45 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Storytelling to STEM. Folk Music to Astronomy.

It’s time for the annual spring bulb shows happening across the region! Check out the shows at Smith College in Northampton, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, and Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge.

Creative-Free Play to Eclipses! Bulbs to Bookmaking! Makerspaces to Culinary Adventures! 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:  Name any topic you find interesting, and someone has made probably a documentary about it. Environmental documentary is a huge and growing genre spanning several topics and using various methods for sparking political and personal changes in behavior. Audiences learn a great deal from documentaries and few other art forms have a greater impact on personal beliefs and actions. You can expand your knowledge of environmental issues at the 6th annual Project Native film festival at the Tower Theater this Saturday, March 5, 10am-6pm. Saturday’s screening will begin and end with full length documentaries. In between, short films about water and energy will play. 413-533-3456. 19 College St #1, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

BotanySeed SwapBulb ShowLocal FoodNutritional AnthropologyCulinary Arts  ♦ Environmental ScienceHydropowerFamily MusicUkulele ♦ EngineeringAstronomy ♦ ChemistryRobotics ♦ PuppetryFamily Theater ♦  Teen Arts ExpoMusical TheaterLanguage ArtsPoetryBookmakingIntergenerational LearningVisual ArtsSculptureParentingTracking  ♦ Makerspace

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Saturday, March 5, 10am
The ancient practice of swapping seeds serves many purposes: ensuring food security, building community ties, and increasing biodiversity. Even if you don’t have seeds to share, you can come to a seed swap at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. In addition to acquiring new seeds and making good use of your excess seeds, you can learn about seed saving and swap farming/gardening techniques. In addition to seed swapping, there will be workshops and a seed guessing activity. 80 Locust Street.  Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Learn about the science of seeds by finding hands-on place-based ways to connect with the environment. Read how to integrate this interest with literature in our post, Literary Guide for Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long’s “A Seed is Sleepy.”

Saturday, March 5, 10am-4pm; Sunday, March 6, 10am-4pm; Wednesday, March 9, 10am-4pm
Every winter, the Pioneer Valley’s greenhouses burst into bloom despite the cold weather outside. Not only do these first blossoms bring hope towards the end of winter with their color and fragrances, they present a seasonal opportunity for families to learn together about habitat, the life cycle of plants, and the structural nuances that differentiate one species from another. From Saturday March 5 to Sunday, March 20, the Mount Holyoke College botanical gardens will be open, displaying Spring flowers. Start off your Spring celebration off with all your favorite fragrant plants, including hyacinths, narcissus, pansies, freesia, primroses, canary broom, as well as tulips, anemones, ranunculus, crocus, scilla, muscari, cineraria and calceolaria or pocketbook plant. 413-538-2116. Open to the public. Wheelchair accessible. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, March 5, 10am-8pm; Sunday, March 6, 10am-8pm; Wednesday, March 9, 10am-4pm
Every winter, the Pioneer Valley’s greenhouses burst into bloom despite the cold weather outside. Not only do these first blossoms bring hope towards the end of winter with their color and fragrances, they present a seasonal opportunity for families to learn together about habitat, the life cycle of plants, and the structural nuances that differentiate one species from another. From Saturday March 5 to Sunday, March 20, the Smith botanical gardens will be open, displaying Spring flowers. Start off your Spring celebration at the Smith College botanical gardens. Flower show hours:10:00 am to 4:00 pm daily. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays extended hours: 4:00 to 8:00 pm. 413-585-2740. 16 College Ln, Northampton, MA. (DONATION)

Tuesday, March 8, 6:30pm-8pm
With an increasingly globalized and industrial food supply in the United States, it can be difficult to track where your food comes from, and dubious to trust those sources. The best way to know exactly where you food comes from is to grow it yourself! And with growing research showing that the presence of flowers and other plants has a positive impact on mood there are multiple reasons to learn to garden and farm. For novices, though, this task can feel daunting. Attend a seed starting workshop at River Valley Co Op to increase your confidence and get started! Registration is required. Please call: 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Food Studies

