48 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Birdhouses to Woolcraft. English Country Dancing to Stargazing.

Crocuses are poking their heads through the soil and bird songs fill the air. Spring is on its way! Each spring, many Easter and egg- and bunny-related events crop up. Be sure to read our post, Easter Events in Western MA, for an updated list of these seasonal offerings!

Ceramics to Coding. Birdhouses to Woolcraft. English Country Dancing to Stargazing. 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: People all over New England have been celebrating the Spring season by tapping trees and cultivating Maple Syrup. You can go a few steps further than just buying maple syrup to celebrate. On Sunday, March 20, 1pm-7pm, bring your family to Piti Theatre Company’s Syrup Festival! In addition to syrup tasting there will be horse and carriage rides, puppet shows, and at 2pm, Piti Theater’s performance of “Olde Coleraine: a Musical Hilltown History.” This play features a cast of both adults and children. Learn about the history of your area while supporting local actors, young and old. The festival will take place at Memorial Hall. 51 Bridge St. Shelburne Falls, MA. (Adults $. Children >$)

FarmingWildlife RehabilitationUpcyclingFiber ArtsAstronomyIrish CulturePurimFolk Dancing  ♦ OrnithologyPhenology  ♦ Dendrology  ♦ Maple SugaringComputer ScienceSongwritingWomen’s HistoryChildren’s ChorusVisual ArtsCeramic ArtsPuppetryComedy Language ArtsMycologyBakingParenting

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Community Connections

Do you know the Sesame Street song, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” This childhood favorite introduces listeners to some of the different professionals we depend on in our communities. Many times these people become invisible to us, but without them, our lives would be dramatically affected. Take advantage of two great opportunities this week to meet and learn from important “people in your neighborhood!”

Monday, March 21, 5:30pm -7:30pm
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food is a great event that invites visitors to meet with local farmers and learn about their community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. Whether you are thinking about joining a farm share, have been a CSA member for many years, or simply want to meet the important folks who help grow much of our local food, there’s something for everyone here! Participating in a farm share has many benefits. You support local farmers while also boosting your own health with fresh foods. Obtaining food directly from a farm can also help expand your eating and cooking palate, as you incorporate new ingredients into your meals. Community Supported Agriculture can take many forms. Some CSAs welcome you to participate by picking crops on the farm, while others provide you with already picked fruits and/or vegetables. In Western Massachusetts there are a lot of CSAs from which to choose. Visitors will also enjoy samplings from local farms and food producers. Hosted by the North Adams Farmers’ Market. 85 Main Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 24, 5:30pm
What does a wildlife rehabilitator do each day? One way to learn about this profession is to volunteer for a licensed rehabilitator. As part of the Green Living Seminar Series at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science will be giving a presentation on wildlife rehabilitation, with a focus on their annual work to rehabilitate more than 400 injured and orphaned birds from throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. Find out what rehabilitation entails and why it is so important for various species and habitats. Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation (Room 121). 375 Church St. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, March 19, 10am-4pm
Every time you spend money you are supporting a business or an individual. Come to Frontier Community Enrichment Partnership’s Upcycling Fair and support local artists and entrepreneurs who make products out of recycled materials. There will also be tables where you can learn about local organizations. There will be food for sale, pet products, drawings for baskets to support fundraisers and local musicians playing. Read more in our post, Mindful Consumption at the Up Up Fair. The Up Up Fair will take place at the South Deerfield Congregational Church. 71 N Main St. South Deerfield, MA. (VARIES <$ – $$)

Fiber Arts

Monday, March 21, 7pm-9pm
After the 2008 recession, craft stores felt a boom in sales while many other retailers watched their numbers drop. The increased interest in DIY activities seems to have stuck around. You can join the ranks of crafters and local agriculturists by participating in a free class on crafting with wool. Bring your own fiber tools and learn about the skills of knitting, felting, spinning and weaving. Whether you’re building on a per-existing ability, or want to learn a brand new skill, you can bring the knowledge you gain from this class with you to the upcoming Sheep and Woolcraft fair taking place in the Spring. This class is sponsored by the Southern Hilltowns Adult Education Center.Classes will take place at the Middlefield Senior Center 169 Skyline Trail, Middlefield, MA. (FREE)

