27 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Peace Movements to Microbiology. Service-Learning to Ecology.

Winter is a great time to learn new recipes, and cook warm comfort foods for friends and family. Bring your favorite soup to the Buckland Public Library for Winter Soup night on Tuesday, January 24, 5:30pm-7pm! Guests may bring bread, cheese and other tidbits. All are welcome. 413-625-8541. 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Celtic Mythology to Microbiology. Sound Waves to Chinese New Year. Peace Movements to Fiber Arts. Tracking to Townshend Acts. 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:  Hilltown Families will be hosting a new Service-Learning Micro-Event Series featuring “Acts of Kindness” volunteer stations for families at multiple locations this winter, beginning on Saturday, January 21, 10am – 2pm! This series is modeled after our larger community-service events, with a shift towards smaller micro-volunteer opportunities through the spring at community events, including winter farmers’ markets, in the hopes that these smaller volunteer opportunities will allow us to engage new audiences with service-learning opportunities! The first Service-Learning Micro-Event will take place at the Amherst Winter’s Farmers’ Market in the Amherst Regional Middle School. Families will have an opportunity to stop by a pop-up volunteer station anytime between 10am-2pm to create handmade valentines to be distributed to seniors in the community. 170 Chestnut Street. Amherst, MA. (VOLUNTEER)


KindnessVolunteeringOrnithologyGuided HikesFilm StudiesMuseum AdventuresSTEMMakerspaceCultural StudiesConstitutional LawCivic EngagementHerpetologyTextilesGamesIntergenerationalMeteorologyDance StudiesNew England HistoryPolitical ScienceLiteracyCommunity MealsArt StudiesArchitecture


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Ice Harvesting: Community Events & Resource

Ice Harvesting: Community Events & Resource

Throughout the winter, check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for community events and demonstrations of ice harvesting. Here are three featured resources in Western MA to add to your itinerary:

Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge.

Fire & Ice Days is an annual celebration with ice harvesting demonstrations showing how 19th century Americans adapted their lifestyles to the cold New England winters.

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for January 14-15, 2017

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 14th – 20th, 2017 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 22 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Scutes to Scales. Social History to Music Theory., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our featured post of Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA.

Plus, check out our 9th annual Handmade Valentine Swap for families throughout the four counties of Western MA! And if that weren’t enough, we also have our next Saturday Morning Dance Party coming up on February 4, 2017 at the Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton from 10am-12pm! And finally, check out Hilltown Families’ new Service-Learning Micro-Event Series featuring “Acts of Kindness” volunteer stations for families at multiple locations this winter! The first Service-Learning Micro-Event will take place on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the Amherst Winter’s Farmers’ Market from 10am-2pm.

January 14th – 20th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

ZoologyCivic EngagementTeen AdvisoryRevolutionary WarLocal HistoryMusic StudiesAmerican HistoryCivil RightsService-Based LearningMartin Luther King, Jr.HerpetologyCulture StudiesSkillsharingCommunity MealSocial HistoryPhotographyCulinary ArtsSocial Justice

 

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22 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Scutes to Scales. Social History to Music Theory.

Playing music is a physical as well as mental process, encouraging careful listening and focus. Reading musical scores requires us to train our brain to recognize patterns and decode information. We can get our children started with exploring sound, building instruments, and creating music at the Clark Art Institute’s Music Day on Sunday, January 15. 1pm-3:30pm. In conjunction with I/O Fest this day of musical exploration will also feature performances brought to you by the Williams College Department of Music. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (Adults $; Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID FREE)

Reptiles to Shays’ Rebellion. Music Theory to Social History. MLK Day of Service to Nature Studies. Photography History to Racial Equality. 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: Have you ever heard the term “scute?” This biological term refers to an external bodily “plate,” such as a turtle’s shell, crocodile skin, and bird feet. Children and their parents are invited to learn about “Scutes and Scales” at this biologically themed nature event at the Hitchcock Center on Saturday, January 14, 10am-11am. This program is part of an ongoing Saturday Science series for children and their parents to explore natural topics through scientific activities. These events will take pace on the second Saturday of the month, through June. Call ahead to reserve your spot. 413-256-6006. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


ZoologyCivic EngagementTeen AdvisoryRevolutionary WarLocal HistoryMusic StudiesAmerican HistoryCivil RightsService-Based LearningMartin Luther King, Jr.HerpetologyCulture StudiesSkillsharingCommunity MealSocial HistoryPhotographyCulinary ArtsSocial Justice


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Annual MLK Jr. Community Celebrations in Western MA

Annual MLK Jr. Celebrations in Western MA

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against civil injustice and fought for the civil rights of black Americans. His work to create a just and peaceful society is a reminder of how important civic engagement and service is in sparking positive social change and the formation of ethical communities that champion diversity, openness, compassion, and solidarity. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, many organizations and volunteers dedicate themselves to a day of community service in honor of his commitment to social justice.