Saturday, March 5, 10am-1pm
Support your local farmers, and your health, by shopping at the Greenfield Winter Farmers’ Market at Greenfield Middle School. You’ll find the best produce, meat, and prepared food, not to mention one-of-a-kind artisan crafts. Learn where the food was grown, and how, from the growers themselves. 195 Federal Street, Greenfield, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, March 5, 10am-4pm; Sundays 12 to 5 pm
Interested in the history of food? Take a peek at the new exhibit in Northampton. Come see how people produced and sold food and how people cooked and ate it, through the years. The exhibition is curated by Barbara B. Blumenthal, a member of Historic Northampton’s Board of Trustees. Barbara was a museum guide and hearth cook at Historic Northampton in the 1980s and early 1990s. Her passion for local history and food history led her to poke around in our collections looking for tasty tidbits to share with the public. For more information, read our post Local History Through the Lens of Food: Nutritional Anthropology in the Pioneer Valley. 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA. (Admission with donation)

Saturday, March 5, 1pm-3pm
Packages of fresh or frozen tortellini are available at most American grocery stores; however, making your own tortellini is a fun, satisfying way to connect with your Italian heritage. Even if you are not Italian, you can come to the Italian Heritage Center and learn how to make this delicious food, fresh at home. Please bring an apron. Adults and children are welcome. Take home what you make. Call 860-305-1175 to request a registration form and to check seating availability. 56 Margaret St, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, March 6, 2:30pm-3:30pm
Cooking is a lifelong skill that everyone needs to survive. Teaching kids at a young age how to cook can make them feel empowered and encourage their natural need to become increasingly independent. This cooking class at the Bushnell Sage Library will teach kids how to make veggie burgers, breakfast, and dessert. This is the first instance of a five week cooking class led by Lia P. Douillet. Bring your children between the ages of 10 to 13 and watch them grow into confident chefs! Please call 413-229-7004 to register. 48 S Main St, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Environmental Science

Saturday, March 5, 10am-6pm
Name any topic you find interesting, and someone has made probably a documentary about it. Environmental documentary is a huge and growing genre spanning several topics and using various methods for sparking political and personal changes in behavior. Audiences learn a great deal from documentaries and few other art forms have a greater impact on personal beliefs and actions. You can expand your knowledge of environmental issues at the 6th annual Project Native film festival at the Tower Theater. Saturday’s screening will begin and end with full length documentaries. In between, short films about water and energy will play. 413-533-3456. 19 College St #1, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

This Changes Everything, a film based on the work and writing of renown activist Naomi Klein, will be one of the films included in this festival.

Saturday, March 5, 1pm
Hydropower plants can have both positive and negative impacts on communities and the environment. Five hydropower plants along the Connecticut river are going to be relicensed. These changes could have a great deal of impact on our local environment as well as recreational use of the river for the next two to three decades. Learn about the process of policy making and contribute your thoughts by submitting a comment at the Great Falls Discovery Center. These comments will be included in a public art display, the “River of Words,” at the Vermont State House and other locations across New England. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Want to discover ways to use our rivers and watersheds to support interests and self-directed learning? Check out these posts:


Saturday, March 5, 10:30am
The Jones library in Amherst is bringing 2013 Grammy Nominee and two-time Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Winner, Alastair Moock, to the Woodbury Room as part of their 2016 Children’s Music Series. Alastair Moock co-wrote an album, Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids with his daughter when she was diagnosed with leukemia. He performs these songs in hospitals, clinics, and camps across the country.  Alastair’s performances are an inspiration to kids and adults interested in playing music as a family, and/or engaging in music therapy for loved ones as well as strangers. 20 West St, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Watch the music video for Moock’s song, “When I Get Bald”

Alastair has also guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show over the years, including our All Kinds of Families Episode. and our Songs of Hope & Healing Episode.