If you get bitten by the wool-bug and want to learn how to weave, knit or even how to keep sheep, our region has a number of community and civic organizations you can tap into for support. Sheep & Shawl in South Deerfield offers classes, and WEBS in Northampton has free knitting & crochet drop-ins; Both are more appropriate for self-directed teens & life-long learners.  For a more intergenerational environment, consider one of the free knitting groups that meet-up at local libraries. Peruse the  ongoing events found in our list of Weekly Suggested Events for these free knitting groups that are open to the public.  Wonderful intergenerational environments where skills and stories can be shared!

Wednesday, March 23, 7pm-8:30pm
Do you knit, weave, quilt, or engage in some other fiber art? Meet other fiber artists in the community at Field Memorial Library for a presentation on color theory. How do you decide what colors to use when you knit or weave? Come with questions, theories, and a creative attitude. Materials will be provided. Participants should bring a glue stick and scissors for paper. For more information call 413-522-4944 or email mcfarlandshandwork@comcast.net.


Tuesday, March 22, 7pm
Screen the 2013 documentary Sepideh at Amherst Cinema and you can also participate in a post-film discussion, followed by stargazing! This film is the story of an Iranian teenage girl, named Sepideh Hooshyar, as she explores her love of astronomy and follows her dream of becoming an astronaut. This is not only an inspiring film about where our intellectual interests can take us, it is a modern perspective on Iranian society, gender expectations, and our shared passion for understanding the universe. Rather than thinking about Iran from a political perspective, this film gives viewers a chance to think about the country and the culture on a personal level. Dr. Salman Hameed, Hampshire College professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies, will lead the post show discussion and stargazing with telescopes (weather permitting). 413-253-2547. 28 Amity St. Amherst, MA. ($)

Friday, March 25, 4pm, 7pm
Space exploration, including exploration of the moon, are among some of the greatest human accomplishments. But what does landing on the moon feel like? What kind of effect does the job of astronaut have on a person, and on his family? The 2014 documentary, The Last Man on the Moon (not rated) tells the story of Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan from a deeply personal perspective. Going to outer space, especially in the early years of space exploration, is akin to going to war. You and your family cannot be certain you will return. Come to The Little Cinema inside The Berkshire Museum to witness this personal and historical account. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (>$)

Being accessible to everyone, everywhere, at all times, the sky is the ultimate community-based educational resource! Using a wealth of resources from books to apps, citizen science to local planetariums, families can explore outer space together and learn experientially about the sky above us. Read more in our post, Astronomy Resources for Budding Scientists.

Cultural Studies

Saturday, March 19, 10am
The Irish-American experience remains an important part of the history of the Pioneer Valley. Join Holyoke’s 2016 Ambassador Award Winner, Dr. Mary C. Kelly to learn more about the history of the Irish experience in America at the Holyoke Public Library. 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, March 19, 1pm
The figure of “fairy godmother” has its roots in fairy tales of varied cultural origins. Today’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration will blend the allure of fairy tale figures with a modern magic show. The performance will feature Irish culture and history. Our fairy godmother’s performance will also involve audience participation. The Irish Fairy Godmother Magic at the Holyoke Public Libraryshow is designed for audiences aged 3 to 8, and their caregivers. 413-420-8101. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, March 20, 12pm-3pm
Purim is a holiday celebrating the defeat of Haman, a man who planned to kill all the Jews. During Purim, those celebrating often recount the story of Esther, the Persian-Jewish queen, and her role in the defeat of Haman. At the Jewish Community Center we will be celebrating Purim with family friendly activities including a bounce house, an indoor campfire, games, a candy room, kosher BBQ, an indoor rock wall, and more. Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA. (>$)

Mama Doni celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim on Hilltown Family Variety Show! Celebrating the universal theme of Purim: standing up to adversity, having a voice, self empowerment, Mama Doni shares classic songs of strength. This unique Radio Show will give listeners a flavor of Purim — from the fun and crazy to the true meaning and message of this cool Jewish holiday. Listen to the podcast any time: HFVS Purim Episode with Guest DJ, Mama Doni.

