42 Community Highlights: Earth Day to Park Clean-Ups. Revolutionary Muster to Jurassic Roadshow.

Discover the history of Patriot’s Day at Historic Deerfield’s Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade on Saturday, April 18 from 10am-4pm. Visitors can experience what life was like in a small New England town in the 18th Century with activities like crafts, fife and drum music, and a parade and muster. All ages will enjoy this experience, which will make you feel like you’re back in the 1700s. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

Park Clean-Ups to Earth Day Celebrations. Revolutionary Muster to Jurassic Roadshow. Papercutting to Wildcrafting… 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 and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)


DancingService-Based LearningEarth DayMusic StudiesLiteracyVernal PoolsEntomologyColonial HistoryPaleontologyArts & CraftsCulinary ArtsCommunity SingPuppetrySTEMAnimal StudiesTheaterEconomics


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31 Community Highlights: Drumming to Classical Music. Vernal Pools to Science Festival.

Celebrate spring with baby animals at Hancock Shaker Village! The historic village opens for the season with a barn filled with new babies for visitors to welcome to the world. Families can take behind-the-scenes tours of the farm and learn about the village’s history and unique architecture, too!

Drumming to Classical Music. Bagshare to Mitzvah Bags. Vernal Pools to Science Festival… 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: Saturday, April 11 is “The Big Night” at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Families can go on guided tours from 5:30pm-8:30pm of the forest and meet costumed characters from vernal pools, such as spotted salamanders, wood frogs, and fairy shrimp. There will be short, funny skits to teach families about these interesting creatures. Pre-registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)


Bird StudiesLEGOsService-Based LearningFairy TalesLocal HistoryMusic StudiesPreschool HighlightsVernal PoolsSTEMPerformanceLiterary ArtsNature StudiesSustainable AgricultureAstronomyParent WorkshopsSurvival Skills


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19 Community Highlights: Ducklings to Ukuleles. Chemistry to Anatomy.

Celebrate the coming of spring at Winterberry Farm‘s annual Open Farm on Sunday, April 5, 2pm-4:30pm . Come meet animals, including lambs, chicks, and ducklings. A great way for families to spend this early-spring Sunday! Donations accepted for Right Sharing of World Resources. 413-624-3940. 340 Wilson Hill Road. Colrain, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Anatomy to Chemistry. Ducklings to Woodcocks. Ukulele to Intergenerational Playshop… These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured community highlight this week: Do you want to learn how to solve mysteries using science? Attend a free, CSI-themed Chemistry Adventure Day at the Emily Williston Memorial Library on Saturday, April 4 from 10:30am-11:30am! Students from Mt. Holyoke College will lead this event for kids, which uses forensic science to figure out who stole the cookies from the school fundraiser. Kids who love science and mysteries will have a blast at this hands-on program, which will help teach basic chemistry concepts. Call 413-529-1605 or stop by the Youth Department to register. The library is located at 9 Park Street in Easthampton, MA. (FREE)


EasterArt/AnatomySTEMBird StudiesCulinary ArtsCreative-Free PlayTheaterDance StudiesLocal HistoryFarm AnimalsMusicParent WorkshopsMuseum AdventuresNature-Based Learning


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28 Community Highlights: Pysanky to Passover. Aerodynamics to Shakespeare.

Saturday, March 28, 12noon-2pm – PYSANKY: Learn about “pysanky,” or Ukrainian Easter eggs, at the S. White Dickinson Memorial Library with local art teacher Marion Abrams. Abrams will teach kids and families ages 8 and up about pysanky and thow to paint these beautifully decorated eggs using beeswax and dyes. Please register in advance. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road. Whately, MA. (FREE)

Pysanky to Passover. Fossils to Dinosaurs. Aerodynamics to Shakespeare… These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured community highlight this week: Families can join Mass Audubon for a Bluebird Nest Box Building Workshop at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, March 28, from 1:30pm-3pm. Build pre-cut nest boxes to help provide much-needed nesting sites for cavity nesting birds like bluebirds, tree swallows, house wrens, chickadees, and others. Participants will also learn how and where to mount the boxes, and will learn about Eastern Bluebird conservation efforts. Call to register. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. ($$)


