Weekly Suggested Events for November 26 – December 2, 2022
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!
Scroll down to discover featured events, learning opportunities, and educational videos to support learning from home. And be sure to subscribe to our free weekly eNewsletter so you never miss out!
SUGGESTED EVENTS: NOVEMBER 26 – DECEMBER 2, 2022
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING IDEAS
COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Featured Events, Resources, & Opportunities
The Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Annual Winterfest & the Tunnel of Lights begins Nov 25 and will be held from 5-9pm on Fri-Sun nights through Dec 23. Additionally, the Museum will be open from Dec 26-30. Halls are decked both inside & outside. Trolley cars transport guests down a tunnel of lights as they sing traditional Christmas Carols with their trolley car operators. For an open-air view of the “Tunnel of Lights,” enjoy a sleigh car lit up with holiday lights. The Visitor Center is decorated as a Winter Wonderland with model train layouts & lights galore. Admission: $15-$20. Ticket sales must be made in advance: www.ct-trolley.org. Other events include Picture with Santa on 11/25 & Storytime Trolley with Santa & his Elf on 12/3 & 12/10.
It’s that time of year again! Join Hilltown Land Trust for the 18th annual Gorge après Gorge 5k Trail Run and Free Family Fun Walk on Sunday, November 27, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield. Runners & walkers use a well-marked course with a beautiful view of the Westfield River. Hot beverages round off this event, which awards handmade hats to the winners & a locally baked cookie medal to all race participants. Family Fun Walk begins at 9:30am (Suggested donation: $15). 5k Trail Run begins at 10:30am [$25 ($30 day of)]. Discounts are available for Hilltown Land Trust members, Trustees members, and families! Free for runners under 10. Learn more & register: www.hilltownlandtrust.org/gorge-apres-gorge
On Thursday, December 8 at 9:30am, the Smith College Museum of Art, partnering with Northampton Public School’s Early Childhood Center, is pleased to offer this second in a series of thematic stroller tours. The December 8 Stroller Tour theme is LIGHT. This event, for caregivers with infants in tow, is designed to connect caregivers and build community through art. Register here: https://bit.ly/3haOmnq. Drop-ins welcome. Smith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA. [Image: James Wells Champney, Boon Companions (detail), 1879. Painting.]
Valley Playwright Mentoring is an afterschool theatre program for teens ages 13 & up. Starting with improv games and moving on to story prompts and devised theatre techniques, teens develop a repertoire of scenes based on stories from their lives and then decide which ones to make into their own show! Remote and in-person options. No previous theatre experience is required. Participants create a performance or podcasts based on stories from their lives and share them with the community. Listen to actors talk about their experiences and hear their podcasts at ptco.org/vpm. Teens who complete the program receive a $200 stipend. Space is limited to 12 participants per group. Questions? Email Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-439-2069.
Christmas by Candlelight
Old Sturbridge Village
Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.
Hancock Holiday Nights
Hancock Shaker Village
Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.
The Academy at Charlemont
The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. For over 40 years, Academy students have become engaged learners and articulate leaders through small classes, rigorous coursework, diverse electives in the arts and beyond, inclusive athletics, personalized advising, and student leadership. Visit The Academy’s campus along the Deerfield River and learn more from students and faculty at their Open House on Sunday, December 4th, from 1-3pm. Generous financial aid and daily round-trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, and the Hilltowns are available. Ready to learn more about The Academy family for your family?
Preregister for their Open House online: www.charlemont.org/open-houses-2022
Pioneer Valley Ballet
Celebrating its 50th year, Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker, an annual favorite at The Academy of Music in Northampton. Each year, PVB’s Nutcracker is reinvented by Artistic Directors Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, celebrating the history of the company and the tradition of Clara’s magical story. In addition to PVB dancers and local community members, this year’s performance will feature guest artists from Carolina Ballet for the first time since 2019. Join them as they celebrate 50 years of Pioneer Valley Ballet! On Friday, December 9, there will be a Sensory Safe performance at 4pm and PVB’s 50th Anniversary Performance at 6:30pm. Weekend Performances December 10 & 11 at 1pm & 4:30pm Purchase tickets at aomtheatre.com.
FEATURED COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Holyoke Community College
Students interested in saving time and money can earn three college credits in just 11 days during the Holyoke Community College Wintersession. Wintersession is the perfect opportunity to complete college prerequisites and lighten spring course loads for students who want to earn college credit during the January break. Registration is due by Dec. 28, 2022, for classes that begin on Dec. 29. Holyoke Community College credits are affordable, and you can take your credits with you. (Many of their classes easily transfer to other institutions. Check-in with your receiving college or university for details.) hcc.edu/wintersession
See Your Ad Here
Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 35,000 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.
List of Weekly Suggested Events
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Pastry Arts/Holiday Baking
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.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Artisan Studies/ Glass Blowing
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. Initially, 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.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Botany/ Evergreens
Do you know how many different 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. 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 and create a nature table with 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.”
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Intergenerational/ Games
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 games teach us a lot about positive social interactions in addition to fun. 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.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Textiles/ Wool & Fiber Art
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 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. Let’s learn about local history, the science of wool, shearing, weaving, manufacturing, and fiber arts through the lens of wool.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Generosity & Gratitude
November is a month of generosity, with gestures of abundance played out through our community landscape. Nature is generous, leaving our open fields and meadows with a plethora of grass and wildflower seeds feeding wildlife in the winter and delivering a promise to summer pollinators. The cultivated land is generous, providing a cornucopia of locally grown food from the late harvest. People are generous, volunteering and spreading kindness during the holiday season. Family and friends are generous, sharing recipes and stories during holiday dinners. And the community is generous, creating a shared history together during annual community meals. During this time of year, at least two common threads run through these gestures of generosity. The first of which is food! Integrating community engagement opportunities centered around food with curiosity and compassion can help to strengthen our connection to place by being fully present in the moment and open to those with whom we share our lives… and our meals! Read more in our post, November: A Month of Generosity.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Math Studies/ Numerical Systems
By exploring number systems, families can help children solidify their understanding of the numerals and place value of our 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, Becket, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Heath, Hinsdale/Peru, Huntington, Leyden, Montgomery, Mount Washington, Northern Berkshire, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Tolland, Tyringham, Westhampton, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.