Sunday, March 20, 3pm-5pm
Get some exercise and have fun with other families at The Common School in Amherst. Marguerite Durant will teach you some basic English Country Dancing, accompanied by live fiddle and piano music. Families with children twelve and older, with or without experience, are invited to participate in the dance. Younger children are also welcome if they have some experience with country dancing. Please direct any questions to Linda Henry via email at lindapiano@gmail.com. 521 S. Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (DONATION)


Saturday, March 19, 1:30pm-2pm
Last year’s effort to create bluebird nest boxes in Berkshire county helped to assist birds in their 78 nesting attempts totaling 338 eggs, leading to 257 fledged birds. Come to this family-friendly nature workshop at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and assemble a bluebird nesting box to take home. These boxes might also attract other birds such as Tree Swallow, House Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, and White-breasted Nuthatch. This workshop will include information on where to place the nest boxes. Learn about wildlife, habitat, and reproductive patterns of local birds and have a positive impact on your environment. Please call 413-637-0320 to register. Best suited for children ages five through twelve. 472 W Mountain Rd. Lenox, MA. (Adult $$. Children free)

Learn about different bird species and habitat! Building a birdhouse is a great activity to do on a rainy afternoon that incorporates many skills and interests (woodworking, building, design, citizen science). There are many things to consider before building a birdhouse so take a look at Mass Audubon’s informational site on birdhouses to get started.

Sunday, March 20, 10am-12pm
Learn about local bird migration at Bartholomew’s Cobble, as experts point out species of birds which have recently arrived due to the warmer weather. Participants will learn how to identify these species not only by appearance but also by their calls. Bring binoculars if you have them. For information call 413.298.3239 x3013 or email cpetrikhuff@thetrustees.org. 117 Cooper Hill Rd. Sheffield, MA. (>$. Children FREE)


Saturday, March 19, 10am-11am
Introduce your child to nature at ArcadiaWildlife Sanctuary with an hour long guided hike designed specifically for caregivers and their young children (ages five and under). Enjoy the subtle changes in daylight, temperature, vegetation, and animals of spring. You will learn skills and tricks to guide your own nature walks with your children. Feel free to stay after the event for a picnic or to continue exploring. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Rd. Easthampton, MA. (>$)

Saturday, March 19, 10am-11:30am
Besides warmer weather and longer days, what are some natural signs of Spring? At Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary a nature expert will point out some of these signs including the return of turkey vultures, and spring insects such as lighting bugs and frogs. Keep an eye out for skunk cabbage. After the walk, you can continue to look for signs of Spring in your own neighborhoods. 413-584-3009. Main St. Hampden, MA. (>$)

Saturday, March 19, 10am-12pm
How do you typically identify trees? You may first decide to look at their leaves. But what about in the winter months? Bark can provide some clues, but buds are the most definitive way to know. Come to the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and learn how to use a pocket key to identify trees based on their bark and branches. Registration is required. Call 413-637-0320 to register. Fee includes Winter Tree Finder field guide for participants. 472 West Mountain Rd. Lenox, MA. ($)

Saturday, March 19, 11am
Science enthusiasts between the ages of four and eight are invited to join the Young Scientist Club at Gaylord Memorial Library. Today the young scientists will learn how maple syrup is made and what some signs of Spring are, besides warm weather. What species of birds just arrived for the start of the season? What do they look and sound like? Come curious and leave curious. 413-538-5047. 47 College St.South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Local History

Saturday, March 19; Sunday, March 20
Maple sugaring is a centuries-old tradition in New England, and the seasonal industry remains an important part of the foundation upon which local agricultural is built. The production of maple syrup is historically important in part because it is one of few North American agricultural processes that is not a European colonial import. The sugar season is weather dependent since the sap needs to thaw in order for it to be harvested. Sugaring, therefore, is not only a historic tradition and a still thriving part of industry; sugar harvesting signals that Spring is near! Come to Old Sturbridge Village on a Maple Day in March (Saturday, March 19 3:30pm-4pm and Sunday, March 20 9:30am-4pm) to witness maple harvesting techniques, including Native American methods, early 19th-century New England, 20th century metal buckets, and contemporary tubing. You can also check out the hours of operation and location of local sugar shacks at the CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) website. You can learn even more about Massachusetts Maple production at the Mass Maple site. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($)