Sunday, March 6, 2pm-4pm
Learning to play the ukulele can be a fun introduction to other stringed instruments. At this workshop, Julie Stepanek will teach participants three chords, which is enough to play a few simple folk songs. More experienced players are also welcome to come and bring their own ukulele. Children and adults welcome. Arrive early if you need help with tuning. There will be 20 ukuleles available. Please register to guarantee your spot by calling 413-339-4335. This Tyler Memorial Library event will take place at the Charlemont Town Hall.157 Main Street, Charlemont MA. (FREE)

Saturday, March 6, 6:30pm-7:30pm
Young families can learn about local wildlife through a musical lens at the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environment Center. In his sing-along, Roger Tincknell will have children imitate animal sounds while he plays instruments such as the Irish drum, Incan flute, Russian balalaika, banjo, guitar, mandolin, and harmonica. Can you identify the Russian balalaika? Find out what it looks and sounds like. Ages four and up. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, March 5, 10:30-11:30am
Come to the Sunderland Public Library for LEGO Club! The program allows children to explore the wonderful world of LEGOs with other interested children. A different theme is picked each session, and kids can build on that theme or build a creation of their own. After each club meeting, kids can put their LEGO creations on display at the Library for all to see until the next club. This program is geared for elementary school children (with an adult) but is open to kids of all ages. The LEGO Club will continue to meet every other Saturday. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, March 5, 2pm
Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. These eclipses can either be partial or total, depending on what percentage of the sun is obscured by the moon. In a partial solar eclipse, the edges of the sun are still visible in the sky. Predictions of when solar eclipses occur depend on complex, very large scale geometry. Eclipses occur several times per year but are not often visible from Earth. David Todd taught astronomy and in 1905 he built a telescope which remains today at Amherst College. He went to great lengths to witness eclipses, and thoroughly studied the planet mars. At this Historic Northampton Museum lecture, you can learn about astronomy and local history at the same time! Astronomy professor and author George Greenstein will deliver this presentation. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge St, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

A spectacular solar eclipse happened in March 2015. Missed it? View the highlights of this celestial event below!

Thursday, March 10, 10am-11am
Photography is one example of a technological advancement which is both an art and a science. Without a knowledge of chemical interactions, humans would not have been able to capture images in this way. And yet, the act of developing a photograph also requires an aesthetic interest in how the image appears. This Little Explorers Storytime at the Westfield Athenaeum, will show kids ages 4-6 the importance of both science and art with a story, STEM activities, and a craft. Bringing your young child to this event will open them up to a host of potential interests. Registration required. 413-562-6158, ext. 5. Boys and Girls Activity Room, 6 Elm Street, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, March 8, 6pm
Along with flying cars, robots are a common theme in past movies depicting the future. Although robotic servants are not a common fixture in homes, humans have made large strides in the field of robotics and will likely continue building on those ideas for research purposes as well as the invention of household products and entertainment devices. Come to the Sunderland Public Library to build your own mini robot! 413-665-2642. 20 School St, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Performing Arts

Saturday, March 5, 11am
The Spectrum Playhouse presents “Families First” a performance of two fairytales by the CIP Puppet Troupe. The CIP Puppet Troupe has been writing and performing original shows together for many years now, and have performed in schools, community centers, and nursing homes. Sometimes they incorporate music into their shows. If you have puppets or even stuffed animals, your children may want to stage their own interpretation of the fairy tales back at home. 413-394-5023. 20 Franklin St, Lee, MA. (DONATION)

Saturday March 5, 1:30 pm and 4pm
Let students from kindergarten all the way up to grade twelve enchant you with their performance of Peter and Wendy at the Crocker Farm Elementary School. Peter Pan was originally unveiled as a play in 1904. Later it was presented a novel and picture book, and eventually several films. With so many iterations of the Peter Pan story, you and your children may have different memories of what Peter, Wendy, and Neverland look like and how the story unfolds. This play will be one more imagination to add to the unfolding saga of Peter and Wendy. 413-362-1600. 280 West St, Amherst, MA. (< $)