GeologyFolk Art/UkrainianPuppets/Marionettes  ♦ Library AdventuresSTEMConservationTheater/MusicalsHistory/ArtifactsAerospace ScienceCommunity Meal/PassoverParenting/HomeworkSleddingFamily MusicPaleontology


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26 Community Highlights: Cupcake Chemistry to Maple Celebrations. Upcycling to Family Dancing.

Discover the history of maple sugaring at Storrowton Village’s annual Maple Harvest Day on Sunday, March 15, 11am-3pm. See demonstrations of tree tapping, sumac spile making, sap boiling, hearth cooking, and early American crafts, and learn about the history and folklore of maple sugaring in New England. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Family Dance Party to Maple Celebrations. Fireworks to Step Dancing. Cupcake Chemistry to Upcycling… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured community highlight this week: Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)


Maple Syrup CelebrationPlant StudiesSt. Patrick’s DayUpcyclingSpring MusicalsArt WalkEnvironmental StudiesPerformancesSTEM Parent WorkshopsCulinary Arts Museum Adventures


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39 Community Highlights: Bark to Bulbs. Hairspray to Godspell.

Preschool aged kids and their families can learn all about seeds at the Buckland Public Library on Saturday, March 7, 10am-11am. Hear a story about seeds and then explore many different kinds of seeds by touching, tasting, sorting, and observing. Kids will also help set up a long-term see experiment that will stay at the library for visitors to see. 413-625-9412. 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Bark to Bulbs. Hairspray to Godspell. Quilts to Sci Fi Films… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured community highlight this week: Students in grades 3-12 who are interested in sustainability can attend Greening Greenfield’s 4th annual Science and Sustainability Expo at Greenfield Community College on Saturday, March 7 from 9am-3:30pm. There will be tons of interesting exhibits and activities for those interested in science – over 40 exhibits, a showcase of projects relating to science and sustainability, chemistry demonstrations by the UMass Chemistry Club, the KidWind wind turbine projects and competition, a tour of GCC’s green energy features, and so much more. This is a super fun (and free!) way for science buffs of all ages to spend a Saturday! Call 413-259-1658 for more information. 1 College Drive. Greenfield, MA (FREE)


Women’s HistorySTEMAnimal StudiesCollege SamplerPlant StudiesMusic StudiesSpring MusicalsHistoryStorytellingOutdoor AdventuresFilm Studies/Sci FiParent WorkshopsCommunity Meals


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


TrackingHistoryLocal FoodMusic StudiesSTEMWinter FunPerformancesDance StudiesSustainabilityCultural StudiesPreschool HighlightsParent Workshops


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

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

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

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

Featured learning highlight this week: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days will be held approximately once a month on various days and times. Participation is free and open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Tuesday, February 17 from 6-8pm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Animal StudiesTrackingCreative-Free PlayCulinary ArtsSTEMOrnithologyHistoryStorytellingFamily PerformancesService-Based LearningAviationPreschool Highlights


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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29 Community Highlights: Winter Wildlife to Winter Sports. LEGO Clubs to Social Justice.

Winter Trails Day happens on Saturday, January 10, a free one day event where families new to snow sports can try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing. Simple events and demos are happening at Notchview and Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center, helping families discover the great fitness and social benefits of these easy to learn winter sports.

Winter Wildlife to Winter Sports. LEGO Clubs to Social Justice. Bagshare to Humane Hero… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Notchview is holding a Winter Trails Day for families this Saturday, January 10, 10am-3pm. Winter Trails Day is an annual nation-wide event that offers children and adults a chance to try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing and the fun of getting outside in the winter. Come to Notchview and take advantage of free cross country ski lessons (10:30am &1:30pm), free guided snowshoe hike, free rentals and care clinic, and half-price trail passes for the day. Stay the day and warm up in Notchview’s new cafe featuring soup, sandwiches, and baked goods. Notchview has limited skis available for use, so come early. 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($)


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


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25 Community Highlights: Guided Hike to Nature Play. Roving Scientist to Knitting Groups.

