Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking place-based learning ideas? Are you a self-directed, life-long, and/or experiential learner? Are you curious or wanting to support the interests of your family? Our weekly Suggested Events list includes suggested learning ideas, resources, and fun events for all ages, each week!
Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity Hosts 2021 Gingerbread Build at Home! Register a team by 12noon on Wednesday, December 1, and pick up your gingerbread kit on Saturday, December 4. Contestants will have six days to construct their dream confectionery dwellings and submit three photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, December 9 at midnight. Log in Saturday, December 11 at 3pm for a live virtual award ceremony. A minimum donation of $100 is required per team; additional fundraising is encouraged! For more information and to register, go to www.pvhabitat.org/events/gingerbread-build. Questions? Contact Amy Landry at email@example.com. Thank you for supporting the building of real houses for real families in western Massachusetts.
Creativity, self-expression, and the joy of music are gifts that last a lifetime, so the Community Music School of Springfield is making music lessons easy & affordable for your loved one this holiday season. All of their packages for private music lessons feature buy-4 get-1-free pricing, the choice of virtual or in-person instruction, and perfect match teachers. Ordering online or over the phone is easy & they can deliver gift certificates via email or mail. You choose the length of the lesson (30, 45, 60 min.), and the recipient selects the instrument & time that works best for their schedule when they redeem their gift package. Start date for lessons is Jan 2022. Learn more or purchase today!communitymusicschool.com/gifts413-732-8428.
Give the gift of music this holiday season with the Berkshire Music School (BMS) 4-lesson trial package! The package includes four consecutive 30-minute lessons in any orchestral or band instrument as well as voice or theory for $140. One-month instrumental rental included. Take a private lesson in-person at BMS’s historic campus or online from the comfort of your home. Private lessons may be arranged for 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes each week to meet the individual student’s needs and may begin at any point throughout the year. BMS’s fun Community Group Classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis with a new winter session starting in January. Visit the BMS website for class offerings and check out the new online registration feature!
Are you looking for a unique gift for a child in your life? The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA, invites you to Give the Gift of Reading! For just $25 a month, the child that you enroll will receive a handpicked book based on the age, interests, and reading level that you provide. From newborns to young adults, no child is too young or too old to join! Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with their Gift of Reading Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Odyssey Bookshop. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street, South Hadley MA.
Pioneer Valley Ballet returns with the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, then travel through the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. This production is a treasured community event that features dancers from across the Pioneer Valley performing roles ranging from sparkling snowflakes to the tiniest reindeer. A one-hour performance, live on stage December 10-12, 2021 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Perfect for families of all ages. General admission seating. Reserve your tickets and view the health & safety policy at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.
FEATURED PEDIATRIC OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY Sensory SpOT East Longmeadow, MA
At Sensory SpOT, children explore ways to foster the growth of their emotional well-being, a strong mind-body connection, & strengthen their foundational skills necessary for learning. They create a positive learning environment that builds on your child’s strengths to allow them to flourish and grow their skills. Located in East Longmeadow, MA, Sensory SpOT offers individualized & group-based occupational therapy services and wellness groups for children provided by a Licensed Occupational Therapist and/or Occupational Therapy staff. Sessions are 45-60 mins. They are registering now for January 2022 SpOT and Wellness groups. Space is limited & registration required for services. Visit sensoryspotma.com for info & registration.
Four Winds School in Gill, MA, is now accepting applications from 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students for the current school year and Fall 2022. The Four Winds curriculum provides a balance between focused training in basic academic skills and the freedom for students to explore their interests. Teacher and student work together to design an individualized academic program based on these evaluations and the student’s learning style. Visit Four Winds School at fourwindsschool.info to learn more.
See Your Ad Here
Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 25,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers each week, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of families in Western Massachusetts. Serving the region since 2005, Hilltown Families is an award-winning, online communication network, recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.” A trusted partner in your online marketing! To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact us for info on our affordable options and packages: email@example.com. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
The holiday season is a time we pay particular attention to spreading kindness to those around us! Families can spread kindness by sharing homemade foods with neighbors and can expand this activity to include studies of world cultures by baking foods enjoyed internationally! Read more in our post,Culinary and Pastry Arts: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea.
Glassblowing is an ancient art form, dating back at least 2,000 years with origins in Jerusalem, spreading to the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC. Originally, the craft of blowing glass was used for practical purposes, like science instruments, table wear, and window glass. It wasn’t until the late 60′s that glassblowing was raised to the level of art, led by German artist Hans Godo Frabel. Invite your kids to identify things made out of glass in your home and get curious about how it’s made and creative ways to create art with the medium of glass.
Do you know how manydifferent native species of coniferous trees grow in your region? Do they only grow in northern regions, or are there species that grow in tropical areas? Let these questions be your catalyst for learning by becoming curious and searching for answers. One step towards finding answers might be to scout for different tree species in local forests and parks. Elect to go on a self-directed or guided tree id hike, bringing along a sketchbook, camera, and a field guide checked out from the library (or this app).Look for the different textures and patterns of evergreen needles and bark. Identify various sizes and shapes of cones and consider if they provide food for wildlife. Gather examples andcreate a nature table that consists of a sampling of needles, cones, and bark, along with sketches from your outdoor hikes. Add specimens to your table throughout the winter as new-to-you species are discovered. Learn more in our post, “Mindful Engagement Through The Seasons: Evergreens.”
Games are universal. Every human community in history has had some game played by children and adults. When you think about it, it’s no surprise that in addition to fun, games teach us a lot about positive social interactions. Games teach problem-solving, dramatically increase communication skills, foster cooperation, and reduce stress. Establishing a family game night can also be a great way to build new family traditions while supporting learning at home.
New England was the center of the American textile industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. We can still see the impact of this industry on the land, in the stone walls in the middle of the forests that were once cleared for merino sheep to graze, in the old mill buildings that we can find in nearly every town in the region. What could be a better place to celebrate wool and fiber arts than locally here in Western MA? With the colder months upon us, warm wool is essential in New England, and fiber art activities like knitting and weaving often occur during these darker times. Through the lens of wool, let’s learn about local history, the science of wool, shearing, weaving, manufacturing, and fiber arts.
By exploring number systems, families can help children to solidify their own understanding of the numerals and place value of our own familiar base ten number system. From binary code and Roman numerals to a lost 13th-century cipher and a zero-less system from 300 BC, number systems from around the world can lead to fascinating explorations of numerical representations and place value. Support interests in science, technology, engineering, and math by learning about numerical systems in our post, Explorations of Number Systems Support Strong Mathematical Skills.
Online and in-person events and resources shared above are done so as a courtesy and not as an endorsement. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm information, age appropriateness, registration requirements, safety protocols, and associated costs.
Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Agawam, Amherst, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont/Hawley, Chester, Chesterfield, Chicopee, Colrain, Dalton, Deerfield, Easthampton, Gill, Goshen, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Heath, Hinsdale/Peru, Holyoke, Huntington, Leyden, Montgomery, Mt. Washington, New Salem, Northern Berkshire, Northfield, Palmer, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Springfield, Tolland, Tyringham, Westhampton, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.