight the true artistry of film and highlight the intersection of music and film, allowing original scores to accompany silent films.

The first of these two such events is a special screening of classic film, The Son of the Sheik. Shown with live accompaniment from the Alloy Orchestra, the screening will feature the recently digitally remastered version of the 1926 original classic. Starring Rudolph Valentino, known as the first great lover of the silver screen, the movie is touted as one of the best love stories in film (and is, appropriately, going to be shown on Valentine’s Day!). Alloy Orchestra’s original score will add to the grandeur of the film, blending the sounds of a collection of surprising instruments to create a score created just for the film. After the screening, audience members can choose to stay for a Five College film and music master class, in which Alloy Orchestra will outline their compositional process. The screening is part of the Northampton Center for the Arts’ Four Sundays in February series, and will take place at 2pm on Sunday, February 14th at the Academy of Music.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Winter Festivals in Western MA

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: February Segment
Winter Festivals in Western Massachusetts

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, February 8th, 2016 with Sienna and Seth talking about explorations of New England culture in February during the season of winter festivals while engaging in community-based learning opportunities:

View the video above to learn about upcoming winter festivals and check out our list in our post Winter Festival Season 2016 in Western MA!

This Saturday, February 13th during the Easthampton WinterFest, join us from 10am-12pm at Flywheel for a Saturday Morning Music Party!


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 Monday, March 14th, 2016!

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 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

Mark your calendars and join us next Saturday, February 13, for another Saturday Morning Music Party at Flywheel in Easthampton!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 6th-12th, 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 40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Caramelization to Lunar New Year. Mardi Gras to Hip Hop., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of  Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

February 6th-12th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Mardi GrasWinter CarnivalIce ArtComputer ScienceHackathonFilmFood ScienceTrackingLocal FoodFood SwapChinese New YearLocal HistoryScience HistoryIce HarvestingSTEMTheaterAnimal StudiesOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresBlack History MonthArt StudiesMusic StudiesParenting WorkshopsParents’ Night Out

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

  1. HFVS African Music Episode with Guest DJ, Jay Sand (Podcast/Radio Show)
  2. Open Sesame: Celebrating Black History with Children’s Picture Books
  3. HFVS Love Episode with Guest DJ, Alex Mitnick (Radio Show/Podcast)
  4. Q&A: Intergenerational Opportunities in Western MA
  5. DIY: How to Make Swedish Paper Hearts 

 

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40 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Caramelization to Lunar New Year. Mardi Gras to Hip Hop.

Have you ever wondered what makes  caramel chewy? Chemistry! This chewy consistency is due to a chemical reaction that occurs when milk is added to hot sugar syrup. Now, can you identify which molecules of milk (protein? fat?) or why sugar and not salt contribute to this chemical reaction? Support an interest in chemistry, pastry arts and food science by learning the basics of caramelization from chef and author Bill Collins in the Learner’s Lab at the Berkshire Museum this weekend. Go curious and ask questions! And then make plans to cook up some chewy caramel covered pastries when you get home… making your kitchen your very own chemistry lab!

Caramelization to Food Swap. Lunar New Year to Theater Shorts. Cougars to Crows. Mardi Gras to Black History Month. Acapella to Hip Hop. .. 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: The town of Greenfield‘s 94th Annual Winter Carnival brings indoor and outdoor fun to locations across town, Friday, February 5 – Sunday, February 7! A tradition for nearly a century, Winter Carnival includes everything from traditional winter activities like the Cardboard Classic sled race and ice carving to a chili cook-off and a road race for the hardiest of runners. The event begins on Friday, February 5th with ice carving downtown, the annual Parade of Lights, and a fireworks display! Ongoing weekend events at Beacon Field include skating, sledding, the creation of a snowman village, a snow sculpture contest, a winter-themed story walk, and marshmallow roasting by the warming fire. 413-772-1553. 20 Sanderson Street, Greenfield, MA. (<$ SUGGESTED DONATION)


Mardi GrasWinter CarnivalIce ArtComputer ScienceHackathonFilmFood ScienceTrackingLocal FoodFood SwapChinese New YearLocal HistoryScience HistoryIce HarvestingSTEMTheaterAnimal StudiesOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresBlack History MonthArt StudiesMusic StudiesParenting WorkshopsParents’ Night Out


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Chinese New Year Brings Opportunities for Cultural Studies

Chinese New Year Brings Opportunities for Cultural Studies

Ringing in the year of the fire monkey, Chinese New Year takes place this year on February 8, 2016. By exploring Chinese art, food, music, and traditions, families can gain background knowledge to support participation in regional celebrations of the lunar holiday.

