57 Community-Based Educational Highlights: Engineering to Bicycling. Food Security to Fire-building.

Yo-yos have been around for a long time, and their use is documented in many cultures, perhaps as far back as ancient Greece! These toys, along with jump ropes, hula hoops, and others, make up a subset of toys called “skill toys.” Experts, novices, and anyone else interested in this type of toy can participate in a fun skillsharing event this week!

Engineering to bicycling. Food security to fire-building. Canines to quilts. These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

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

Featured community highlight this week: The recent transit of Mercury may have piqued your and your family’s interest about astronomical events! How do astronomers predict events like the transit of Mercury with such accuracy? In short, they use mathematics. Astronomers draw from concepts of physics, and use algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus to make measurements of distances between objects in the sky, the speeds at which they are traveling, and other factors, and then develop predictions of various arrangements of celestial bodies with respect to Earth. You don’t need to know anything about mathematics to appreciate the beauty of the sky, however. Come to the Springfield Museums on Astronomy Day, Saturday, May 14th, from 12pm-4pm, to engage in safe sunspot viewing, and see a collection of meteorites. There will be hands-on activities for all ages, information about how craters are formed on the moon, and a space sensory bin for kids. 413-263-6800, ext. 318. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Under 3 and museum members FREE)

OrnithologyCitizen ScienceCommunity MealService-based LearningBotanyCollaborative ConsumptionLocal HistorySTEAMMakerspaceArchitectureSkillsharingWoodworkingShakespeareLanguage ArtsQuiltingVisual ArtsYouth TheaterMusic StudiesFilm StudiesCultural Studies ♦ Parenting

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Animal Studies

Saturday, May 14, 7am-10am
Lime Kiln Farm Wildlife Sanctuary’s “Through the Seasons” programs encourage nature lovers to visit the sanctuary and observe seasonal changes. This morning bird walk offers the chance to look and listen for migrating birds. 413-637-0320. 568 Silver Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 14, 10am-12pm
Sheep raising and woolcraft are integral parts of local history as well as modern businesses across the pioneer valley. Learning about sheep can get kids interested in and connected to their community. Young animal lovers and their caregivers are invited to the Sunderland Public Library for “Sheep in a Jeep!” a program which will integrate storytelling, crafts, and sheep! Paired with a reading of children’s book Sheep in a Jeep, attendees will get to pet real sheep, and sit in a real Jeep! 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 14, 10:30am-11:30am
Studying migration opens up new ways of understanding animal behavior and habitat. What do birds need in one area that causes them to move? This story hour at Great Falls Discovery Center will explore migration of birds, fish, and butterflies through crafts and activities. This event is for children between the ages of six and eight, with a caregiver. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

What might it be like to be a migrating animal? This video of the annual mule deer migration in Wyoming gives viewers a sense of the amazing journey so many animals undertake.

Sunday, May 15th, all day
Imagine going outside and counting all the species of birds, plants, reptiles, amphibians, and insects- all the living things you could find. Alone, this would be a draining exercise. But with lots of help you could identify a lot of local species and learn a great deal about the biodiversity of your region. That’s exactly what will take place at The Hitchcock Center’s 17th Annual 2016 Biothon, a fundraiser for the Center’s environmental education programs. Teams will compete to identify the most species at specific sites for any time period (up to 24-hours) on Friday, May 13 – Sunday, May 15 or on Friday, June 3 – Sunday, June 5. Teams will choose their day, time, location, and what species to count. Visit the Hitchcock Center for the Environment website for more information. Locations vary, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

Sunday, May 15, 11am-5pm
Not only are dogs great companions, but they’re fascinating subjects of study, and can teach us a lot about ourselves – despite differences in genetics. By utilizing a range of resources, families can use dogs as a lens through which to explore service learning, citizen science, and the evolution of human society. Sunday, May 15th is the last day to explore the Springfield Museums exhibit “Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs,” which chronicles canine history all the way from its lupine forefathers to its close connections with modern humans. Wolf to Woof is the largest and most comprehensive exhibit of its kind. It includes four separate themed sections that educate through artifacts, photo murals, multimedia displays, dioramas (including taxidermic specimens of wild canines), and models of familiar domesticated dog breeds. See it before it’s gone! 413-263-6800, ext. 318. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Under 3 and museum members FREE)