On the 3rd Monday in January, the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day offers families a three-day weekend – a treasure that can be used to engage in meaningful community-based learning opportunities. Families can take advantage of this special day honoring Dr. King’s work and lasting impact on our country by taking part in community celebrations, giving their time to be part of a day of service, or attending educational screenings and performances.  Read the rest of this entry »

9th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap for Western MA Families

Hilltown Families 9th Annual
Community Handmade Valentine Swap

It’s that time of the year again! For the past nine 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 your 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 Wednesday, February 1st. On Friday (2/3/17), 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 this year, the information below must be filled out and submitted by Wednesday, February 1st, 2017.  Participation is free and open to all residents living in the four counties of Western MA, including Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire & Hampden counties.

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 7-8, 2017

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 7th-13th, 2017 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 25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Meteorology to Mixed Media. Basketball to Tea., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our featured post of 2017 Winter/Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA.

January 7 – January 13, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Winter SportsNordic SkiingMindfulnessJapanese CultureLEGOSSTEMArt StudiesBasketballAnimal StudiesCivic EngagementGamesJewish CultureSleep ScienceParent SupportSkillsharingAromatherapyTheater HistoryLearning DifferencesWomen’s History

    

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25 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Meteorology to Mixed Media. Basketball to Tea.

Learn about Jewish culture through the lens of food by screening three short films at the Yiddish Book Center on Sunday, January 8, 2pm. The center will be showing In The Last Blintz, Life and Hummus, and Bagels in the Blood. These films will explore Jewish food culture from New York, to Israel and Palestine, to Montreal. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tea Ceremony to Sports History. Ornithology to Nutritional Anthropology. Aromachology to Dyslexia. 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:  Card games challenge your logical reasoning abilities, sometimes also involving mathematics and various social skills. Playing games in general is a great way to connect with your kids in a low-tech way, without screen technology. Do you or your kids like to collect card games? Kids and parents are invited to Make It Springfield to meet and play collectible card games on Sunday, January 8, 12pm-2pm. Challenge your brain by learning a new game, while meeting new families with shared interests. 168 Worthington Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)


Winter SportsNordic SkiingMindfulnessJapanese CultureLEGOSSTEMArt StudiesBasketballAnimal StudiesCivic EngagementGamesJewish CultureSleep ScienceParent SupportSkillsharingAromatherapyTheater HistoryLearning DifferencesWomen’s History


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 31, 2016 – January 1, 2017

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 31st, 2016 – January 6th, 2017 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, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

December 31, 2016 – January 1, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Calendar HistoryEcologySTEMPlacemakingLiving HistoryOutdoor AdventuresWinter SportsYo-YoPhysicsAstronomyLiteracyPlant StudiesAfrican American HistoryNew Year CelebrationsGuided Hikes Native American StudiesOrnithologyCollaborative Consumption




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19 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Guided Hikes to First Night. Dance Party to Winter Sports.

There are many ways to remain active and engaged with the outdoors during the winter. Nordic skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing are a sample of activities that allow one to get outside, stay fit, and maintain a healthy lifestyle while exploring the beauty of nature in the winter. Choosing a winter sport is not only spending time outdoors, it’s also participating in the traditions of local culture and history. Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for places to ski, skate and snowshoe in Western MA.

Gregorian Calendar to Engineering. Telescope to Owls. Snow Sports to Sweetgrass.  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 New Year’s Day, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is 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!


Calendar HistoryEcologySTEMPlacemakingLiving HistoryOutdoor AdventuresWinter SportsYo-YoPhysicsAstronomyLiteracyPlant StudiesAfrican American HistoryNew Year CelebrationsGuided Hikes Native American StudiesOrnithologyCollaborative Consumption


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Learning Ahead: Jan & Feb Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for
Western Massachusetts
Seasons: January & February

Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, a January and February cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts includes:

  • NATURE-BASED activities connect us to the land: Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, ice skating, & snowshoeing
  • VALUE based engagement on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Service-Based Learning Events & Civic Engagement
  • Learn about New England TRADITIONS: Ice Harvesting
  • African American History Month as a CATALYST for learning: Poetry, History & Art
  • Mark the SEASON by sharing & connecting: Winter Festivals & Placemaking
  • INTERGENERATIONAL engagement for Valentine’s Day: Handmade, Non-Commercial & Creative-Free Play
  • Looking through the LENS of Presidents’ Day: Freedom & Literacy
  • Discover seasonal FOOD: Winter Farmers’ Markets
  • Local HABITAT connects us to ourselves: Writing & Mindfulness

Click here to download PDF (44 pages).