Guided Hike to Nature Play. Roving Scientist to Knitting Groups. Storytimes to Playgroups… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Having both academic and social benefits, learning and practicing knitting is a terrific way for children to support their development of fine & gross motor coordination, math skills (think patterns, skip counting), problem solving, and self-esteem. Several of our local libraries offer weekly intergenerational knitting meet-ups, giving youth the opportunity to learn from their community members while allowing an older generation community enrichment through skillsharing. This week we are featuring five weekly knitting meet-ups that happen around the region. — Want to teach your children fiber arts at home? The Craft Yarn Council has online resources for knitting and crochet lesson plans.


HikingSnowshoeing/SkiingNature PlaySTEMParent WorkshopsKnittingCollaborative ConsumptionFeatured StorytimesFeatured Playgroups


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31 Community Highlights: Puppetry to Robots. Jewish Pioneers to First Day Hikes.

This week there are several puppet performances that bring folktales alive on stage, like “The Bremen Town Musicians” at The Carle, based on the Brothers Grimm folktale, Town Musicians of Bremen. Other puppet performances include the fairytale, Sleeping Beauty at Ventfort Hall, and the Russian folktale, The Firebird , at the Berkshire Athenaeum.

 

Puppetry to Robots. Jewish Pioneers to First Day Hikes. Wassailing to Handel’s Messiah… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: The winter solstice, which took place this year on December 21, has been celebrated around the world for many thousands of years. Discover some of the solstice traditions of the British Isles and the United States at “Wassail, Wassail, All Over the Town!” with Tom Hooker Hanford at Ventfort Hall on Saturday, December 27 at 3:30pm. He will perform the songs and rituals of apple tree wassailers, wren boys, John Canoe Revelers, and callithumpians with singalong songs, masks, and props. He will be accompanied by guitar, harmonicas, and violin, and there will be opportunities for audience role playing. All ages can attend this performance, which teaches about the solstice traditions of the past and engages audience members. Call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206 for more information. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($)


Cultural Studies/American HistoryMusic StudiesLiterary PerformancesAnimal StudiesOutdoor AdventuresFolktalesPuppetryChoralSTEMWorld HistoryFashion HistoryAstronomyMuseum Adventures


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22 Community Highlights: Winter Solstice to Holiday Classics. Ballet to Chemistry.

The 115th Christmas Bird Count runs through Monday, January 5th, 2015. Great annual event for families to participate as citizen scientists!

Winter Solstice to Holiday Classics. Mushrooms to Papercutting. Ballet to Chemistry…. These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, but it is also a day on which to celebrate the longer days to come. Join Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary for their annual winter solstice celebration on Sunday, December 21 from 6pm-8:30pm. There are many different traditions from all around the world to celebrate the solstice, including this one at Arcadia! Each year, community members of all ages gather at the sanctuary for music, a bonfire, hot drinks, and fun activities. Celebrate the solstice and community at this fun annual event! The event is free, but please bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is located at 127 Combs Road in Easthampton, MA. (FREE)


Winter SolsticeArt HistoryMycologyFolk ArtOrnithologyEcologyLiteracyTheaterBalletTeensChemistryFilmService-Based LearningChorus


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39 Community Highlights: Victorian Christmas to Magic Dreidel. Gingerbread Houses to Folk Opera.

Making gingerbread houses are a great opportunity for families to spend time together in free, creative play- working together as a team and practicing culinary, math and architectural skills. This week there are four community gingerbread making events for families to choose from!