Wednesday, May 18, 7pm-8:30pm
Beavers have a remarkable impact on their habitat, as other animals are attracted to the ponds beavers create. Beavers help keep drinking water safe and increase biodiversity. Come to Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary to learn more about their habits and the history of beavers in North America. Beavers have spent 7 million years in this region, and many reintroduction efforts have taken place to improve declining beaver populations.This event is suitable for children three to twelve years old and their caregivers. Dress for the outdoors in long pants, long sleeves and a hat. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox, MA. ($ Adult <$ Child <$ Members)


Saturday, May 14, 8am-11am
You can be a part of Springfield history by attending the (hopefully) World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast! This tradition began in 1976, during the country’s centennial celebration, when residents gathered together on Main Street for a community breakfast. The tradition continued as an attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest breakfast. Now, this volunteer-based, community gathering takes place on May 14th in celebration of Springfield’s founding date. State Street to Bridge Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 14, 12pm-4pm
Montague’s Music Festival is more than just a celebration of local musicians. Bands and individuals invite neighbors into their homes, porches, or barns to hear them play, in a system of “reverse caroling.” Get to know your neighbors as you discover their musical talents! This is also a good opportunity to explore Montague on foot or bike. It is also possible to drive, although parking will be limited. Visit the Good Music Makes Good Neighbors Facebook page for more information. Montague, MA. (DONATION)

Saturday, May 14, 2pm-5pm
Typically, bicycling attire for a modern American usually involves athletic wear and sneakers. But at the beginning of cycling history, during the early 19th century, cyclists wore their typical, everyday clothing even when using bicycles for transport. You are encouraged to do the same at the 2nd Annual Spring Tweed Ride in Northampton. This event started in London 17 years ago and encouraged participants to dress up in nice clothing and go for a leisurely ride on vintage bicycles. The ride will begin at 2pm in the plaza behind Thorne’s Market, and culminate in Look Park for an afternoon tea with light refreshments. Participants can register online at sliding scale amounts starting at $15. Kids ride free! This is a fun opportunity to dress up in fancy attire (if you wish) and get some exercise with your family. Northampton, MA. ($ – $$$)

Learn a bit of the history and culture behind tweed rides in this clip about the annual tweed ride in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, May 14, 5pm
Explore various restaurants in downtown Buckland while supporting the Buckland Public Library. The evening will begin with appetizers at Old Parsonage, followed by dinner in the Griswold Room of the Buckland Public Library, and rounded off with dessert in Bird’s Nest B&B. Your support will be greatly appreciated, and you will have the chance to dine with friends, neighbors, and community members who also want to give back to their local library. 413-625-9412. Buckland, MA. ($$)

Service-based Learning

Saturday, May 14, 9am
You can participate in a nationwide food drive, hosted by the National Association of Letter Carriers, simply by placing a plastic bag of non perishable food items in your mailbox before 9am on Saturday, May 14. If you live in Amherst, Belchertown, Pelham, Hadley, Sunderland or South Deerfield, your donation may be given to the Amherst Survival Center, to help local families! Nationwide. (DONATION)

Saturday, May 14, 9am-3:30pm
According to the 2014 Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts, the poverty rate in this state is the highest it has been since 1960, causing hundreds of thousands of households to be food insecure. If you’re between the ages of fourteen and nineteen, you’re invited to the Community Action Annual Youth Conference to learn more and make a difference. A series of workshops to take place at Turners Falls High School will educate youth about hunger and the ways they can help. Please register on the Food Bank of Western MA website. 222 Turnpike Road, Montague, MA ($)

Saturday, May 14, 11am-4pm
Invasive plant species thrive and spread to a degree that they begin to do harm to the biodiversity of their habitat. These species can be harmful to human health, or dominate an ecosystem in a dangerous way. Hardy Kiwi is a locally invasive species which kills all other vegetation as it spreads. You can help remove Hardy Kiwi from the area around Burbank Park. Volunteers will meet at the boat launch. 413-429-6416. Lakeway Drive, Pittsfield, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Invasive plants are hugely problematic in countless ecosystems. Learn more about their insidious effects on native species populations within our National Parks:

