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

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

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Outdoor Adventures

Explore Bartholomew’s Cobble with The Trustees of Reservations’ Hot Chocolate Saturdays series on Saturday, January 3, 9am-4pm! Visitors can hike, snowshoe, and/or ski at the Cobble (weather depending, of course), and end their excursion with a cup of cocoa in the visitor center. Families can practice looking for signs of birds and mammals, and can explore the changes that have taken place to the landscape since winter set in. 413-229-8600. 105 Weatogue Road. Sheffield, MA. (>$)

Have some family fun outside before vacation’s over! Join The Trustees of Reservations for a moonlight snowshoe at Bullitt Reservation on Saturday, January 3, 7pm-9pm. Explore the reservation by moonlight at this fun event. Limited quantity of snowshoe rentals available. Registration is required. 413-532-1631 x10. Bullitt Road. Ashfield, MA. ($)

Join The Trustees of Reservations at Notchview for moonlight skiing on Saturday, January 3, 7pm-9pm! This is a great chance to get outdoors during the winter and to meet other skiers. Popcorn and cider after. 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($) [CANCELED]

Get outside during the first full week of the new year on a free, guided hike with the Hilltown Land Trust on Wednesday, January 7 from 10am-12noon. Meet at the Bullitt Farmhouse on the Bullitt Reservation, then explore the local geology, flora, and fauna as you hike to Chapel Brook. Learn about the geology of the region and hike to the top of Pony Mountain, where you can see the Highlands and the Berkshire foothills. All ages can participate in this hike, which has a 4-mile and 1-mile option, and offers tons of opportunities to check out interesting winter wildlife and plants, and to ask questions about species identification and geological features that you may come across. Call 413-628-4485 x4 to RSVP. Bullitt Reservation is located on Bullitt Road in Ashfield, MA. (FREE)

Have some winter fun at Peaked Mountain with The Trustees of Reservations at their Moonlight Syrup-on-Snow Snowshoe Hike on Friday, January 9, 7:30pm-9:30pm. Explore the property in the moonlight on this 2-3 mile snowshoe hike, and enjoy syrup-on-snow afterwards! Snowshoe rentals available. Registration is required. 413-532-1631 x10. 43 Butler Road. Monson, MA. ($)

Nature Play

Kids in grades 1-4 can participate in the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation‘s “Winter Woodchucks” nature play program this January. The program, which is led by WRLF Directory Leslie Reed-Evans and student assistants from Williams College, runs every Wednesday in January from 1:45pm-4pm at Sheep Hill (671 Cold Spring Road, Williamstown, MA). This drop-off program consists of unstructured nature activities to get kids having fun, exploring, and discovering on their own outdoors. Activities include sledding, exploration, stories, games, crafts, and more. Kids can learn about nature, ask questions, explore, and make new friends at this fun educational program. Come every week ($$) or to individual sessions ($), just make sure to call ahead to pre-register – 413-458-2494.


Families can explore the Springfield Science Museum and meet the Roving Scientist for demonstrations and hands-on science activities every Sunday from 11am-2pm. Free with museum admission. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

Parent Workshops

The East Longmeadow Public Library and Rick’s Place are offering a workshop, Grief Through Story, for parents and caregivers on Tuesday, January 6, 6-8pm. This program will teach parents and caregivers how to use children’s literature to begin conversations with children about grief, death, and dying. Registration is encouraged. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Earthworks Programs’ Frank Grindrod will present a free emergency preparedness talk on Tuesday, January 6, 6:30-7:30pm, at River Valley Market. This introduction to emergency preparedness will teach you what to do in emergency situations like extreme weather, power outages, being stranded in a car, lost in the wilderness, etc. Pre-registration is required. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Five Featured Knitting Groups

  1. The Sunderland Public Library has a knitting group on Mondays at 10am. The group is open to knitters of all levels and ages. Great intergenerational activity to do with young homeschoolers. Runs most Mondays. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  2. All skill levels can attend a knitting group at the Westhampton Public Library every Monday evening at 6:30pm. Come learn and share tips and tricks with knitters of all ages and levels. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  3. The Cushman Library‘s knitting group runs every Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30pm. Come hang out with knitters of all ages and share knitting advice. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)
  4. Come to the Goodwin Memorial Library every Wednesday evening at 6pm for knitting group. All levels are welcome, making this is a great chance to share knitting tips and tricks with other knitters of all ages. Runs all year. 413-584-7451. Route 47 & Route 9. Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  5. Spruce up your knitting skills and spend time with community members of all ages at the Dickinson Memorial Library‘s knitting group every Thursday evening from 6-8pm. All skill levels are welcome. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

Collaborative Consumption

The Amherst Lions Club is holding a Ski and Snowboard Sale at Crocker Farm Elementary School to benefit the Club, beginning Friday, January 9, 6pm-9pm. There will be alpine skis, snowboards, boots, cross country equipment, snowshoes, twin tip skis, skates, jackets, helmets, pants, goggles, and more for sale. You can drop off items to consign from 4pm-6pm. 280 West Street. Amherst, MA.

Five Featured Storytimes

  1. MONDAYS: Kids can come to the Holyoke Public Library every Monday and Wednesday at 10am for stories with Nathan! 413-420-8105. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  2. TUESDAYS: Come to the Goodwin Memorial Library every Tuesday for storytime at 10am! Runs all year. 413-584-7451. Route 47 & Route 9. Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  3. WEDNESDAYS: Parents and their preschoolers can come to the Westhampton Public Library for coffee and storytime every Wednesday at 10am. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  4. THURSDAYS: Join the Emily Williston Memorial Library for storytime every Thursday from 10:30am-11:30am! There will be snacks, stories, and crafts. 413-529-1605. 9 Park Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  5. FRIDAYS: Preschool-aged kids can come to the Stockbridge Library for StoryCraft, a storytime and craft time with Miss Vicky at 10am! Siblings are welcome. 413-298-5501. 2 Depot Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Five Featured Playgroups

  1. MONDAYS: Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can come to the South Hadley Family Center every Monday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroups and more. The Center follows the South Hadley Schools’ calendar. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  2. TUESDAYS: The Belchertown Family Center is open TuesdayS from 9am-12noon for drop-in activities for infants, preschoolers, and their caregivers. 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)
  3. WEDNESDAYS: The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a parent-child playgroup every Wednesday from 9-10:30am at the First Congregational Church of Hatfield. Come play and learn together at this fun playgroup! 413-586-4998. 41 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
  4. THURSDAYS: The Northampton Parents Center will be opened on Thursdays from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)
  5. FRIDAYS: The Community Network for Children offers a playgroup every Friday from 9-10:30am at Shutesbury Elementary School. Children ages 5 and under and a caregiver can come make friends, explore, and discover. 978-544-5157. 23 West Pelham Road. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)

[Photo Credit: (cc) chotda]

Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Cummington, Deerfield, Longmeadow, Plainfield and Sunderland Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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