Victorian Christmas to Magic DreidelBeekeeping to Boreal Forest. Gingerbread Houses to Folk Opera… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Join the Berkshire Museum for the Festival of Trees Family Day on Saturday, December 13, 11am-5pm. There will be loads of fun activities for all ages, including Animals Up Close with Rick Roth of Creature Teachers ($), cookie decorating, a chance to see the Museum’s animals get fed, a performance by the Blafield Children’s Chorus, and a Winter Wonderland of Music and Song with with Kids4Harmony, the Pittsfield High School Jazz Ensemble, and Randy & Friends. Most events are free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)


HistoryBirds & BeesHanukkahCollaborative ConsumptionMYO GiftsArchitecture & Design/Gingerbread HousesCommunity ServiceMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesFolk OperaMusic StudiesFilm StudiesFeatured Playgroups  ♦ PreSchool Highlights


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30 Community Highlights: Middle Earth to The Matrix. Biology to Bread Baking.

Pioneer Valley Bread House is holding a bread-baking event that’s open to everyone on Monday, December 8, 4:30pm-6:30pm! Come learn about the art and symbolism of decorating breads and share, learn, and create with community members. Baking bread is a fun and useful skill and this is a perfect event to help you get started! Takes place at Five College Women’s Studies Research Center. 83 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Middle Earth to The Matrix. MYO Christmas Cards to Menorahs. Reindog Parade to Parenting Styles… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week:  Is your child interested in computers and coding? Holyoke Codes is a week-long event held in conjunction with the national Computer Science Education Week. During the week of December 8-13, there will be a series of free workshops offered at the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center (100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA). Kids can participate in the Hour of Code event, where you join millions of people around the world to build your own code. Other programs that the workshops will focus on include Artbotics, which combines art and computer science to create robotics that move and interact; Scratch, which you can use to create interactive stories and animations; and Made with Code, which is a Google coding party for girls ages 12-17 (a great opportunity to get girls involved in the male-dominated field of computer science!). There will also be an opportunity to come share what you have created during the workshops. Kids and teens who are interested in learning computer programming will love getting to try their hand at all these different programs! Please register in advance; a full schedule can be found on the registration page.


Science/BiologyFilm StudiesHoliday HistoryLocal HistorySkillshare/WellnessArchitectureMYO Holiday GiftsLiteracyHoliday StrollsComputer SciencePreSchool HighlightsParenting WorkshopCarolingBread Baking


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28 Community Highlights: Book Trade to Toy Exchange. Victorian Age to Hindi Film.

Book Trade to Toy Exchange. Victorian Age to Hindi Film. Spanish to Museum Adventures… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Dickens Days is Westfield‘s annual holiday celebration, featuring tons of fun, festive activities for the whole family. The celebration, which is inspired by Charles Dickens and the Victorian Age, goes from Friday, November 28 until Wednesday December 31. Kick off the celebration on Friday, November 28, when Santa arrives by helicopter at the Amelia Park Children’s Museum. Then explore downtown Westfield and do some local holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday (November 29). Make lanterns and march in the Lanternlight Parade on the evening of the 29, which leads to the mayor’s tree-lighting ceremony in Park Square, where kids can visit with Santa. The mayor will also light the town’s menorah to kick off Hanukkah on Tuesday, December 16. The month-long event also features craft fairs, concerts, music, meals, workshops, musicals, and so much more. This annual celebration is a wonderful chance to celebrate the holidays as a community and to engage in tons of fun holiday-centric activities. See the Dickens Days website for a full schedule of these events and for more information.


Computer ScienceTransportation HistoryCollaborative ConsumptionCommunity CelebrationsFilm StudiesHoliday HistoryMuseum AdventuresLEGOsMusic Studies ExerciseCommunity ServiceAstronomyParent/Educator WorkshopPreschool Highlights


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23 Community Highlights: Japenese Shamisen to African Drumming. Giant Squid to Black Bears.

Bittersweet produces a beautiful deep orange fruit, and is a favorite food to birds, but it’s invasive and can pull down samplings with it’s sturdy perennial vine. Help Williamsburg Woodland Trails and Mass Audubon remove invasive bittersweet vines at Graves Farm Sanctuary in Haydenville this Saturday, learning about this invasive species through service-based learning.