If New Year’s Eve was actually a full two weeks worth of celebrating, what elements would you add to the event? Besides ringing in a new calendar year, we often spend a little bit of time reflecting on the past year and making plans for bettering ourselves during the coming one when New Year’s Eve rolls around. But what if the celebration lasted for fifteen days instead of just a single one!? With more time dedicated to beginning a new year, what parts of local culture would you like to have as a part of the celebration?

After a family brainstorm of your ideal two-week New Year’s celebration, explore the traditions of the Chinese New Year and compare. Celebrations of the Chinese New Year do, in fact, cover a full fifteen days. And it’s second name – the Lunar New Year – explains why it takes place after our own calendars have already rolled over to the next year.

The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, meaning that the date indicates both the current moonphase and the time of the solar year. Because of this, the Chinese New Year takes place on a different date on our own calendars each year, and is always held between a month and a month and a half after our own January 1st New Year’s celebration. In 2016, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated beginning on February 8th, and will honor the year of the fire monkey.

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 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

Cast your vote by 12noon, Feb 3!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 30th-February 5th, 2016 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Deadline to sign up: Jan 30 by 12midnight.

Also check our weekly column,  Learn Local. Play Local. for 42 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Canines to Insects. Trains to Timber. Russian Folktales to Winter Camping., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of  Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 30th-February 5th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Museums AdventuresCynologyEntomologyTrainsSocial Emotional LearningCreative-Free PlayColonial HistoryHistorical TradesIce HarvestingStorytellingOutdoor AdventuresIce FishingSports HistoryWorld StudiesDance StudiesWinter CelebrationsMusic StudiesCulture StudiesParenting SkillsWomen’s StudiesTextile ArtsRefugee StudiesPaleontologyInclusion

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Birding in Winter Offers Great Reward
  2. Words of Winter Wisdom for Life in Western MA
  3. 20 Recommendations for Staying Entertained Inside on a Snow Day!
  4. Keeping Warm & Safe When It’s Extremely Cold!
  5. Science & Fun of Chain Reactions

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42 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Canines to Insects. Trains to Timber. Russian Folktales to Winter Camping.

Model railroad fans from throughout New England and beyond come together this weekend to share their passion for trains of all sizes at the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern States Exposition. A great intergenerational hobby, model trains can support a variety of interests, from history to carpentry to economics to set design. Come curious and ask questions! West Springfield, MA. ($-$$)

Canines to Insects. Trains to Timber. Russian Folktales to Winter Camping… 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:  Kicking off winter festival season is The Art Garden’s outdoor Winter Celebration on Saturday, January 30, 4pm-8pm. A celebration of local art and the collective experiences of winter (both literally and metaphorically), this special event includes both indoor and outdoor elements. In the rail yard just outside The Art Garden, families will find creative winter-inspired installations and participatory art pieces, as well as (weather permitting) a fire around which to gather and bask in the contrast between the light of fire and the chill of winter. Indoors, the Winter Celebration brings an opening reception for Winter, a community exhibit centered around its namesake and offering families the opportunity to explore the many different creative representations and interpretations of winter. 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street, Suite 2, Shelburne Falls, MA.


