28 Community Highlights: Rockets to Origami. Hieroglyphics to Bridges.

Hometown parades are a great way to have fun with your family while taking in the culture of various local towns. The Chesterfield 4th of July Parade is the quintessential hometown parade, now in its 66th year! The theme this year is “Children are Our Future.”

Swamps to Camp Fires. Rockets to Origami. Fireworks to Hometown Parades. Hieroglyphics to Bridges… These are just a few of the 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!


4th of July Highlights! From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of 4th of July celebrations happening in Western MA. Check our 4th of July preview of events, parades & fireworks happening to celebrate in Western MA: 2013 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks

Independence DayPlants, Nature & Animal StudiesSTEMArchaeologyLocal HistoryArts & CraftsLawn Concerts & Family DinnersMovies


Explore Whately’s Great Swamp with the Pioneer Valley Institute on Saturday morning, June 29th, and learn about the swamp’s many different tree species, including Black Gum, Pin Oak, and Swamp White Oak. Time will also be spent discussing the swamp’s ecology, geology, and history. The swamp is what is known as a perched swamp, meaning it is not directly connected to the water table, rather it is perched atop layers that prevent drainage as a result of the region’s glacial history. This is a great way to improve your tree identification skills while learning & exploring a truly unique geological area.

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation is hosting a Firefly Hike and Campfire for the whole family on Saturday evening at Sheep Hill in Williamstown. Bring blankets and curl up with family & friends near the fire while eating s’mores and listening to stories told by the three-generational Leamon boys. There will also be nature crafts for children and a hike to search for fireflies.

Bats are the only flying mammals and among the most misunderstood animals. On Friday evening, July 5th, join Rene Laubach to learn about bats found in our region at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox. The program will begin indoors for an overview of the ecology and diversity of bats, and will conclude outdoors with a search for bats, weather permitting. A bat detector will be used to eavesdrop on the bats as they hunt for food.

Check out these links too: 


Be a mad scientist at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield on Saturday morning, June 29th at their monthly chemistry based event, Kitchen Kaboom! Along with the help of the museum’s very own crazy chemist, kids can learn how to do exciting and surprising (and safe!) experiments with regular household materials.

Build LEGOs with friends at the Sunderland Public Library on Monday morning, July 1st! Kids 6 and up can exercise creativity and practice their engineering skills by making their own LEGO creations or by following one of the library’s themes.

Origami is a fun way for kids to engage with an activity that supports their discovery of geometry. Learn the art of origami and other paper arts at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield on Tuesday afternoon, July 2nd. This event is held in conjunction with the museum’s PaperWorks exhibit, which focused on the many different things that can be created with paper.

Do your kids want to know more about rockets? What better way to learn about them than designing and testing their own! The Boston Museum of Science is helping to host this hands-on physics program at the Wheeler Memorial Library in Orange on Tuesday afternoon. Not only is this event super fun (and free), but kids will also engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)!

Join Odyssey Bookshop for Camp Odyssey in South Hadley on Wednesday afternoon, July 3rd! This once-a-week camp features a weekly book and activities to go along with it. This week’s book/activity is Pop Bottle Science. Come learn about hands-on science experiments you can reproduce with large plastic soda bottles, the perfect mini science lab!

Check out these links too:


Are your kids interested in learning about archaeology this summer? Most Western MA libraries are participating in the Dig into Reading summer program, and many are offering supplemental programs, including the Mason Library in Great Barrington.  Kids ages 5yo+ are invited to stop in on Saturday morning, June 29th to learn about mummies, write in hieroglyphics, make cave painting, and discover treasures. This event connects nicely with the “Dig Into Reading” summer reading program!

Join storyteller and scientist Paulette Morin at the Hatfield Public Library for a special free storytime all about fossils and dinosaurs on Tuesday morning, July 2nd.  Youth participants will get to do some hands-on exploring with real fossils too! Paulette will also be at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield on Wednesday afternoon, July 3rd, this time learning about the earth’s exciting prehistoric past!