Sunday, May 15, 10am-1pm
Invasive plant species thrive and spread to a degree that they begin to do harm to the biodiversity of their habitat. These species can be harmful to human health, or dominate an ecosystem in a dangerous way. You can learn about Garlic Mustard, a plant that is invasive in areas of New England, as you help eradicate it. You will also be able to taste this edible plant! For more information including where to meet, email brittany@kestreltrust.org. South Hadley, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Collaborative Consumption

Saturday, May 14, 8:30am-1pm
Kids grow out of clothing so quickly, buying their clothing can put a strain on parents’ finances. You can help other parents, and support the Williamstown Elementary School PTO, by donating your clothing or time to their Children’s Clothing Sale. If you wish to donate gently used clothing such as items sizes 0(infants) – 16 (teens), maternity, sportswear, swimwear, costumes, or shoes, please drop them off in donation bins in the front lobby of the school. If you want to help run the sale, please email wesclothingsale@gmail.com. Otherwise, come shop for gently used clothing at great prices! Everyone wins. The sale will take place in the the Williamstown Elementary SchoolCafeteria. 413- 458-5707. 115 Church Street, Williamstown, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, May 14, 9am-3pm
Book sales help fund public libraries so they are able to provide programming, materials, museum passes, and much more. They also keep perfectly good books out of the waste stream! This Book, Plant, and Bake sale at the Sunderland Public Library will give community members the opportunity to support the library while they shop for plants for their garden or home. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 14, 10am-1pm
The Hilltown Seed Saving Network is holding its fourth annual Spring Seed and Plant Exchange at the Community House. Bring unwanted plants and seeds to swap with others, and find the perfect plants to grow this season and swap seeds for summer crops! Anyone who brings a plant or seeds will be eligible to win a $20 gift certificate from Fedco Seeds. You do not need to bring anything in order to participate. Experienced gardeners and seed savers will be present to answer questions. Bring the whole family and exchange gardening tips with neighbors and friends. 413-634-5013. 33 Main Street. Cummington, MA. (FREE)

Friday, May 20, 10am-5pm
Looking for a good book to read, or give to someone as a gift? Green your consumption practices by finding a used but new-to-you book at a local book sale! At the Storrs Library Spring Book Sale, your purchases provide money to support programs, events, museum passes, landscaping and more, and you give books another chance to bring joy, wonder, suspense, mystery, or humor into someone’s life. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Local History

Saturday, May 14, 9:30am
Celebrate the Bicentennial year of Enfield by learning about the Quabbin, as well as the former Hanks Farm and Martindale Farm. On this walking tour, you will explore cellar holes near Hanks Meadow and old Webster Road. Participants will meet at Town Hall Complex at 9:30 a.m. to carpool to site. This event is sponsored by the Pelham Historical Society. For more information call 413-695-1797. 820 Enfield Street, Enfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 14, 10am
Did you know that two of the most well-known female abolitionists and women’s rights activists, Sojourner Truth and Lydia Maria Child, lived in Florence? Important education reform also began in Florence. Elizabeth Palmer Peabody helped to establish the first free kindergarten, The Florence Kindergarten. You can participate in this walking tour of Florence to learn more about these and other women’s rights activists who resided there. This event is sponsored by Historic Northampton. 413-584-6011. Meet at the Sojourner Truth Statue at the corner of Park and Pine streets in Florence, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 14, 2pm
The meadows in Northampton are an unusual space, used as farmland, a nature preserve, a recreational space, a place where suspicious packages are detonated, and more. In spite of the fascinating history and present use of the space, it often goes unnoticed even by Northampton residents. Naturalist and writer Laurie Sanders will be giving a talk on the meadows at Historic Northampton. She will discuss the many roles the land has played culturally and economically. This talk is a great supplement to the current exhibit “The Great Meadow: Natural and Cultural Histories of Northampton’s Meadows,” which explores the agricultural history of the space through contemporary art, in the form of photographs and illustrations. Check out both for a full, multi-disciplinary learning experience! 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 15, 2pm
Studying tea rooms provides insight into local history and women’s history. These venues, primary run by women, were common in Northampton in the first half of the twentieth century. Smith College students and local (often women’s) clubs were frequent patrons. Northampton resident and social historian Jan Whitaker will present an illustrated talk on the topic, followed by tea, at Historic Northampton. 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, May 14, 10am-2pm
Barton Cove, along the Connecticut river, is a habitat rich in Spring wildflowers and unusual geology. A naturalist, a local historian, and a geologist will team up for this guided nature hike, to teach you about Barton Cove in multidisciplinary ways. Please bring a lunch and water for this 2 mile hike along a forest trail. Register online at the Greenfield Community College website. 413-775-1661. 82 French King Highway, Gill, MA. ($)