Museums AdventuresCynologyEntomologyTrainsSocial Emotional LearningCreative-Free PlayColonial HistoryHistorical TradesIce HarvestingStorytellingOutdoor AdventuresIce FishingSports HistoryWorld StudiesDance StudiesWinter CelebrationsMusic StudiesCulture StudiesParenting SkillsWomen’s StudiesTextile ArtsRefugee StudiesPaleontologyInclusion


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Winter Festival Season 2016 in Western MA

It’s no secret that winter here in western Massachusetts can be tough on both body and soul. The daylight hours are short, the temperatures are low, and it’s tough to truly enjoy the outdoors. This year in particular, the lack of snow has made enjoying the wintry landscape more difficult than usual: many of our usual body-moving, energy-expending activities are less-than-ideal without at least a good six inches of the fluffy white stuff. Luckily, winter festival season is upon us! Throughout the upcoming month, communities all over western Massachusetts will rally for celebrations of all kinds, both indoors and out. Opportunities for play and learning will abound at these seven upcoming community celebrations! Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Handmade Valentine Swap

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: January Segment
Handmade Valentine Swap Filled with Values & Learning

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, January 25th, 2016 with Sienna and Ashley talking about Hilltown Families upcoming Handmade Valentine Swap and how it can support community values and learning:

Sign your family up for the 8th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap by Jan 30, 2016 and get ready to make and receive 10 handmade valentines with families from around the region.  Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 23rd & 24th, 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

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 23rd-29th, 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 45 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ice Harvesting to Quantum Physics. MakerSpace to Ballet., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 23rd-29th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Animal StudiesNature StudiesHikingDendrologySnow SportsAdaptive SportsSocial JusticeCanadian StudiesColonial HistoryIce HarvestingLocal HistoryHuman StudiesWorld HistoryBalletMakerSpaceQuantum PhysicsComputer CodingMusic StudiesUpcyclingQuiltingLiteracyPhilosophyCommunity ConnectionsCommunity MealParenting SkillsTheater StudiesOpera

Family Volunteer Days

 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. Greenfield’s Museum of Our Industrial Heritage New Web Exhibits
  3. From Neighborhood Grocer to the Modern Supermarket
  4. 5 Ways Springfield Shaped the Art of Dr. Seuss
  5. HFVS Underground Railroad Episode (Podcast/Radio Show)

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45 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ice Harvesting to Quantum Physics. MakerSpace to Ballet.

Animal Adaptations to Phenology. Shakespeare to Paddington Bear. Classical Piano to Hip Hop.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 weekArtZoo opens at the Berkshire Museum this weekend. Set out on an adventure at this family-friendly exhibition that explores a magnificent menagerie of creatures portrayed in photograph, painting, sculpture, ceramic, video, and more! Grouped by species, as in a real zoo, ArtZoo at the Berkshire Museum features wild animals from every corner of the world. Scientific specimens – a pair of real sea turtles, a life-size ostrich skeleton, and enormous 10-inch eggs – provide an unmatched visual and educational experience. Interactive activities like Animal Yoga, a live monitor lizard, games, and a zoo quest are also included. Visitors of all ages will marvel at the variety of ways artists have chosen to portray animals. Since many of the objects are from the Museum’s permanent collection, ArtZoo provides a fun and unique opportunity to view some of these rarely seen items. The exhibit begins on January 23, 2016 and will be on display through May 1, 2016 at the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE W/ADMISSION)


Animal StudiesNature StudiesHikingDendrologySnow SportsAdaptive SportsSocial JusticeCanadian StudiesColonial HistoryIce HarvestingLocal HistoryHuman StudiesWorld HistoryBalletMakerSpaceQuantum PhysicsComputer CodingMusic StudiesUpcyclingQuiltingLiteracyPhilosophyCommunity ConnectionsCommunity MealParenting SkillsTheater StudiesOpera


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Saturday Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel During Easthampton WinterFest

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids!  Beginning the series with a New Year’s Day Music Party that was our best party to date, we will be continuing on Saturday, February 13 during Easthampton WinterFest, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton.

During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, families can craft handmade valentine’s with the Easthampton Family Center while enjoying a new performance with our special guests, Scotty Swan Puppet Co. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Save on the babysitter and shake off the winter blues with a Morning Music Dance Party!