How sweet the end of winter is here in western Massachusetts – and not just because the snow is beginning to melt! Warmer temperatures signal the start of sap flow in sugar maples, whose frozen and sleepy roots and limbs come alive when the landscape begins to thaw. Maple sugaring is a centuries-old tradition in New England, and the seasonal industry remains an important part of the foundation upon which local agricultural is built. Additionally, maple sugaring brings opportunities for families to engage in intergenerational community-based learning through visits to farms, community meals, living history, and experiential hands-on activities. Read more in our post, Maple Sugar Season: A Sweet Point of Entry to Community Engagement… and Learning!

Tuesday, March 22, 7:15pm
The Pelham Historical Society has been providing historical information on the town of Pelham, including Pelham family genealogies, for fifty years now. The Society also showcases local artists in the Ruth Sherburne Sturrus Art Gallery . Come to the Pelham Library to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this educational community resource, with cake and trivia! You will also learn about the reopening and upgrading of the Pelham Museum, with chances to become involved in this process yourself. For more information contact Blair Bigelow, 413-259-1117. Ramsdell Room of the Pelham Library, 2 S. Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Computer Science

Sunday, March 20, 1pm-3pm
Cybersecurity is important to anyone who uses the internet. Not only do you need to take measures to protect your files, but your very identity and thus your finances. People who create anti-virus software need to have the same level of hacking knowledge of the people who create the viruses. More and more colleges are beginning to teach these important, if slightly taboo, skills. Join Holyoke Codes as we will learn about cryptography, crack passwords and join forces for a Capture the Flag hacking contest! Ages ten and up. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center 100 Bigelow St. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 23, 5:30-7:30pm
Come to a Holyoke Codes lab night and work on any project you like while meeting people and getting inspired by their projects. You’re welcome to play with a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or WeDo robotics kit, work in Scratch, get help learning HTML, Javascript, or another programming language, learn how to create your own Minecraft mods, or write mobile apps for Android with App Inventor. The possibilities are nearly endless. Many of the Holyoke coders have been working with Raspberry Pi and are interested in getting started with gemma wearable computing projects. All ages welcome. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center 100 Bigelow St. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Music Studies

Saturday, March 19, 10:30am
David Grover has performed with well-known musicians such as Pete Seeger and Doc Watson. He has also won multiple Parents’ Choice awards and a Grammy nomination. Come to the Jones Library to listen yourself and find out what makes David’s music so appealing to both children and adults. Bring the whole family! Woodbury Room. 413- 259-3090. 43 Amity St. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show History through Stories & Songs Episode with Guest DJ, David Grover! David put together an eclectic mix of favorite folk songwriters and singers that highlights the history of our country:

Tuesday, March 22, 6:30-9pm
Where do songwriters begin when they sit down to write? Do they decide on a chord structure and then write words? Do they improvise? In all likelihood, each musician is a little different. In this workshop at the Spectrum Playhouse Songwriter Sandy McKnight will educate participants about song structure, recording, publishing, and licensing. Get tips on how to begin or how to improve the songs you’ve already written. You will need to register by emailing KDemler@cipberkshire.org. 413-394-5023. 20 Franklin St. Lee, MA($)

Wednesday, March 23, 6:30pm
Skylarz, a female musical duo, will be showcasing their vocal skills at the Whately Public Library. Utilizing flute and piano, Skylarz play jazz and classic American songs. Today, in addition to entertaining visitors of all ages, they will educate with a presentation on the history of women singers, songwriters and performers. Who are some of your favorites? What kind of impact do you think those women had on the course of music? 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Rd. Whately, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 23, 6:30-8pm
Come learn to play this convenient, portable string instrument, in a supportive environment with other beginners. More experienced ukulele players are also welcome, however, to come join in on the fun at the Storrs Library Please bring a ukulele if you own one. Loaner ukuleles will be available on a first-come first-served basis. With only four strings, the ukulele is easier to learn than the guitar and can be a great introduction to learning chord progressions. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow St. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 23, 7pm
Do your children love music? Take them to see the Children’s Chorus of Springfield as they showcase their hard work. Participation in a choir or other musical group teaches social skills such as teamwork, discipline and self-control. Reading music engages the parts of the brain responsible for determining patterns. Reading and playing music is a visual, kinesthetic, and auditory act, in addition to being tons of fun! Please register online. The concert will take place at Mills Theater, Carr Hall, Bay Path University. 588 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Visual Arts