Saturday, March 5, 2pm & 7:30pm; Sunday, March 6, 11am
Adapted from the beloved classic children’s tale by Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach follows the story of James, an orphan sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree. It’s there that James discovers a mysterious potion that results in a tremendous peach, launching audiences into a journey of enormous proportions! The show combines hilarious orchestrations and steampunk-style costumes with the magical sweetness of a young boy on a whirlwind adventure to find his chosen family. More than a theatrical performance about love and belonging, this event also offers families fun activities before and after the show. One hour before the performance, children have a chance to weave their own web, color in their favorite characters, and hear an abridged telling of Roald Dahl’s whimsical tale, allowing children an introduction to the story prior to seeing it come to life on stage. Show-related treats will be available and there will be a meet and greet with each character after the show. This is certain to be a fun-filled event for children and adults of all ages! Enter code “FamilyBundle” at checkout to receive 2 Adult and 2 Child tickets for only $30. Performances will be held in the Mills Theatre at Bay Path University. 413-565-1307. 588 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. ($)

Sunday, March 6, 1pm-5:30pm
Goshen Rocks is a teen initiated arts expo grew out of a collaboration between People to Watch:The Next Generation and Graffiti Cat Zine. Read more in our post, Goshen Rocks! Teen Initiated Arts Expo Comes to the Hilltowns. People to Watch is a teen-run organization which highlights talented young artists in the area. Graffiti Cat Zine helps young artists connect their work with an audience, whether they make visual art, music, or written pieces. At Goshen Rocks Arts Expo you can support these artists and listen to music from Felixis Jinx, Kalliope Jones, Ursa Minor, Parlicium and the Jackson Williams Trio. Goshen Town Hall. 42 Main Street (Route 9), Goshen, MA. (DONATION)

Get a preview of the music you’ll hear at Goshen Rocks! Here is Kalliope Jones performing “Speak Up.”

Thursday, March 10, 6:30pm-7:45pm
Friday, March 11, 6:30pm-7:45pm
The Music Man is an award winning, broadway play from 1957. This comedic romance centers around Harold Hill, a man who tries to con his town, planning to steal the money they provide for a boys’ band he does not actually plan to organize. The Music Man Junior adapts this play for young adults, keeping all the humor and charm and making the story family friendly for players and audience. This play won the 2013 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play. This production will be performed by area youth between the ages of nine and fifteen. This is the sixth annual Academy Youth Production show. Audience members who have seen The Music Man can compare the changes in this production. Doors open at 6pm. Call 413-584-9032 ext.105 to purchase tickets. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA (<$)

Language Arts

Saturday, March 5, 10am-2:00pm
Join students and community members at Amherst College for the final day of LitFest. This day of literary celebration will commence in Valentine Hall with a presentation from authors Mark Bowden and Stacy Schiff. At noon, attendees will meet at the Emily Dickinson Museum for a walking tour of Amherst and a discussion of Dickinson’s life there. Learn about modern writing and local history at this final day of the festival. Open to the public. Amherst College. Quadrangle Drive, Amherst MA. (FREE)