These Morning Music Parties are a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun! Read the rest of this entry »

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

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 2nd-8th, 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 27 Community-Based Educational Highlights, our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 16th-22nd, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Collaborative ConsumptionFood SwapFilm StudiesAnimal StudiesVisual ArtsBotanyOrnithologyCivil RightsMartin Luther King, Jr. DaySTEMCulinary ArtsNutritionCommunity MealPhilosophyClassic LiteratureCultural TraditionsTu B’ShevatArts & CraftsSkillsharingOutdoor AdventuresAdaptive ActivitiesParenting SkillsADHD

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Buy Nothing Project: Creating a Sustainable Sharing and Caring Economy
  2. Open Sesame: 7 Picture Books That Celebrate Winter’s Whimsy
  3. Classics Come On Line To Thrill Audio Book Lovers
  4. Western MA Planetariums and Online Resources for Space Studies
  5. 10 Tips on Setting Technology Limits for Your Family

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31 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ghandi to Martin Luther King. Cultural Traditions to Adaptive Activities.

Decomposition is an essential part of the cycle of matter on Earth. Often viewed as unpleasant or unattractive, it truly deserves positive attention! Artist Jan Ruby-Crystal appreciates the decomposition process, as evidenced in her current exhibition running January 20 through February 27, 2016 in Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Literary Adaptation to Philosophy in Literature. Moose to Bears. Ghandi to Martin Luther King. Coding to Robotics. Baking to Canning. Book Making to Sewing.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 weekMoose, the largest member of the deer family, survive winter by browsing on twigs. It’s a hard existence, and wading through deep snow makes it even more challenging. How do they do it? Dr. John E. McDonald, assistant professor of environmental science at Westfield State University, will discuss the ecology of these unusual-looking animals on a hike at the Hilltown Land Trust‘s Stevens Property, sponsored by the Trustees of Reservations.on Saturday, January 16, 10am-12noon. Wear warm clothes and appropriate footwear for walking in the snow. Alternative date in case of bad weather: 1/26. RSVP required. 413-628-4485, ext.4. Pisgah Road, Huntington, MA. (FREE)

Collaborative ConsumptionFood SwapFilm StudiesAnimal StudiesVisual ArtsBotanyOrnithologyCivil RightsMartin Luther King, Jr. DaySTEMCulinary ArtsNutritionCommunity MealPhilosophyClassic LiteratureCultural TraditionsTu B’ShevatArts & CraftsSkillsharingOutdoor AdventuresAdaptive ActivitiesParenting SkillsADHD


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New Year’s Resolution: Volunteering with Your Family

New Year’s Resolution: Volunteering

Volunteers help pack bags of food at a Brown Bag: Food for Elders distribution location.

Each day, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts relies on the hard work and dedication of our volunteers that share our vision of a Western Massachusetts where no one goes hungry and everyone has access to healthy food. Their tireless work and generous support are just one of the many “ingredients” in the recipe to end hunger.
With the need for emergency food in our region continuing to grow, it takes many hands — all working together — to help feed our neighbors in need. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 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

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 9th-15th, 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 32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Owls to Rabbits. O’Keeffe to Guggenheim. our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 9th-15th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Film StudiesOrnithologyVisual ArtArt StudiesSTEMOutdoor AdventuresNordic SkiingPerforming ArtSwimmingAnimal StudiesCulinary ArtsLanguage StudiesSpanishMindfulnessSewingMusic StudiesUS HistoryWritingParent Workshop

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. The Power of Youth Mentoring
  2. Happy St. Knut’s Day!
  3. What to Play?: Build Your Own Entertainment
  4. HFVS Take Pause to Celebrate your Flaws Episode with Guest DJ, Billy Jonas (Podcast/Radio Show)
  5. 3 Folktales for National Folktale Month

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32 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Owls to Rabbits. O’Keeffe to Guggenheim.

Berkshire Now: Peter Gordon at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, now through Feb 21, 2016

Owls to Rabbits. O’Keeffe to Guggenheim. LEGOs to Yo-Yos. Swimming to Tracking. Cooking to Sewing… 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:  With winter truly upon us here in western Massachusetts, families are gearing up for ski season! Take advantage of the many properties and trail systems catering to crosscountry skiing during the winter months. Families can find lessons, equipment rentals, and opportunities to explore the wintry landscape by tapping into local resources for crosscountry skiing! You can learn more about Nordic skiing at our post, Western MA Cross-Country Ski Resources. Make this the year your family enjoys winter outdoors!