Saturday, March 19, 11am-12pm
In the Berkshire Museum’s ArtZoo exhibit, visitors can see familiar and exotic animals depicted in photography, painting, sculpture, ceramic, video, and more. The works of art are organized by species, like a zoo. In the exhibit, you and your kids can learn about animals as well as art (without any of the moral concerns associated with captive animals.) Families can also participate in “animal yoga,” practicing positions such as downward dog and butterfly pose. This Saturday is the ideal time to see the exhibit. The exhibition’s manager will be present, with two of the artists, to give a guided tour. Photographers Dan Mead and Sally Eagle will discuss their wildlife photography, and Eagle will tell you the background story behind her award-winning video, Ambush in the Pantanal. With so many instances of the same animal depicted in different forms, this is a great opportunity for your children to learn about and identify artistic mediums. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, Ma. (Adult $. Child >$)

Thursday, March 24, 3pm-5pm
Does your child like to make art for friends and family? Lots of kids like to make cards for people. As part of “Youth Art Month” at The Clark your child can make a personalized stamp to use to give her artwork a personalized mark. Recommended for 4th–8th graders; all children must be accompanied by an adult. 413 458 2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, Ma (Cost of admission: Adults $. Under 18 FREE)

Thursday, March 24, 5:30-6:30pm
The Williamstown Youth Center, has the perfect event for children ages two through eight who like to get messy! There will be Goop and Flubber to play with, along with lots of hands-on art activities. Your child will be able to play and create freely with lots of sensory stimulation. 413-458-5925. 66 School St Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Our community is rich with visual art exhibits. Check our Visual Art Bulletin Board for exhibits happening around the region.

Ceramic Arts

Saturday, March 19, 12:30-1:30pm
Community members of all ages are welcome to come to the Huntington Public Library to learn about pottery. There will be brief opportunities to actively participate, as well as view demonstrations and explanation of this art form’s historical background. This event is a great way to spark interest in a hands-on, practical art form which teaches patience and dexterity. 413-667-3506. 7 E Main St. Huntington, Massachusetts. (FREE)

Saturday, March 19, 3:30pm
The whole family can learn about ceramics through this wheel throwing demonstration at the Montgomery Library. This interactive presentation will focus on creatures and animals such as chickens, penguins, pigs and parrots. What is your child’s favorite animal? Nick, the ceramics expert, can probably make it. Learn about the endless possibilities of pottery with other families. 413-862-3894. 160 Main Rd. Montgomery, MA. (FREE)

Families can explore the role of pottery in early New England life at Historic Deerfield, home to an extensive ceramics collection (consisting of over 1,000 objects!). An essential part of life at home in the New England of centuries past, studies of the material culture of pottery artifacts can help families to learn about what life was like during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. While some pieces may seem to have an obvious use, it is only under close examination that their true purpose can be revealed!

Exploring pottery through children’s literature provides a means for exploring culture and history. Rins Swentzell’s Children of Clay: A Family of Pueblo Potters spotlights a Tewa Indian family in New Mexico, who tell the story of their family’s and community’s history through a series of clay objects – allowing readers to learn about Tewa history and culture. Laban Carrick Hill’s Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave tells the true story of an enslaved man living in South Carolina during the early 1800’s. Readers learn about 19th century pottery techniques while also learning about the experience of slavery.