Japanese Shamisen to African Drumming. Giant Squid to Black Bears. Bittersweet to Christmas Fern… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Learn how to make book art at Edwards Public Library in Southampton! Ages 8 and up can join book artist Cathy Thibodeau for a free workshop on how to make book art just by folding the pages of a book on Tuesday, November 25, 5:30pm-7:30pm. Please bring a 100-150 page hardcover book that you would like to repurposes – participants will be making books with a paw print design. These folded books would make a cool gift for the holidays! Space is limited; please sign up. 413-527-9480. 30 East Street.


Food HistoryMusic StudiesMarine BiologyAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceMYO GiftsLocal HistoryCommunity MealsNature StudiesParent WorkshopPreschool Highlights


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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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33 Community Highlights: Glassblowing to Reuse Rally. Musical Theater to Art for Change.

Glassblowing to Reuse Rally. Polar Bears to Pumpernickel Puppets. Musical Theater to Art for Change… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Glassblowing is an ancient art form, dating back at least 2,000 years with origins in Jerusalem, spreading to the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC.  Originally, the craft of blowing glass was used for utilitarian purposes, like containers, table wear and window glass. It wasn’t until the late 60′s when glassblowing was raised to the level of art, lead by German artist, Hans Godo Frabel. This weekend families can try glassblowing hands-on at Snow Farm. Make your own glass ornament with the help of a master glass blower in the glass studio. Learn about the art of glass blowing and walk away with your very own holiday keepsake… a great tradition to do with your family year after year! This is part of Snow Farm’s Seconds Sale weekend where more than 150 craftspeople from across the country sell their seconds. Takes place Friday-Sunday, beginning November 14 and ending November 30. 413-268-3101. 5 Clary Road. Williamsburg, MA ($)


Nature HikesFilm StudiesAnimal StudiesLiving HistoryDendrologyAstronomyArchitectureParent WorkshopCultural StudiesActivismCommunity MealsU.S. HistoryLiteracySustainabilityPreschool HighlightsTheater


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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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30 Community Highlights: Renaissance Games to Ice Hockey. Food Swap to Clothing Exchange.

Do you want to learn how to play violin or viola? Slapin-Solomon Studios is offering a free Lesson Day on Sunday, November 9, and a free concert on Wednesday evening, November 12, both in South Hadley.

Viola to Veterans. Renaissance Games to Ice Hockey. Food Swap to Clothing Exchange… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Are you looking for an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing? Hampshire Youth Connect‘s ART Reach is a free creativity event that takes place on Tuesday, November 11 at 3:30pm in Hampshire College’s Franklin Patterson Hall. All ages can participate in workshops on theater, dance, visual art, and more, all facilitated by Hampshire College students and community members. This event is a great place to establish connections with the Hampshire College community and to explore the connections that exist between artistic expression and community through participation in the workshops. Hampshire College’s address is 893 West Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)


Music EducationArtSustainabilityRenaissance StudiesService-Based LearningPetrology/GemologyParent WorkshopsUrban Water ManagementPlant Studies Sports/Ice HockeyCultural StudiesAviation/Veterans DayLiteracyCollaborative ConsumptionEducator’s Workshop


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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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30 Community Highlights: Cider Days to Fiber Festival. Sphagnum Bog to Tinsmithing.

Franklin County celebrates its plentiful apple harvest and the delicious batches of cider that follow at the 20th Annual Franklin County CiderDays this weekend! The event includes fun events and activities county-wide – including an apple pancake breakfast, wagon rides and orchard explorations, cider pressing, lots of tastings and demonstrations, and chances to learn about apple varieties, heirloom apples, organic orchards, and more! It’s a chance for families to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the apple industry – and to drink endless cider! A full schedule can be found on the CiderDays website. Franklin County, MA.