Saturday, March 5, 2pm
On March 5th, Sunderland Public Library’s story hour will feature a special guest: Toto the Tornado kitten! Toto survived the 2011 tornado which hit Central and Western Massachusetts. Toto’s owner, Jonathan Hall, used this as inspiration for two children’s books. This story hour is a great opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about difficult experiences, and how those life moments can be processed through art. And of course, kitten lovers will have a chance to meet Toto and hear a heartwarming children’s book read aloud. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, March 5, 4pm
It is rather amazing that Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, who originated as a novel 150 years ago, competes with modern characters in the imagination of children. Part of the story’s enduring popularity with children can perhaps be attributed to the fact that Lewis Carroll wrote it for and with children. Lewis first told the story of Alice aloud, improvising and taking advice from the children he told it to. It is fitting, then, that the Greenfield Public Library would celebrate the Alice interactively with an “Experience the Book” event. Children and parents should arrive through the back door of the library promptly at four o’clock to meet Alice herself, participate in an un-birthday party and make a “mad hat”! Please sign up at the children’s desk or call 413-772-1544 x5 to register. 402 Main St, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 9, 4pm-5pm
What makes a good writer great? Practice. The younger you start, the better you’ll get. Young, aspiring writers between the ages of ten and fourteen are invited to work with author and teacher Nell Wright every second and fourth Wednesday of the month during the school year, at the Greenfield Public Library. The group is limited to 8 participants. Please register by calling 413-772-1544 x 5. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 10, 6:30-8pm
What do Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, John Keats, and Samuel Coleridge have in common? They wrote poetry, and specifically, they wrote poetry about nature. The list of poets who write about nature is much longer than this, of course. It spans the history of poetry until the present. Why are so many people attracted to both nature and poetry? This is a complex question with several possible answers. If you are a nature poet or fan of nature poetry, you may have your own theories. Bring your ideas and your favorite nature poems to the Meekins Library for a reading. Read poems, listen to poems, and enjoy snacks provided by the library. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams St, Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, March 6, 1pm-3:30pm
Do you and your children like reading? How would you like to make a book of your own? First, Northfield Naturalist Kim Noyes will lead participants on an outdoor exploration around the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environment Center. Then, using the natural world as inspiration, Joan Duris will help you begin designing your own book. This is the perfect event for adults and children who enjoy writing, art, and nature. Bring a camera, and snowshoes if there is snow. Participants will be able to bring home the book they’ve begun and continue working on it further at home. Please call to register at 1-800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

Journaling is back in fashion! Encouraging your children to absorb the world and then springing their ideas onto the page is the gold standard in creative and personal development. Read on how to see how to set up this creative outlet and how to make it a family involved project. Read more in our post, Journal-Making: Creative Outlet for Bringing Family Together.

Children’s creativity is endless, and often causes the line between fiction and reality to be fuzzy at times. Take advantage of their ability to add creative details to their everyday experiences by using story dice at home! A handmade set can be tailored to a child’s interests and preexisting knowledge, and will generate endless sets of story-crafting inspiration that will support children in developing a wide variety of skills. Read more in our post, Have Your Kids Roll the Story Dice & Add Creative Color to Storytelling.

Understanding Others

Saturday, March 5, 10am-11:05am
As part of the Amherst Cinema family film series, childen can continue their crash course in foreign films by screening the 2015 fantasy film, The Boy and the Beast (PG-13). In this Japanese, animated film, a young boy meets a talking, bearlike creature and becomes his apprentice. The boy, Kyuta, trains to become a warrior. The beasts, in general, do not like humans. Viewing this film as a family could open up conversations about judgment and acceptance. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity St. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, March 5, 2pm-5pm
Through photographs and bi-lingual text, this new exhibit at the Wistariahurst Museum curated by Waleska Santiago, narrates stories of women in general, and Latinas in particular. It focuses on concepts of family, challenges faced by grandmothers raising their families, gender expectations, and the connections between grandmothers and their adult grandchildren. Museum goers can see this as inspiration to start new discussions with their grandparents, or to ask their parents for more information on their grandparents’ lives. The exhibit will run for from March 5 through and April 24: Thursday and Friday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from Noon to 4 p.m. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot St, Holyoke, MA. (Fri & Sat – $; Thurs – FREE; FREE on opening day)

Saturday, March 6, 6:30pm
Pixar’s latest (2015) film, The Good Dinosaur (PG), presents an alternative history in which dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time. This story presents an unlikely friendship between an Apatosaurus and a small boy. Through this friendship the filmmakers explore the theme of courage. Each of the main characters does what he can to protect the other, using different sets of skills and abilities. After screening this movie at the Shutesbury Town Hall, parents can discuss with their kids the story’s ideas about loyalty and embracing differences. Parents can also teach their kids facts about real Apatosauruses, which lived in North America. The first evidence of the Apatosaurus was discovered in 1877. You can use this dinosaur directory to search for museums which house particular species. 413-259-1204. 1 Cooleyville Rd, Shutesbury, MA (DONATION)