Film StudiesOrnithologyVisual ArtArt StudiesSTEMOutdoor AdventuresNordic SkiingPerforming ArtSwimmingAnimal StudiesCulinary ArtsLanguage StudiesSpanishMindfulnessSewingMusic StudiesUS HistoryWritingParent Workshop


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Winter Brings Opportunities for Inclusive Recreation

Winter Brings Opportunities for Inclusive Recreation

Making winter recreation accessible to all, local organizations are offering a wide array of opportunities for community members of all abilities to participate in inclusive recreational opportunities. From sled hockey and skiing to basketball and bowling, children and adults of all abilities can find activities to match their interests!

‘Tis the start of the season for winter sports here in western Massachusetts – and thanks to a wide array of local resources, opportunities for recreation are available to all. Taking advantage of community resources and the local landscape, organizations from all across the state have worked to create a large network of recreational opportunities that are truly accessible to all – both indoors and out.

Western MA families can take advantage of opportunities to participate in active recreational activities within groups with diverse abilities, and can learn about and/or utilize adaptive technology through special events held by local organizations and athletic leagues.

Participation in recreational opportunities that are truly inclusive to all is a great way for families to experience diversity and to learn from the skills and life experiences of others; additionally, inclusive recreational environments help to provide opportunities for folks of varying abilities to enjoy recreational activities together.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

6 Western MA Cross-Country Ski Resources

Nordic Skiing Connects Families to the Outdoors through Local Resources

With winter truly upon us here in western Massachusetts, families are gearing up for ski season! Take advantage of the many properties and trail systems catering to cross-country skiing during the winter months, including Notchview in Windsor. Families can find lessons, equipment rentals, and opportunities to explore the wintry landscape by tapping into local resources for cross-country skiing!

With its roots lying in the snowy winters of Scandinavia, cross-country skiing has been a competitive sport since as early as the 18th century. Though cross-country techniques certainly have changed over the past two and a half centuries, the sport itself has become a winter standard all around the world. Here in western Massachusetts, cross-country skiers enjoy numerous trail systems and, generally, snow-filled winters that offer a long season of skiing within a beautiful landscape.

Distinctly different from downhill skiing in both structure and purpose, cross-country skiing utilizes much narrower skis than downhill, and uses boots that attach to skis only at the toe – thus creating a piece of equipment that is the skiing equivalent of speed skating’s clap skate. Cross country skiers strive sometimes for speed, but aim more to cover great distances than to zip through courses. Of course, competitive cross-country skiing combines both of these elements (top speeds and long trails), but recreational skiing emphasizes distance rather than speed.

Accessible to skiers of all ages and abilities, cross-country skiing is a favorite winter activity locally. Skiers young, old, inexperienced, and expert can take advantage of local trail systems, equipment rentals, classes, and special community events in order to experience the magic that cross-country skiing adds to a western Massachusetts winter!  Read the rest of this entry »

8th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap for Western MA Families

Hilltown Families 8th Annual
Community Handmade Valentine Swap

Hilltown Families 8th Annual Community Handmade Valentine Swap! Free to sign up and open to all in Western MA. Deadline to sign up: Jan 30th. Join us!

It’s that time of the year again! For the past eight years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. Sign up below!  It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts!

A handmade valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts.  Through the swap, participating families mail out handmade valentines to ten assigned addresses, and in return, they receive handmade valentines from ten other participating families.  The cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if you’re kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility.  All are welcomed!

Deadline to sign up (below) is Saturday, January 30th. On Monday (2/1/16), you will be emailed your assigned names/address of participants to mail your handmade valentines to.  Everyone is kindly requested to mail your valentines off by Feb. 7th.

If interested in participating, the information below must be filled out and submitted by Saturday, January 30th.  If you have multiple children and would like each one to receive their own list of families to swap with, please register each person separately. Click here to sign up!

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 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

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for January 2nd-8th, 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 27 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ice Skating to Cross-Country Skiing. West African Textiles to Silk History. our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our list of Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 2nd-8th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Local FoodIce SkatingNordic SkiingWinter SportsArt StudiesEarly LiteracyStorytelling ArtsTextile ArtsCultural TraditionsSTEAMFamily Films

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

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27 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Ice Skating to Cross-Country Skiing. West African Textiles to Silk History.