What was it like crossing the Connecticut River before the construction of our modern bridges? Learn about the history of local bridges and the difficulties associated with building them while riding around Turners Falls and Montague City on a leisurely bike tour with the Great Falls Discovery Center on Saturday afternoon, June 29th. This is a free and engaging way to learn local history by exploring our towns and villages. Bring a bike and helmet!

Join the Kemp-McCarthy Museum in Rowe for a special free celebration as they celebrate their 50th anniversary on Sunday afternoon, June 30! Visitors can view the “Childhood Memories” exhibit, which includes antique games and children’s clothing, see the historic hat display, learn about a research project cataloging Rowe’s houses, see the newly refurbished Music Room, study rare documents from the 18th and 19th centuries, and see “The Way We Were,” an exhibit of clothing and artifacts from 1963, the year the Museum opened. There will also be a buffet, treats, and live music. Immerse yourself in local history by experiencing and learning about what life in the Hilltowns was like many years ago.

Check out these links too:


Here are four free events happening this week at local libraries or museums that support creativity:

  1. Saturday morning, June 29th: Kids can exercise their creativity and art skills at the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic during a story cube activity. Draw illustrations on the cubes, roll them like dice, and create stories as you go!
  2. Tuesday afternoon, July 2nd: Children ages 5-12 are invited to a craft activity all about worms! The Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield is hosting this activity as part of the “Dig Into Reading” summer reading program. It offers a chance for kids to do a craft related to the greater theme of the program.
  3. Tuesday afternoon, July 2nd: Teens participating in the summer reading program can come make gummy worms in “dirt” desserts at the Sixteen Acres Library in Springfield. This event is purely fun and teens will enjoy getting their hands dirty while making a tasty dessert together!
  4. Tuesday afternoon, July 2nd: 2pm-6pm: Stop by the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown for an all-ages watercolor workshop. Open to people with all skill levels, this workshop helps you learn the art of watercolor painting while translating the natural beauty of the Clark onto paper.

Check out these links too:


There’s a lawn concert happening nearly every evening this week!  A great solution to finding time for your family to dine together, pack up a picnic dinner, BYO blanket & chairs, and lounge on the lawn listening to music with your family while enjoying dinner together:

  • Saturday, June 29th in Longmeadow: Pack a picnic dinner and bring the whole family to join the Longmeadow Parks and Recreation Department at the Longmeadow Green for an outdoor concert.  Mandeville and Raianne Richards, a folk duo from Massachusetts, will perform country and classic Americana-inspired tunes.
  • Sunday, June 30th in Greenfield: Coop Concerts Summer Concert Series takes place weekly at Greenfield Energy Park.  This week’s show features Jennie McAvoy and Michael Nix, Katie Clarke, and Devlin Miles.
  • Monday, July 1st in South Deerfield: Monday Night Concerts at the Tilton Library are a great chance to have an exciting family dinner – bring chairs, a blanket, pack a picnic, and bring the whole family!  This week’s performers are Bruce King and Doctor Dan.
  • Tuesday, July 2nd in Williamstown:  The Clark Art Institute is hosting concerts on their South Lawn every Tuesday in July!  This week’s performer is Red June.  Pack a picnic dinner – or purchase barbecue food at the Clark – and enjoy the show while spending time with family.
  • Thursday,  July 4th in Wilbraham: The Wilbraham Nature and Cultural Center’s summer concert series at Fountain Park presents John Brandoli.  Brandoli’s repertoire includes rock, folk, and pop, so bring the whole family and sit on the lawn while enjoying entertaining live music.
  • Friday, July 5th in Easthampton:  Arts in the Park Summer Concert Series happens at Millside Park. Pack a picnic dinner, bring the family, and enjoy an evening of live music outdoors on a Friday evening!


If the heat or rain makes you want to head indoors this summer, there are often times screenings of family movies happening at area libraries or at a special rate at a local theater house.  This week the Westfield Atheaneum, Sunderland Library and Cinemark in Hadley are screening family films for a dollar or less!

If you’re in the mood for an outdoor evening film, the town of Adams will be hosting a summer film series beginning this week (among several others in July!) and Northfield Drive-In is always a family favorite destination for outdoor viewing.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.

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