Resources for learning about dinosaurs abound here in western Massachusetts. From museum exhibits to hands-on paleontology activities to natural wonders, our region is rich with experiential and place-based opportunities for learning about the prehistoric creatures of the past. Learners of all ages can learn about the science of fossilization, dinosaur species and their adaptations, and the history of the discovery of fossils and footprints right here in western MA – all by utilizing educational resources available locally. Read more in our post, When Dinosaurs Walked…Western Mass, for even more opportunities to explore this interest in Western MA.

Visual Arts

Sunday, March 6. 10am-5pm
Every first Sunday of the month, The Clark Art Institute offers free admission! The Clark Art Institute, located in north Berkshire County, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. The Clark library, open to the public with more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Thursday, March 10, 3pm-5pm
This week during Youth Art Month at The Clark Art Institute, fourth to eighth graders will learn about and make self portraits. “Selfies” may be a daily occurrence in some kid’s lives, but those kids can still benefit from capturing their image the old fashioned way. Making art provides people new ways of looking at the world and analyzing their lives and selves. For that reason it is no surprise that so many artists over the centuries have gravitated toward self portraits. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA ($. Free for children under 18)

Friday, March 11, 4pm-8pm
Some artists lament that “everything has been done before,” while others feel inspired, rather than daunted, by the art of the world. On this afternoon of free activities at the Smith College Museum of Art, creative people of all ages will draw inspiration from the exhibitions and apply these ideas to a hands-on project. Participants will build a sculpture out of cardboard. Following this activity there will be a guided tour and a 7pm screening of the film Kuhle Wampe (Who Owns The World)? (1932) This German film tells the story of a family in Berlin through a fragmented narrative. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm St, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Discover more visual art in the area on our Visual Art Bulletin Board.


Monday, March 7, 6:00pm
Communication across regions of the brain develops most rapidly in a child’s first two years of life. By age two, a child’s brain has the overall structure of an adult’s. All infants’ and toddlers’ brains are rapidly changing, but healthy activities can encourage most positive development. Come to the South Hadley Family Center to learn how to encourage healthy brain connections in your child, and avoid scenarios which inhibit growth. These activities do not have to be difficult or complicated, as your child’s brain is ready to flourish and only needs the right setting and tools. 413-586-4900. 7 Woodbridge St, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 9, 10:30am
Community involvement can help your child make friends, increase his or her self esteem, and build social skills to help him or her adapt to all kinds of new environments in the future. For parents, getting out and meeting community members can help ease the difficulty of parenting through solidarity, friendship, and possibly even a network of babysitters! For this reason, Springfield parents should take advantage of the Square One Family Center. With programs, events, and workgroups for parents and children, both you and your children will feel more connected to and supported by your community. Come to the grand opening to learn more about the free programs this center offers. 413-732-5183. 1095 Main Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 10, 3pm-5pm
The origin of the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child,” is unknown. Some people have claimed it is an African proverb. Several African societies have proverbs which translate to a similar meaning. These proverbs argue that a child does not mature under the influence and care of a single household, and that parenting extends beyond biological caregivers to the entire community. Parents certainly benefit from the help, advice, and compassion of other parents.Meet at the Bridge Street School to discuss the joys and challenges of parenting. Open to parents with young children. Dinner and childcare provided free. Please RSVP and indicate if you need childcare. 413-587-1471. 2 Parsons St. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, March 11, 6pm
Most problematic behaviors in children can be traced back to an emotion: sadness, anger, jealousy, fear, or even happy emotions like excitement. In childhood, we make huge strides in learning how to regulate emotions- an important skill we will need every day of our lives. In this presentation, “The Emotional Life of Children,” Lawrence J. Cohen will discuss his solutions to behavior problems and his methods for encouraging confidence in children. Cohen has published two books about childhood and parenting: Playful Parenting, and The Opposite of Worry. He has worked with both children and parents, consulted in schools, and currently runs a psychotherapy practice. McConnell Theater. Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 10, 2pm-5pm
New moms have so much to learn: about babyproofing, breast feeding, food safety, the list goes on and on. Whether you’re a brand new mom or you have multiple children, you can learn about the first year of child development, get fast facts about immunizations and even have a longer chat with pediatricians. This Community Health Program event will also feature a diaper derby, and a baby basket raffle. Meet other new and expecting mothers. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Animal Studies