Mass Humanities This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Special thank you to sponsors of this issue, including: The Trustees of ReservationsSpringfield Museums.

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2017 Winter/Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 24-25, 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 December 24th-30th, 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, cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

December 24th – 30th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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Winter Solstice Community Events

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 17-18, 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 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 27 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Winter Solstice to Dreidel. Holiday Icons to Dance Studies. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

December 17 – 23, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STEM ♦  Local HistoryArt StudiesLocal FoodDance StudiesOrnithology ♦  LiteracyNon-CommercialPlacemakingGingerbreadHoliday LightsWinter SolsticeMYO Gifts ♦  HanukkahAnimationCitizen ScienceAstronomyDreidelBakingHoliday IconsPsychologyNeuroscienceMeditation

  

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27 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Winter Solstice to Dreidel. Holiday Icons to Dance Studies.

This Sunday, December 18 at the Springfield Museums, connect with your Jewish heritage or learn about traditional Hanukkah celebrations. They will be hosting “Illuminating Gallery Activities” including dreidel games, candle rolling, and more. Participants can craft their own Star of David out of frosted paper. Decorate Suf Ganiyot, a round jelly doughnut often eaten in celebration of Hanukkah. What to make your own Suf Ganiyot (pictured here) at home? Here’s a quick and easy recipe.

Technology to Mills & Canals. Animation to Ballet. Christmas Icons to Astronmy. Dreidel to Suf Ganiyot. Psychology to Neuroscience. 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 weekThe Umass Amherst Sunwheel has attracted tens of thousands of visitors who wish to learn about solar and lunar cycles. Sunwheels, circular stone structures, are designed such that the stones line up with the locations on the horizon of the rising and setting Sun during solstices and equinoxes. On Wednesday, December 21, 7am and 3:30pm, you can witness this event during the Winter Solstice, and also learn about the seasons, the phases of the moon, the story behind the building of the sunwheel, and more. Bring questions and dress appropriately. The gatherings last about one hour and are held in all weather except rain or blizzards. Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (DONATION)


STEM ♦  Local HistoryArt StudiesLocal FoodDance StudiesOrnithology ♦  LiteracyNon-CommercialPlacemakingGingerbreadHoliday LightsWinter SolsticeMYO Gifts ♦  HanukkahAnimationCitizen ScienceAstronomyDreidelBakingHoliday IconsPsychologyNeuroscienceMeditation


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 10-11, 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 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 18 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pleasure to Cynicism. Stuffed Animals to British Christmas Traditions, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

December 10-16, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Dance Studies ♦  Environmental ScienceMusic HistoryEvolutionPleasureMYO GiftsBallet HistoryBreakfast with SantaBritish ChristmasChristmas TreesLiving HistoryToy ExchangeCommunity MealNew England Christmas HistoryPsychologyGuided WalkToysSewingPastry ArtsCynicismTheaterIrish Dance

 

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18 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Pleasure to Cynicism. Stuffed Animals to British Christmas Traditions.

What’s on your child’s wish list for this holiday season? How about sewing them their very own soft toy? The value of a soft toy incorporates not only non-commercial gift giving and creative-free play, it has psychological implications that support kindness… to themselves! Learn more in this video then engage in a service-based learning event.

Dance Studies to Evolution. Pleasure to Cynicism. Stuffed Animals to British Christmas Traditions.  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:  Add a dose of history to your holiday celebrating! The historic William Cullen Bryant Homestead will be decorated for an old-fashioned hilltown Christmas celebration, complete with carolers in the parlor, a lighting of the Christmas tree, holiday treats, and an artisan gift shop. Christmas themed celebrations will take place Saturday, December 10, 1pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm; Sunday, December 11, 1pm-4pm. For information call The Trustees at 413-628-4485 x3 or email acaluori@thetrustees.org.. 207 Bryant Road. Cummington, MA. (Members <$; Non members $; Children FREE)


Dance Studies ♦  Environmental ScienceMusic HistoryEvolutionPleasureMYO GiftsBallet HistoryBreakfast with SantaBritish ChristmasChristmas TreesLiving HistoryToy ExchangeCommunity MealNew England Christmas HistoryPsychologyGuided WalkToysSewingPastry ArtsCynicismTheaterIrish Dance


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New Year’s Day Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective

On the first day of 2017, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids!  This year we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day with a morning music party on January 1 from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA.