Performing Arts

Saturday, March 19, 11:15am
The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School will be bringing together two enduring forms of childhood entertainment: puppet shows and fairy tales. Puppet shows appeal to children’s desire to bring inanimate objects to life and in some cases, see animals talk. Fairy tales have classic themes which allow them to remain popular over the centuries. Bring your children ages 2 through 9 to see a puppet show performance of “Snow White and Rose Red” at the Mason Public Library 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington. MA (FREE)

Saturday, March 19, 2pm
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie set in a town you know well? It can be interesting to bring your own knowledge of a place to a work of art, and enlightening to see the town from a new perspective. West Side of The Bridge is an original play based partly on Grease and West Side Story but set in Amherst and Northampton. This uplifting story of a rivalry between “The Hurricanes” and “The Devils” will provide a new take on your community and on traditional musicals. Students of Whole Children, an inclusive community center, will perform this musical for the public at Smith College. Purchase your tickets at the Whole Children website before they sell out! Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre.122 Green Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, March 19, 4pm
Have you ever wanted to try improv comedy? Do you have a child who loves the limelight? You and your family can take your turn in the spotlight, or relax and laugh in the audience at the “Happier Valley Family Comedy Show.”The show will utilize audience participation to create scenes, songs and games. If you or your child do a great job making people laugh, don’t just write yourselves off as silly. Humor is a sign of both intelligence and creativity (and requires a degree of fearlessness to try!) Ages 5-12 and their caregivers. 121 Club. 116 Pleasant Street of Easthampton, MA (<$ Kids. $ Adults)

Sunday, March 20, 1pm-7pm
People all over New England have been celebrating the Spring season by tapping trees and cultivating Maple Syrup. You can go a few steps further than just buying maple syrup to celebrate. Come to Piti Theatre Company’s Syrup Festival! In addition to syrup tasting there will be horse and carriage rides, puppet shows, and at 2pm, Piti Theater’s performance of “Olde Coleraine: a Musical Hilltown History.” This play features a cast of both adults and children. Learn about the history of your area while supporting local actors, young and old. The festival will take place at Memorial Hall. 51 Bridge St. Shelburne Falls, MA. (Adults $. Children >$)

Sunday, March 20, 2pm
All community members are invited to the New Hingham Elementary School to see Tanglewood Marionettes bring the story of Hansel and Gretel to life. Watch skilled marionettists manipulate hand crafted puppets. This could be a great introduction to the classical fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, or it could provide an interesting new representation of the characters. 30 Smith Road. Chesterfield, MA. (FREE)

Language Arts

Saturday, March 19, 1:30-2:30pm
Do you know a book lover who also loves dogs? How about a dog lover who struggles with reading? Children between the age of three and nine can come to the Westfield Athenaeum and meet their next reading buddy, a friendly dog! Learning to read aloud can be nerve racking. Before reading to classmates or teachers your child can practice reading to a furry, non-judgmental, non-threatening friend. Reading is a fundamental skill necessary for learning across subjects and professions. A love for reading will also bring a great deal of joy to your child’s life. The “Read to Rover” program aims to help children associate reading with fun! Registration is required. Boys and Girls Activity Room. 6 Elm St, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, March 20, 12pm-4pm
On “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day” at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art visitors celebrate the book by making art, playing games, and taking pictures with costumed characters. There will be storytimes, films, and an opportunity for kids to make their own butterfly wings! This day is also celebrated far beyond the Carle museum at schools, libraries, and bookstores. This celebration allows children to be active participants in this story rather than passive listeners. 413- 559-6315. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA (>$)

Tuesday, March 22, 4pm
Languages are not stagnant. They evolve over time, with new slang emerging, the meaning of words changing, and some words falling out of fashion completely. William Shakespeare introduced hundreds of words and phrases into the English language which are still used on a daily basis. Jane Sutcliffe, author of Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk, will talk about the power of words in this storytime for children ages two and up. Come to the Odyssey Bookshop for this talk, and word games. There will be opportunities for kids to use some of Shakespeare’s phrases themselves. 413-534-7307. 9 College St. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Culinary Arts