Saturday, March 5, 9am-11:30am
Do you or your child enjoy puzzles and mysteries? Animal tracking combines a love of finding clues with learning about animals in local habitats. With the help of naturalist Dan Yacobellis, you can learn to figure out what animals are near based on their tracks on the ground, scat, nests, and dens. Join other nature lovers for this educational treck around Sheep Hill. You will likely see signs of local deer, rabbits, mice, fox and birds. This program is designed for adults and kids 8 and up. For a full day of adventure, children age eight and up (and their caregivers) are welcome to stick around for the fisher cat and bobcat tracking lesson at noon. 413-458-2494 Williamstown, MA. ($)

Saturday, March 5, 12pm-4pm
Have you ever heard a fisher cat screech? It sounds frighteningly similar to a human scream. It’s a good noise to become familiar with so you don’t mistake it for a person in trouble! Fisher cats are predators, and solitary hunters. With the help of naturalist Dan Yacobellis, you can learn the signs of fisher cats and bobcats, by looking closely at their tracks in the Sheep Hill forest. This program is designed for adults and kids 8 and up. For a full day of adventure, you’re also welcome to arrive at 9:00am for a more basic tracking walk. 413-458-2494 Williamstown, MA. ($)


Lying in the space between ideas and their physical manifestations, makerspaces cater to the creators amongst us, providing spaces within which to combine science, technology, engineering, art, and math (a combination widely known as STEAM) in order to produce… who knows what! Read more at our post, Maker Spaces: Community-Based Opportunities to Think, Make, Do, Learn and Share!

Thursday, March 10, 3pm-5pm
3D printers are a type of industrial robot. At a time when the vast majority of products are manufactured outside of the home, by companies, 3D printing allows even laymen to be more involved in the industrial process. Teenagers interested in learning how to use a 3D printer, and finding out how it works, should come to the Westfield Athanaeum. Participants will print a 3D selfie. No experience necessary. This program is part of “Teen Tech Week,” a nationwide project connecting teenagers with technological programs through libraries. 413-499-9480. 6 Elm St, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

The applications of 3D printing technologies are seemingly endless! View this beautiful “blooming” artwork that was created using a 3D printer…

and how a dog was given the opportunity to run for the first time using 3D printed legs!

Thursday, March 10, 3:30pm-4:30pm
What can you make out of paper tubes? Bird feeders, binoculars, and all sorts of crafts can be made out of paper towel tubes. Today’s crafts will be a surprise, but participants ages six and up are invited to use their imaginations and collaborative skills to turn this household item into something special. This is part of a monthly maker lab series at the West Springfield Public Library. 413-736-4561. 511 Main Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, March 11, 3:30pm-5:30pm
Young children and pets have at least one thing in common. You can buy them an expensive present, but there is a good chance they would prefer to play with the box it came in. And what’s wrong with that? Children have immense, innate capacities for imaginative play. Unscheduled, free play may seem frivolous, but this is how children learn. Bring your children to a “Box Party” at the Cummington Family Center and find out what their imaginations will build. Will the box become a house? A spaceship? A car? 2 Main Street. Cummington, MA. (FREE)

Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Blandford, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Erving, Holyoke, Montague, Montgomery, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Warwick and Williamsburg Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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