Cross-country skiing opportunities in our area abound! Here’s a starter list, but there are many more, including, perhaps, some of the fields near your own home!

Ice Skating to Cross-Country Skiing. American Art to Storytelling Arts. West African Textiles to Silk History… 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:  People have been skating on ice for many hundreds of years, although this “early” skating was pragmatic rather than recreational. “Skate” is derived from the Dutch word “schaats,” which means leg bone, as the first skates were simply lengths of animal bone strapped to the bottom of boots. When wood, and then iron, blades were introduced as a replacement to bone, skaters gained more control and speed, and skating for sport and fun began to rise. Our local skating culture traces its roots to Scottish immigrants, who brought skates with them when they resettled in the U.S.  Whether you like to skate slow or fast, practice turns or hold onto the wall as you go, there’s fun to be had on an ice skating rink for all.


Local FoodIce SkatingNordic SkiingWinter SportsArt StudiesEarly LiteracyStorytelling ArtsTextile ArtsCultural TraditionsSTEAMFamily Films


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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Ringing in the New Year

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: December Segment
New Year’s Eve in Western MA

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, December 28th, 2015 with Sienna and Ashley talking about value-based ways of celebrating the new year with community celebrations and traditions that strengthen a sense of place:

Read more about New Year’s Eve celebrations in our post, New Year’s Eve Community Celebrations Support a Sense of Place Through Social Connections, and a featured New Year’s Day event in our post, New Year’s Day Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective.


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 in January 2016!

New Year’s Eve Community Celebrations Support a Sense of Place Through Social Connections

Community Celebrations of the New Year Offer Deeply Embedded Learning Opportunities


As 2015 comes to a close, opportunities arise for families to engage with their communities in meaningful ways. Communities across western Massachusetts hold special celebratory events of many kinds, offering families opportunities to share in the joy of celebrating all that has happened in the past year and to learn about and reflect on the ways in which we celebrate.  Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 26th & 27th, 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 December 26th, 2015-January 1st, 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 26 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Physiology to Physics. Marionettes to Guided Hikes. our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our comprehensive list of Holiday Events for Families in Western MA.

December 26, 2015-January 1st, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Science FictionBird StudiesPuppetsOutdoor Adventures ♦ First Day HikesFilm StudiesChoral MusicContemporary ArtPhysicsIce SkatingCarouselMagicMuseum AdventuresPhysiologyArts & CraftsMusic StudiesDance Party

Family Volunteer Days

 RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

  1. Christmas Morning Clean-up: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
  2. The Little Drummer Boy: A Story of Humanity & Kindness
  3. Citizen Scientist Opportunity: Snowtweets
  4. New Year’s Resolution… To Enjoy Life!
  5. Q&A: 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

 

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26 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Physiology to Physics. Marionettes to Guided Hikes.

Dance Party to Fairy Tales. Marionettes to Guided Hikes. Physiology to Physics. 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:  Are you someone who always picks a horse on the inside of the carousel, or do you ride one on the outside? All merry-go-round horses make one complete circle in the same amount of time, but the interior horses travel a much shorter distance in that time than the outer ones do, resulting in very different linear speeds. And what happens when you choose a stationary horse versus one that gallops up and down? Experience the fun of physics by bringing your kids, or grandkids, for a ride on the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round. Known as “Holyoke’s Happiness Machine,” the antique carousel with brightly painted wooden animals and calliope music is a sensory treat for young and old. It was once part of Mountain Park, an amusement park on the side of Mt. Tom, and was moved to Holyoke Heritage Park when Mountain Park closed in 1987. It will be open during school vacation week, Monday-Wednesday 12pm-4pm and Thursday 10am-4pm. 413-538-9838. 221 Appleton Street, Holyoke, MA. (<$)


Science FictionBird StudiesPuppetsOutdoor AdventuresFirst Day HikesFilm StudiesChoral MusicContemporary ArtPhysicsIce SkatingCarouselMagicMuseum AdventuresPhysiologyArts & CraftsMusic StudiesDance Party


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


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