During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, a screening of Pancake Mountain will delight families. After the breakfast, Scotty Swan will present The Fuzznogginz Puppet Party! This will be a combination of a magic AND puppet show together in one big spectacular extravaganza! There will be lots of comedy, funny puppetry, and amazing magic combined with plenty of audience participation. Audience members are invited to come on stage to become puppeteers and learn how a puppet show works.

After the pancakes and puppets, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Start off the new year with a New Year’s Day Music Dance Party! Save on the babysitter and dance away on the first morning of the new year!

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 »

Holiday Strolls: Getting to Know the Places Around You

Holiday Strolls

During the holiday season, many communities and neighborhoods host special events that gather everyone together in the spirit of friendship, community and wonder. It’s a great way to discover the unique identity of a place and its traditions. In Western Massachusetts, each community has a distinct character and its own way to commemorate the holiday spirit. By participating in these events, not only do you have the opportunity to engage your community, but you also help to preserve local history and culture.

Towns across the region host an extended evening of activities with shops open late to encourage support of local merchants while connecting with neighbors as the days get shorter, including Shelburne Falls, Williamstown, Stockbridge and Amherst. Download our Nov/Dec issue of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts to discover more about these annual events.

Here is a list of holiday strolls happening this week: Read the rest of this entry »

DIY Holiday Gifts Promote Creative Free Play and Non-Commercial Holiday Celebrations

DIY Holiday Gifts Promote Creative Free Play and Non-Commercial Holiday Celebrations

Allowing for lots of creative free play and gift-giving that comes from the heart, handmade gifts get at the heart of the season! Families can engage in DIY projects at home, attend upcoming workshops, or utilize resources offered by local arts organizations to craft handmade gifts with love.

The holidays are upon us, and with the approach of a season of light, kindness, and appreciation of one another comes the need for giving – the sharing of gifts of all sizes serving as representation for our love and gratitude for each other. With the holidays comes an onslaught of commercialism, encouraging us to buy gifts rather than create them with love. In order to celebrate a non-commercial holiday season, families can commit to sharing appreciation for others during the holiday season by making handmade items for loved ones. Handmade gifts not only reflect the emotions behind them, but allow young creators to engage in creative free play, and provide an alternative to consumption by creating opportunities for creative reuse of items!

Gift-givers of all ages can find a treasure trove of DIY gift ideas in our archives, covering everything from scented ornaments and cards to planters and terrariums – even giftwrap is included! Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for December 3-4, 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 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 28 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Holiday Lights to Wreath Making. Theater to Singing, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

December 3-9, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Literary Adaptation ♦  Singing ♦  Gingerbread Houses ♦  Breakfast with SantaPlacemaking ♦  ConsumerismRadio TheaterPastry Arts  ♦ Gift SwapHoliday StrollsLiving HistoryTransportationCarolingLocomotionWreathsCommunity MealCraftsTree Lighting

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28 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Holiday Lights to Wreath Making. Theater to Singing.

Have you ever thought about why we decorate our Christmas trees with strands of light? Ever think about the origin of this tradition? Find out about the history of Christmas lights, then take in a community tree lighting ceremony and a drive through Forest Park in Springfield or Look Park in Florence for contemporary displays of holiday lights.

Tree Lighting to Wreaths. Consumerism to Holiday Strolls. Pastry Arts to A Christmas Carol. 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:

As the temperature drops and the skies become increasingly more grey, towns across Western Massachusetts are beginning to look more and more festive by the minute!  Leafless trees now don coats of twinkling lights, streetlights are wrapped cozily in strands of deep green garland, and bright red bows decorate wreaths – welcoming both visitors and the holiday season.  Celebrate the holiday season this year by bringing your family to one of the many holiday strolls that happen this month! your family’s holiday season this weekend by visiting one of the holiday strolls being offered!


Literary Adaptation ♦  Singing ♦  Gingerbread Houses ♦  Breakfast with SantaPlacemaking ♦  ConsumerismRadio TheaterPastry Arts  ♦ Gift SwapHoliday StrollsLiving HistoryTransportationCarolingLocomotionWreathsCommunity MealCraftsTree Lighting


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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Holiday Strolls & Community Singing

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Holiday Segment
Learning with Holiday Strolls and Caroling

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 Tuesday, November 22, 2016. In this segment, Sienna and Lauren talked about engaging and learning with holiday strolls and community singing during the holiday season.