Cider Days to Fiber Festival. Sphagnum Bog to Tinsmithing. Magnets to Autumn Leaves… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: The Eastern States Exposition and the New England Sheep and Wool Growers Association present the 5th Annual Fiber Festival of New England at the Mallary Complex this weekend. Come learn about fiber art by watching demonstrations and seeing work by local crafters. There will also be a fleece sale, a “make it with wool” competition, vendors, a fashion show, and more. Those who like fiber and textiles will have fun at this festival! 413-205-5011. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. ($)


Halloween NightSTEMOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresAviation/Women’s StudiesFilm StudiesLocal FoodFiber/TextilesNatural HistoryNature StudiesHistoric TradeLiving HistoryArt WalkArt/Music HistoryHomeschoolCommunity MealEducator WorkshopParent WorkshopsParents’ Night OutPreschool Highlights


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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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31 Community Highlights: Symphony to Silk. Spiders to Ghost Tours.

Symphony to Silk. Spiders to Ghost Tours. Hikes to Parent Workshops… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Have some spooky fun this Halloween season at the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever Kids’ Monster’s Ball in Abbey Memorial Chapel (50 College Street, South Hadley, MA) on Saturday, October 25 at 3pm. Kids of all ages can attend the Ball in costume and dance away the afternoon to classic waltzes and polkas by Chopin and Johann Strauss II. There will also be soundtrack music from popular television shows to enjoy and dance to. Students can experience classical music at this event, see and hear a variety of instruments up close, learn to dance with friends and family, and ask the musicians questions about their instruments. The Kids’ Monster’s Ball is a super fun and unique way to introduce kids to symphony music and get them thinking about the amazing world of musical instruments. Tickets (>$) can be purchased in advance.


HalloweenSTEMSymphonyHistoric TradesAnimal StudiesCultural StudiesHaunted HistorySkillshareHikingParent WorkshopsPreschool Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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35 Community Highlights: Mandarin to Historic Hike. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest.

Are you carving your Halloween pumpkin this weekend? Pumpkins are the focus of many community celebrations this weekend, including the Franklin County Pumpkinfest, Mount Warner Pumpkin Fest, Easthampton Harvest Festival, and the Westhampton Great Pumpkin Roll! (Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield)

Mandarin to Historic Hike. Archaeology to Paleontology. Cemeteries to Pumpkinfest… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: It’s hard to imagine dinosaurs roaming the earth, let alone the Connecticut River Valley, but that is exactly what they did some 190 million years ago, during the Jurassic period. Families can learn about dinosaurs in the region with geologist Dan Vellone at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s Family Dino Day on Saturday, October 18 from 10:30am-2:30pm. Through exploration stations, arts and crafts activities, dinosaur tracks and bones, and a presentation (12noon), all ages can have fun learning about dinosaurs. Vellone’s presentation will focus on the origins of dinosaurs and how they are rooted in the Connecticut River Valley. Pack a picnic and explore Northfield Mountain’s trails after the dino festivities. Call 1-800-859-2960 to pre-register for this free event. Northfield Mountain is at 99 Millers Falls Road in Northfield, MA. (FREE)


ArchaeologyChinese LanguageTextilesLocal History  ♦ PaleontologyWomen’s StudiesAnimal StudiesCemeteriesPumpkin FestsNature StudiesParent WorkshopsPreSchool Activities


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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33 Community Highlights: Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Wild Rice to Apples.

Pumpkin games this weekend at the Ashfield Fall Festival!

Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Haunted History to Paleontology. Wild Rice to Apples… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Travel back to colonial times with the Buckland Historical Society at their Colonial Day celebration on Sunday, October 12 from 2pm-5pm at the Wilder Homestead. Colonial Day replicates life in New England several hundred years ago, and engages visitors in everyday activities that are characteristic of the period. There will be demonstrations of open hearth cooking, basket making, weaving, spinning, quilting, folk painting, and cider pressing, as well as oxen and performances of Morris dance and music from the 1700s. How do these activities compare to those of today? Most people no longer weave their own baskets or spin their own yarn – why do you think that is? Colonial Day will get all ages actively engaged in learning about history and will help them see how much has changed in a few hundred years! 413-625-9763. 129 Route 112. Buckland, MA. (>$)


STEMFilm StudiesLocal HistoryAgricultureArcheology/TextilesService-Based LearningPaleontologyArchitectureCommunity CelebrationsMedieval HistorySukkotLocal Food HistoryHaunted HistoryOutdoor AdventuresTheater Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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27 Community Highlights: Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Butter Churns.

Do you like spooky scarecrows? What about silly scarecrows? You can make your own scarecrow and decorate it however you like at Atkin Farms in Amherst on Saturday, October 4, and the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls on Sunday, October 5. Terrific intergenerational activity the family can do together while supporting creative-free play!

Scarecrows to Bogs. Ginkgo Trees to Corn Relish. Stethoscopes to Butter Churns… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: The Hatfield Fall Festival is on Sunday, October 5 from 11am-3pm and is full of tons of fun activities and exhibits related to local history! Stop by for classic fall festival activities, like a parade, farmers’ market, cider pressing, crafts, demonstrations, kids’ activities, and others. In addition to these activities, there will be many opportunities to learn about what Hatfield was like in the past. Check out the Cutter Farm Museum to see demonstrations of historic trades, meet farm animals, learn about antique vehicles, and see the actual sleigh that Hatfield town physician Dr. Charles Byrne used for winter house calls in the late-1800s. Inside the Historical Museum (2nd floor of Hatfield Public Library), there will be a used book sale, a viewing of the exhibit, “Simple Tools, Elegant Script: The Lost Art of Cursive,” which features traditional writing implements, and an activity for visitors of all ages to use some of these tools to practice writing. The Hatfield Fall Festival is great fun for history buffs of all ages! Call 413-315-9793 for more information. Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Creative-Free PlayLocal HistoryEntomologyBiologyCultural HistoryHistoric TradesFood CultureCraftsSkillshareLanguage ArtsSTEMGeologyImmigrationPreK ActivitiesLocal/Handmade


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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38 Community Highlights: Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival.

Bear Swamp Orchard in Ashfield

Find a PYO apple orchard near you and take your kids pickin’ this weekend!

Rubik’s Cube to Watershed Blitz. Pudding Festival to Garlic Festival. Cuatro to Kouta… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Double Edge Theatre will perform an outdoor presentation on Don Quixote, Odysseus, and Shahrazad on Sunday, September 28, 6pm-7:30pm. They will use poetry, flying, humor, music, puppets, and visual arts to tell these tales, and will then discuss them after the show. Older students with an interest in literature, mythology, and performance arts will enjoy this lively outdoor performance, which takes place at Amherst College. 860-335-8421. Amherst, MA. (FREE)


STEM  ♦ Citizen Scientist  ♦ Music/Cultural StudiesHistoryMuseum AdventuresAnimal StudiesCommunity ServiceFall FestivalsCommunity MealsJapanese StudiesParent WorkshopsMythologyCollaborative Consumption


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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30 Community Highlights: Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox.

What do rubber duckies have to do with poetry? Find out this Saturday at the Amherst Poetry Festival!

Banned Books Week to Poetry Festival. Rosh Hashanah to Autumn Equinox. Skillshare to Science Cafe… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured learning highlight this week: Learn about the annual hawk migration with The Trustees of Reservations at “Hawks Over Holyoke” at Heritage State Park on Sunday, September 21 from 10am-3pm. Celebrate these unique birds and see live bird demonstrations like “Eyes on Owls” and “Hawks with Tom Ricardi.” This free day of family fun is a great chance for all ages to learn about these magnificent birds. 413-532-1631. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


Film StudiesLocal HistoryAstronomyBanned BooksEntomologySkillshareOrnithologyNature StudiesPoetryGeologyLocal FoodMusic StudiesHistoryRosh HashanahAnimal Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

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