Saturday, May 14, 10am-12pm
Scratch is a programming language and online community which allows you to create your own games and share them with the world. Scratch is relatively simple and intuitive, but allows users room to grow and learn the basic rules of programming. Anyone ages nine and up interested in learning how to code, or put their skills to use, is invited to Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. To celebrate Scratch Day and Holyoke Infrastructure Day, participants will create an interactive map of Holyoke, complete with all their favorite local destinations. 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Wondering what Scratch is, exactly? Here’s an overview!

Saturday, May 14, 10:30am
The theme for this week’s Makers’ Club at the Westhampton Public Library is “hidden objects.” Participants will need to bring in small objects that they are willing to part with. These objects need to be between the size of a AA battery and a large chicken. Club members will then create objects which are not what they seem. Suggested ages ten and up, but this event open to all. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, May 14, 12pm-4pm
How do astronomers predict events like the transit of Mercury with such accuracy? In short, advanced mathematics. Astronomers draw from concepts of Physics, and use Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus to make measurements of distances between objects in the sky, and predictions of when they will appear in various ways from Earth. You don’t need to know anything about mathematics to appreciate the beauty of the sky, however. Come to the Springfield Museums on astronomy day to engage in safe sunspot viewing, and see a collection of meteorites. There will be hands-on activities for all ages, information about how craters are formed on the moon, and a space sensory bin for kids. 413-263-6800, ext. 318. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Under 3 and museum members FREE)

Wednesday, May 18, 4pm-5pm
The word “fairy,” comes from the old French word “faerie,” meaning “enchantment.” Fairies appear frequently in English folklore. These tiny, magical creatures continue to capture the imagination of children and adults. Expand your child’s interest in fairies by pairing it with a fun engineering challenge! Youth between the ages of four and twelve are invited to the Goodwin Library to make a fairy house out of natural materials like moss, bark, rocks, and sticks. Working with different materials in an open-ended manner allows kids to learn about the properties of different materials, the stability of different structures, and how to revise a design when it does not turn out as expected. Participants will be given a fairy figurine and will be able to take home their fairy houses. 413-584-7451. 50 Middle Street, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, May 19, 6:30pm
This “Animal Architects” themed storytime at the Westhampton Public Library will feature stories and crafts. Children and their caregivers will hear readings of The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale as well as Insect Architect before designing their own homes with straws, popsicle sticks, and masking tape. Architectural crafts like this one help kids improve their fine motor skills and dexterity while playing! 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Prepare to be amazed by the structures created by these animal architects!


Saturday, May 14, 10am-1pm
Do you ever have fires in your fireplace or backyard? How do you start them? Fire-building used to be a necessary and common skill. Come to The Mission House. to learn how to build a fire without matches. The workshop leader will demonstrate tools and techniques used by Native Americans and white settlers living in the Berkshires. This workshop is appropriate for children 6 and older, with an adult. Call 413-298-3239, ext. 3013. 19 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. ($)

Thursday, May 19, 5pm-7pm
Friday, May 20, 5pm-7pm
Woodworking can be a hobby or a full-fledged business. This is a practical art form which requires patience, spatial reasoning, and creativity. Vermont woodworker and artist Scott Nehring taught himself these skills and has applied them to his business, making custom furniture, architecture, and violins. An exhibit of his work will run from May 19-May 27th at Stamell Stringed Instruments. Come to the opening reception to learn about woodworking as well as stringed instruments. 413-256-0936. 18 Kellogg Avenue, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, May 20, 7pm-9pm
The classically popular toy Yo-Yo, is an example of a skill toy, an object designed for dexterity play and manipulation for theatrical effect. Jump ropes, hoola hoops, and boomerangs are other examples. If you’re an expert or just interested in skill toys, come to a casual meet up of skill toy users, hosted by A2Z Science and Learning Store. This Skill Toy Night will take place in Eastworks. 116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Grab your jump rope and learn thirty new tricks from this young national champion:

Literature Studies

Saturday, May 14, 10am-4pm
Shakespeare’s lasting popularity over hundreds of years may stem from his command of the English language, and the universal themes explored in his plays and poetry. You can also introduce Shakespeare to the children in your life with the 10am screening of the 2011 film Gnomeo and Juliet. (Rated G). At 12:30, the 2010 adaptation of The Tempest (Rated PG-13) will play. The 2012 film Much Ado About Nothing (Rated PG-13) will round out the day at 3pm. Screenings will take place in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library. 413-259-3223. Amherst, Ma. (FREE)

Sunday, May 15, 10am
In conjunction with the national celebration, 400 years of Shakespeare, The Emily Dickinson Museum is offering a new tour highlighting the influence Shakespeare had on Dickinson’s life and work. This tour will be offered free on Sundays in May (May 8, May 15, May 22 and May 29). Participants will explore the Dickinson homestead and the grounds as they learn about these two famous poets in a context of local history. Please call 413-542-2947 or e-mail info@emilydickinsonmuseum.org with questions. Reservations are recommended. 280 Main Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 15th, 1pm
Comics and graphic novels are wonderful resources for reaching reluctant readers, and making a smooth transition from reading picture books to longer books. Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda series uses captivating art and copious Star Wars references to tell the story of a challenging adolescence. Similarly, Cece Bell’s 2015 Newbery Honor Book El Deafo entertains readers while simultaneously educating about the issues faced by Deaf and hard of hearing youth. Both authors will be discussing their books and their creative process at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. They will also take questions from the audience, and copies of their books will be available for purchase and signing. 413-559-6300. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. (<$)

Monday, May 16, 5pm
Middle grade books, those written for readers roughly ages eight to twelve, are a wonderful resource for kids. Authors who write these books written specifically for children must appeal to their interests, their vocabulary level, and their maturity level. Middle grade books are typically safe worlds where the characters may encounter some danger, but they will come out of it okay. National Book Award-winning author Jeanne Birdsall and Bank Street Best Book Award-winning Susan Hill Long will be discussing their latest middle grade books, The Magic Mirror, and The Penderwicks respectively. Come to the Odyssey Bookshop for a discussion of these books. This all ages event may interest middle grade readers as well as their parents. Children’s book writers are also welcome to come learn from two experienced writers. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Language Arts

Saturday, May 14, 10:30am
There’s a lot more to building vocabulary and literacy skills than just reading. With very young children, their linguistic learning is strongly influenced by their overall exposure to words. Those words can take the form of talking, singing, and yes also reading. Come to the Granby Library for this Building Blocks for Early Learning Workshop where participants will be taught how to make the most of their reading time. Child care will be provided and participants will receive a free book! Please register by calling 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Monday, May 16, 6pm-7pm
Reading before bed is a great way for kids, and adults, to relax and fall asleep more easily. Your child is invited to a special evening, pajama storytime at the Westfield Athenaeum. Unwind at the end of the day as you listen to a story with other families. Bring your favorite stuffed animal! 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, May 19, 6pm
For 23 years the Odyssey Bookshop has supported youth creativity with their Children’s Writing Contest. Participants, in grades one through five, are invited to share their original works. All participants of the 2016 contest are invited, along with their caregivers, to an award ceremony. Winners will receive gift cards and will be invited to share their work. Come hear from the next generation of writers! Encouraging your children to write for fun will help them process events, work through their ideas, and communicate effectively.413-534-7307. 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Fiber & Textile Arts

Saturday, May 14, 1pm-4pm
Have an heirloom quilt of your own that you’d like to learn more about? The Massachusetts Quilt Documentation Project works toward preserving quilts and gathering information on the date of their creation, the fabrics used, and other historical information. Quilt owners can donate their quilts to this documentation project and contribute to historical preservation. Bring your quilt to The William Cullen Bryant Homestead from 1-4pm and can receive documentation reports for $15 per quilt. In celebration of The Trustees’ 125th anniversary, quilts documented at 125 years old receive quilt documentation for FREE! If you want to learn more about the project, come by at 10am and observe Jane Crutchfield of the Massachusetts Quilt Documentation Project document the Bryant Homestead quilts.Pre-registration is recommended. 413-628-4485 x.3. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA. ($-$$)