Click on image to view video.

Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA for Nov/Dec. (38 page PDF) for the holiday season.


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 December 26th, 2016!

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for November 26th & 27th, 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 November 26th – December 2nd, 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 seasonal post, Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2016 and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

November 26th – December 2nd, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Tree LightingSantaHoliday StrollsMYO GiftsCaroling/Choral MusicHanukkahChristmasKwanzaaWinter Solstice

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  1. What Strengthens Your Sense of Place and Community Pride?
  2. HFVS Pioneers of Sound Episode with Guest DJ, Elska (Radio Show/Podcast)
  3. Engage in Community-Based Learning & Service: Become a Pet Foster Family
  4. Let Them Grow: Giving Back This Holiday Season
  5. Open Sesame: 10 New Picture Books to Ring in Holiday Cheer

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Gorge Aprés Gorge: Thanksgiving Weekend Tradition Supports Nature-Based & Intergenerational Engagement

Gorge Aprés Gorge: Best Little Walk/Run in the Hilltowns

The Sunday morning following your Thanksgiving dinner gorge, rise and shine to join friends and neighbors for the 13th annual Gorge Aprés Gorge run/walk at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield, MA. Community members are invited to embrace winter by being outside with friends and neighbors in a three mile out and back run/walk/bike/snowshoe/ski along the beautiful Westfield River. It’s a free event and all are welcomed! It’s a family affair. 5K at 9:30am. Family walk at 11am.

For the past 13 years, families have gathered together at the Chesterfield Gorge on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to walk, run, and socialize at a community potluck. The Gorge après Gorge Family Fun Walk and 5k run was started by organizers Leslie Charles and Tanya Rapinchuk, as a way to escape from the stress that can accompany the holidays and to get outside and appreciate nature with your friends, family, and neighbors. Charles explains, “I believe community and getting to know each other is the best way forward for humanity. It’s a homegrown event to really benefit everybody. It invites anyone and everyone to join in for a walk or run. It’s a total labor of love inspired by the desire to share the outdoors with our community, make new friends, and gather together.”

It began with just a few dozen people, and has grown over the years as word has spread about this wonderful family-oriented event.

“I have attended every Gorge Aprés Gorge these past 13 years,” says Hilltown Families Founder and West Chesterfield resident, Sienna Wildfield. “The Chesterfield Gorge, the Westfield River, and families from around the region make this event as special part of our community tradition. It offer a way we can support a sense of place through engagement with these amazing community treasures!”

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for November 19 – 20, 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 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 20 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Photography to Food Studies. Non-Commercial to Collaborative Consumption, and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

November 19 – 25, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Black Friday  ♦ Community Meals  ♦ Computer ProgrammingNative American StudiesCollaborative ConsumptionGardeningBiologyActivismSustainabilityMYO GiftsSTEM  ♦ Culinary ArtsSeed SavingThanksgiving DinnerPhysics Art StudiesLanguage StudiesGuided WalksMusic StudiesPhotographyImmigrationFood Studies

Family Volunteer Days

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20 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Photography to Food Studies. Non-Commercial to Collaborative Consumption.

How did the small wild cranberry, known as sasumuneash by the Wampanoag People, become the the plump berry we serve up every Thanksgiving? Get curious about the origin of the foods served during Thanksgiving and the traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. Use your Thanksgiving meal as a catalyst for learning about agriculture, culinary arts, history and culture!

Hydrology to Tortellini. Photography to Food Studies. Non-Commercial to Collaborative Consumption. 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:   “Chrysanthemum” is a beautiful word for an equally beautiful family of flowers. The word is derived from the Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower), though it refers to many different types of flowers in a range of colors and appearances. Families can explore various chrysanthemums at The Botanic Garden of Smith College’s Fall Chrysanthemum Show. The Fall Mum Show has been a popular college and community tradition since the early 1900s and showcases the hybridizing experiments of the horticulture class. This weekend is the last of this amazing flower show!  The conservatory will be open 10am-4pm daily and have extended hours 10am-8pm on Fridays. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Black Friday  ♦ Community Meals  ♦ Computer ProgrammingNative American StudiesCollaborative ConsumptionGardeningBiologyActivismSustainabilityMYO GiftsSTEM  ♦ Culinary ArtsSeed SavingThanksgiving DinnerPhysics Art StudiesLanguage StudiesGuided WalksMusic StudiesPhotographyImmigrationFood Studies


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