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Play that is unscripted, better known as creative-free play, nurtures a child’s innate creativity and abilities to be resourceful and to problem solve. Childhood summer activities like making mud pies, building forts, making fairy houses and playing with friends in the backyard are wonderful learning opportunities that can lead to boundless discoveries!

This month we take a look back at Hilltown Families contributing writer Carrie St. John’s monthly column, “What to Play? Play Ideas for Family and Community,” highlighting her many wonderful idea on ways to support and encourage creative-free play with your children, any time of the year!

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Robert Frost to Monarch Butterflies. War of 1812 to Urban Townhouses. Guided Tours to Open Houses. These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Get out into your community and learn while you play!  And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week.  Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from… Read More

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: Sept. 8th – 21st, 2012 We’ve rounded the corner from summer freedom to the routine of autumn, with kids back in school, homeschoolers organizing their fall schedules, and prek & story hours starting back up.  We’ve listed many ongoing activities below and will continue to add to the list as the season progresses. Activities to look forward to over the next couple of weeks include Images Cinema’s… Read More

Corn Mazes to County Fairs.  Beavers to Estuaries.  19th Century Games to Gallery Tours. These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Get out into your community and learn while you play!  And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week.  Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public… Read More

Pollinators to Nocturnal Insects.  Historic Homes to Historical Societies. Tomatoes to Honey. These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Get out into your community and learn while you play! And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week.  Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library! INSECT… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: August 25th – September 7th, 2012 As the summer comes to a close, so do many ongoing summer concert and theater events that enriched Berkshire County this summer.  As we transition from summer towards the school year, many playgroups and libraries quiet down for a couple of weeks, but they will be sure to pick back up in September. In the meantime, during these last couple of… Read More

Community Dinners to Agricultural Fairs.  Solar Energy in Northfield to Herpetology Stockbridge.  These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Get out into your community and learn while you play!  And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles & kits to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week.  Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Rabbits in Turners Falls. Reptiles in Lenox. Barbados in Springfield. South Africa in Amherst.  These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Get out into your community and learn while you play!  And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week.  Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: August 11th-24th, 2012 We’re entering the season of community festivals, craft and agricultural fairs!  A few to highlight in Berkshire County over the next two weeks including Rock, Rattle and Drum Pow Wow at Wirtes Farm in Lanesborough, Hinsdale Dayz at the town fire station, Berkhsire 4-H Fair in Pittsfield, Grecian Festival at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Pittsfield, Stockbridge Summer Arts and Crafts Show, Zucchini… Read More

August is here and there’s less than one month left of summer before the school year begins again for many.  And while there is a break from the classroom for these couple of months, the learning opportunities never stop!  August is chock-full of educational and fun events for families, ranging from blacksmithing to Civil War heroines, knots to bubbles! We’re even including a list of book titles to supplement the learning on… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Hilltown Families Highlights for this coming week combine economic development with community-based and service-based learning: COMMUNITY SUPPORT There are several opportunities to support your community this week. We all know that shopping local is a great way to foster economic development, and this weekend there are a few events that make it easy to shop local, including sidewalk sales in both downtown Northampton and downtown Greenfield, and the annual Arts & Crafts… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: July 28th – August 10th, 2012 Summer theater and music continues in the Berkshires!  In addition to cultural performances, there are also great learning opportunities in  Berkshire County over the next two weeks! With a region rich in local history, the history of families who lived in the Berkshires dating back to the 1600’s can be explored at the Mission House in Stockbridge, or explore during a… Read More

Highlights this coming weekend and next week include fun family events for learning about insects, owls, bats, and local habitat, along with a plethora of performances both with and about puppets! SIX-LEGGED CRITTERS A few weeks ago we mentioned how families interested in entomology (the study of insects) can participate as citizen scientists in their own backyards during National Moth Week, happening this coming week, July 23-29.  In addition to this great… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Here are 23 smart reasons to staycation in Western MA next week: HISTORY The learning continues this summer with a plethora of fun community-based educational opportunities happening across the region! On Saturday, July 14th, it’s Fire and Ice Day at Old Sturbridge Village, affording a chance for families to learn about the history of fire fighting and how homemade old fashioned ice cream is made with historical demonstrations and activities. History lessons… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Berkshire County Highlights for Families: July 14th-27th, 2012 Berkshire County is full of high caliber cultural venues hosting quality entertainment for families just outside of the big cities, but smaller community venues and local parks have a lot to offer in the summer months too! There are playgroups, nature hikes, crafting and story times happening at the libraries, parks and family centers. Live music and baseball can be enjoyed in the parks, marionette… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Fourth of July celebrations are abundant this weekend and on Wednesday. Discover parades and places to view fireworks in the region with our 2012 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks resource page.  But fireworks aren’t all the excitement that will be happening this next week.  There are plenty of opportunities for kids to continue learning at the many community-based educational events, or just to be entertained with a slew of kid performances. … Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

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