View a number of beautiful heirloom quilts and the interesting fabrics, designs, and stitching their creators used:

Sunday, May 15, 2:30-4:30pm
This meeting of Hands Across the Valley Quilters Guild will feature a showcase of fiber works. Families are invited to take a tour and get ideas for projects to work on together. Feel free to bring cameras. The project ideas will range from activities for pre-schoolers through the teen years. University Drive, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, May 17, 1pm-3pm
Do you enjoy fiber arts such as knitting or felting? Come to the Lenox Community Center and learn to make decorative spheres or bowls out of yarn, twine, and paper. These can be used as table centerpieces, hung from ceilings, given as gifts, you name it! This relatively simple craft should make for a relaxing learning experience. 413-637-5530. 65 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Visual Arts

Saturday, May 14, 1pm-4pm
This Family Day at the Norman Rockwell Museum celebrates the 100th anniversary of Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover, “Boy With Baby Carriage.” You and your family can see outdoor sculptures based on the image, listen to storytelling, hear gallery talks and enjoy refreshments. From 2pm to 4pm visitors are invited to draw in the galleries and on the lawn. 413-298-4100. 9 Glendale Road, Stockbridge, MA. (Adults $. Children 6-18 <$. Children under 3 and museum members FREE)

Tuesday, May 17, 5:30pm-8pm
Would you like to join an all ages Film Club of movie fans and filmmakers? Meet at the Program Building at Red Gate Farm for this month’s meeting. Participants will work together on small challenges with cameras. No experience is necessary and all equipment will be provided. The group will also screen some short films which were nominated for Academy Awards. No commitment or membership fee is required to join the RGF film club. Please note that this group shows PG and PG-13 movies. If you are in third-grade or younger, you must be accompanied by a parent. All participants under 17 must have parental consent to attend programs. Please RSVP by calling 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Ashfield, MA. (DONATION)

Wednesday, May 18, 10am-5pm
Norman Rockwell was an American painter and illustrator, best known for his Saturday Evening Post covers and his series of paintings, the Four Freedoms. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge hosts the world’s largest collection of original Norman Rockwell artwork, providing local residents with a resource for learning about art and American histroy. In celebration of International Art Museum Day, you can visit the museum for free! 413-298-4100. 9 Glendale Road, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Performing Arts

Saturday, May 14, 2pm
Starlight’s Youth Theater presents the Tony-Award-winning Broadway musical version of Disney’s Into The Woods right here in our own backyard! This musical brings favorite fairy tale characters such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk to life. These characters set off to make their wishes come true but soon learn to be careful what they wish for as witches, giants and wolves loom. Come watch a talented cast of 70 youths, ages 10-18, from all over the Pioneer Valley. Starlight’s Youth Theatre is dedicated to the development of the child, using theater as a tool to build self-esteem, communication skills, and confidence. Performances will be held at The Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street, Northampton, MA. ($$)

Saturday, May 14, 6pm
Sunday, May 15, 6pm
In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet are both young, making their story of feuding families and misfortune even more tragic. You can see Romeo and Juliet performed by a talented troupe of young actors, The Young Shakespeare Players East, at Shea Theater. Use this performance as a conversation starter with your children about conflicts, family challenges, romantic relationships, or social pressures. 413- 863-2281. 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 15, 1:30pm
The Tony award-winning play, The Audience, is an enthralling way to learn about British politics and history. London’s National Theatre’s performance stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, and delves into the highly secretive meetings between the Queen and each of her twelve Prime Ministers. Come to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center at 1:30pm for a pre-broadcast Harney Tea tasting at Castle Street Café, or arrive at 3pm just for the broadcast. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. (<$ for Tea. $ for Broadcast. $$ for both.)