Only 30 slots are available, so register now for a edible mushroom cultivation workshop at the Sunderland Public Library on April 2nd. The hands-on workshop will take place at 2pm and participants will learn how to create a mushroom log (which they will be able to take home!) This event is a great introduction into studying mycology. You will learn about the mushroom life cycle and the ecological role mushrooms play in our environment. Then you can see it for yourself as you cultivate mushrooms in your own backyard! Call 413-665-26420 to register. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, March 20, 10am-11:30am
Hamantaschen is a Jewish desert, made in the shape of a triangle to represent the tri-corned hat of Haman. This holiday pastry symbolizes the defeat of Haman, enemy of the Jewish people. You can learn how to make Hamantaschen (regular and gluten free recipes) and socialize with local families at Lander-Grinspoon Academy. This event is best suited for children ages 3-5 and their caregivers. There will be upcycled noisemakers for the kids to play with. Please direct questions to offfice@LanderGrinspoon .org​. 257 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, March 20, 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 part of a five week cooking class led by Lia P. Douillet on Sunday afternoons (March 6, 13, 20 & April 3 & 17). 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)


Saturday, March 19, 10:30am-12:30pm
Parents are constantly striking a balance between giving their children necessary and healthy freedoms, and setting limits to keep them safe. Betsy Evans , Educational Consultant, Conflict Resolution Specialist, and author of You Are Not My Friend Anymore will give parents tips on when and how to set healthy limits for your children. This event is sponsored by the Frontier Regional CFCE Program. There will be free childcare available in the children’s room of the Sunderland Public Library. Questions: Please contact: amy.battisti@frsu38.org. 20 School Street. Sunderland MA. (FREE)

Sunday, March 20, 4pm-5:30pm
Many parents struggle with broaching topics of sex and gender with their children. Influences of media and peers are unavoidable, however, so it is wise for parents to put their values across to their children before or in conjunction with these other influences. Come to Northampton Area Pediatrics for advice on how to talk about these subjects from certified Sexuality Educator Jane Fleischman. Jane has over 35 years of educational experience and is a seasoned presenter and workshop coordinator. Come with questions. Space is limited. RSVP to alok@napeds.com or call 413-517-2226. 193 Locust Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, March 21, 10am-11am
Do you have a child around age eight or younger with developmental delays? Come to the Haskins Center to meet other parents to share resources and discuss your experiences. Transportation and child care available. Please call 413-664-4821 to register for child care and or transportation. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, March 22, 6pm-7:30pm
Managing emotions and communicating effectively are lifelong skills we use every day. All young children struggle with regulating their emotions. Children feel frustrated with their lack of freedom and their limited (yet constantly growing!) abilities. In this workshop series, Certified Holistic Health Counselor Sarah Patton will provide strategies to help parents help their children. This is the first of six workshops taking place at Erving Elementary School on in March and April: on March, 15, 22, 29, April, 5,12,26. This class promises to instill greater competence and confidence in your children and help them follow directions more effectively. These are complex issues and there is no magic solution.Unlike one-time parenting events, in this workshop you can test new strategies, provide feedback, and ask questions over the course of several weeks. 28 Northfield Rd. Erving, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, March 22, 6pm-7:30pm
In this week’s “Puzzle of Parenting” event, we will discuss problematic behaviors and their origins. Presenting solutions to these behaviors by addressing the emotions and struggles which lead children to break rules and lash out. Young children are figuring out how to regulate their emotions. In doing so they experiment and push boundaries. This event will take place at the Ware Family Center.413-967-8127. United Church of Ware, 49 Church St. Ware, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, March 23, 11am-12:30pm
Grandparents face their own challenges, separate from parenting. The purpose of this group is to provide grandparents a space to connect and share their experiences. A lunch will be provided for participants as well as children in childcare during the event. Whether you are a new grandparent or have several grandchildren, this is a great way to make new friends, and become familiar with the resources at the Palmer Monson Family Network 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 24, 7pm
The entire community is invited to a meeting of the Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition, with a presentation by local physician Dr. Ruth Potee. She earned her medical degree from Yale University and has served as a co-chair for the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and North Quabbin. In her presentation, “The Teenage Brain: Under Construction,” she will discuss the impact of drugs on the adolescent brain. There are striking neurological changes which emerge in the period of adolescence. These changes have a profound effect on emotions and decision making. Although individual development varies, the brain is typically not fully finished developing until around age twenty-five. During this period when connections between brain regions are forming, it is crucial to encourage healthy behaviors to aid, rather than hinder, growth. Parents, teens, business leaders, community members, faith leaders, and anyone invested in teenage development is encouraged to attend. Northampton High School, 70 Williston Ave, 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (cc) Ferruccio Zanone]

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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