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!
Whole Children in Hadley, MA, is pleased to offer a Virtual & In-Person Winter Program for school-age kids and teens. Their 6-week program will be offered Monday through Saturday, January 10 – February 19, 2022 and will include a full roster of virtual classes and a selection of in-person classes, including photography, theater, Joyful Chorus, Friendship Band, and more! Price: $125 for six weeks of unlimited classes! For more information, visit wholechildren.org/class-schedule or call 413-585-8010.
When we tell positive stories about our lives, engaging our inner wisdom, we cultivate the possibility for new ideas to emerge by shifting our perspective towards what works. If you’re feeling stuck in any area of your life and seeking changes in the new year, take time for yourself to clarify your focus, flip your perspective, dream, and design your way into the new year. The weekend of Jan 8 & 9, 2022, experienced facilitator & coach Anne Ditzler will host a customized, online retreat using Appreciative Inquiry to embrace challenges while exploring creative ways to use your insights. This two-day retreat takes place via Zoom from 1-5:30pm. Registration deadline: Dec 29. Cost: Sliding scale. For more info, visit ditzlercoaching.weebly.com.
Give the gift of a clean home this holiday season with GreenLove Eco Cleaning! Get 30% off a Gift Certificate with their Holiday Special, available to purchase on their website through 12/31/21. GreenLove’s fully insured and bonded team offers greener, healthier lifestyle services to their community as part of the greater sustainability movement and focuses on building resilient communities through fair pay, healthy lifestyle education, and family-first values. This past year marked their 11th year in business, and after coming through last year’s pandemic, they are stronger than ever! The GreenLove Team is currently working on transitioning to a worker-owned cooperative model in early 2022. Sign up for a cleaning at www.greenloveclean.com.
FEATURED YOUTH MUSICAL PRODUCTION Oklahoma! Northampton, MA
Did you know that the Academy of Music Theatre presents a fully staged youth musical every year? Come hoot and holler with them in Oklahoma! – part of the “Getting to Know Rodgers and Hammerstein” series. Open to ages 9-16, no experience necessary. Rehearsals start on January 4, 2022, and run on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week from 5-7pm at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA. The final performances will be on March 10 & 11, 2022. Visit aomtheatre.comand click “Academy Youth Productions” under the Youth Programs menu to register. Email Education Director, Susan Dillard, with any questions: email@example.com.
Starlight’s Musical Spectacular will celebrate 15 years of bringing youth musicals to the community on Saturday, January 8, 2022, @ 1pm! Starlight’s Youth Theatre alumni will join current students at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton to perform songs from Les Miserable, Annie, Oliver, Wizard of Oz, Bye Bye Birdie, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, Starlight Express, and many more. Ticket prices: $22/adults, $18/seniors & students. For tickets, go to www.aomtheatre.com. More info: www.starlights-youth-theatre.com.
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.
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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.
NATURE-BASED ARTS & CRAFTS. 1-2:30pm. Holiday Nature Crafts Tree Trimming Party! Use nature-found ingredients to create your pinecone animals or ornaments at Mount Greylock State Reservation. 413-499-4262. Mount Greylock State Reservation, 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA.
Winter farmers’ markets provide a fresh and colorful oasis during the winter months, reminding us that farm-fresh foods of all kinds are still available despite the blustery, snow drift-covered fields that surround us. Connecting to the local food chain year-round is not only healthy for your body, your family, and your community, but it can be educational as well! Exposing children to the vast array of foods available from winter farmers’ markets can help them recognize that there are many different methods for growing and producing food while connecting them to where their food comes from.
Supermarkets and food co-ops are living laboratories for learning! These community-based educational resources are accessible to everyone and have something new to discover every week as we move through harvest seasons and holidays rich in food traditions. Citrus is abundant in the winter and a delicious opportunity to learn about the many citrus varieties. Pick up a variety of oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes at your local market this winter, and get curious! Culinary arts, literature, agriculture, nutrition, arts & crafts, and even STEM are interests citrus can support.
The winter solstice is a celebration for many because it marks the turning point towards longer days. Like the new calendar year, this astrological event can also be a time of reflecting on the past and thinking towards the future. Observances, celebrations, and rituals surrounding the winter solstice differ in many cultures and can be an excellent lens for learning about food traditions, cultural heritage, and seasonal changes in habitats. The winter solstice can also be a reflective time for reconnecting with nature and community. As we begin to stay indoors more and spend time with families and friends, the winter season is an opportunity to disconnect from technology and reconnect through storytelling with neighbors and family.
Many contemporary Christmas icons have commercial roots. From Coca-Cola’s Santa Claus to Aebersold & Bell’s Elf on a Shelf. This holiday season, examine the history behind the commercialization of Christmas, and then compare and contrast with icons and traditions based on different cultures and values. Begin with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, first appearing in a booklet published by the department store chain Montgomery Ward, compared with reindeer’s traditional heritage.
Mistletoe, often associated with Christmas and holiday traditions, can be a lens for learning mythology, history, botany, and ecology. Get curious about this parasitic plant and discover its origins in magic, fertility, and love.
If the North Pole is an ocean (Arctic Ocean) surrounded by land and the South Pole is a continent (Antarctica) surrounded by ocean, how could Santa call the North Pole home? Who else calls the North Pole home? Polar bears or penguins? With nearly 100% of Antarctica covered by ice a mile thick, why is it considered a desert? Is it colder at the North Pole or the South Pole? Why? ‘Tis the season we celebrate the folklore of the most famous resident of the North Pole, Santa Claus. Christmas is an excellent opportunity to get curious about the North and South Poles. Learn about geography, geology, meteorology, climate change, zoology, and much more through the lens of Earth’s polar regions.
How did the tradition of annual performances of The Nutcracker come to be? Learn about its rich history, supporting an interest in dance, classical music, and holiday traditions! Then take a behind-the-scenes look with a contemporary ballerina, New York City Ballet principal dancer Maria Kowroski, as she prepares for the leading role in The Nutcracker.
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.