Thursday, May 19, 6pm
Disney’s Into The Woods brings favorite fairy tale characters such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk together as they set off to make their wishes come true but learn to be careful what they wish for. Under the direction of Tony Jones, J-ART Youth will be performing their adaptation, Into the Woods Junior at Springfield Jewish Community Center. Come support these young actors, between the ages of eight and fourteen, as they hone their performing skills and entertain audiences. For tickets call 413-739-4715. 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield, MA. (Adults $. Children <$. Reserved patron $$)

Music Studies

Saturday, May 14, 12pm-1:45am
Full-day concerts like Holyoke’s Western Massive are a great place to find out about local artists, listen to many different genres of music, and celebrate art in your community. This all ages, two-day concert at Gateway City Arts will feature funk, rock, jam, electronic, DJs and more on indoor and outdoor stages. 413-650-2670. 92 Race Street, Holyoke, MA. ($$)

Saturday, May 14, 4:30pm
Decades of research have revealed many neurological, educational, and social benefits to playing a musical instrument. Playing music can help your capacity for memory, improve time management and teamwork skills, and increase mathematical ability. Come celebrate the effort which Smith College students have made over several years of practicing music. The Commencement Orchestra Concert in Sweeney Concert Hall will feature soloists from the graduating class. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 15, 1:30pm
A carillon is a musical instrument involving at least twenty-three bells, typically played by striking a keyboard. Automated music can also be played on certain carillons, similar to a player piano. You can hear these bells played by carilloneur Norma Hopper in Stanley Park. Concerts will take place on Sundays throughout Spring and Summer: May 15, June 19, July 17, August 21. For more information, call 413-568-9312 ext 100. 400 Western Avenue, Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Learn more about these interesting instruments here:

Monday, May 16, 7pm
Northern Harmony, a shifting group of musicians which was established in 1993, combines traditional choral sounds with world music for a stunning result. Members of the group have studied music from South Africa, Bulgaria, Corsica and Caucasus Georgia. This group of local musicians will be performing in the West Cummington Church.27 West Main Street, Cummington, MA. (DONATION)

Cultural Studies

Sunday, May 15, 3:30pm-5:30pm
Yom Ha’Atzmaut is a celebration of Israel’s independence. Families will be celebrating at the Springfield Jewish Community Center with a picnic of Israeli-style kosher foods, and Israeli dancing! Please RSVP by calling 413-739-4715. 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA. ($)

Tuesday, May 17, 5pm
Did you know that the majority of people on Earth eat bugs? Most Americans, unaccustomed to eating insects, may find this difficult to imagine. Insects are packed with tons of protein and are prevalent everywhere.The foods eaten by people of a particular region are partially determined by what is available; however, in an increasingly global economy, Americans often eat foods from all over the world. You can expand your culinary horizons (without eating insects) by trying some Chinese and Japanese foods at this food tasting event. Sunderland Public Library. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, May 14, 12:30-4pm
The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens—a program of Cooley-Dickinson VNA & Hospice, provides support to grieving young people and their families, will be holding a free workshop, Grieving the Death of a Child. This workshop will include a screening of the video ‪Helping Parents Grieve: finding new life after the death of a child. This video was produced by Paraclete Press and features real stories about families whose child has died. Participants will engage in discussion and activities that connect to the themes in the video. Grieving the Death of a Child is for adults only. To RSVP, or for more information please call Shelly Bathe Lenn at 413-582-5312 or email: Shelly_Lenn@cooley-dickinson.org. 168 Industrial Drive, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, May 15, 4pm-5:30pm
Early school years can be a challenge for both parents and kids. New behavioral problems may arise in the school environment which do not exist at home. Parents and teachers need to work together to handle these issues. Jonathan Schwab, M.D. and Sharon Saline, Psy.D., will be discussing preschool behavior problems in this free workshop at Northampton Area Pediatrics. Space is limited. RSVP to alok@napeds.com or call 413-517-2226. 193 Locust Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, May 20, 12:30pm-5pm
Parents, educators, and others who regularly interacts with teens, need to know how to identify a mental health crisis and act accordingly. This Youth Mental Health First Aid training will identify common mental health challenges for young people and outlines steps to take in a crisis, or non crisis situation. This course will cover topics such as anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders and eating disorders. 413-582-0471 Ext. 5559. 8 Atwood Drive, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: “Mexican yo-yos” by Tomas Castelazo, Wikimedia Commons]


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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