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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!

The summer opens up before us with overwhelming possibilities. It is the season that we all want to throw ourselves into with great abandon after a long winter indoors. This week’s post to “Hindsight Parenting” illustrates the importance of planning activities for your children over the summer and that too much planning is never enough. Logan takes some stress out of planning for you by breaking down a wealth of summer activities into three categories that cover a lot of bases. Where our children are concerned, we all want to maximize their summer experiences. This week, Logan provides a great signpost as to how that can be achieved!

It’s strawberry season in Western Massachusetts and as the harvest approaches, everybody seems to either grow, pick or buy lots strawberries. They can be frozen and used throughout the year, and there is nothing better than coming up with a broad range of delicious strawberry recipes. In the “Oak and Acorn” this month, Leslie share her strawberry smoothie recipe- something that is tasty, cool and easy to make with your kids! Freeze into popsicles and have a frosty treat during the dog days of summer!

Get ready for Rhubarb! Whether it’s grown in your own garden or purchased at the farmers’ market, this perennial vegetable is one of the first harvests and make a delicious dessert! This month in “Oak & Acorn” Forage, Farm and Feast with the Family,” Leslie Lynn shares her favorite recipe for Rhubarb Crumble! Print it out and head to the kitchen after gathers several beautiful red stalks!

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! Here you will find a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and our Bucket List of Summer Activities! View according to day of the week or topic, or choose an post from this past week or one from our archives…

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA! Here you will find a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List of Summer Activities! View according to day of the week or topic, or choose an post from this past week or one from our archives…

Check out our Recap Map for news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week! Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 27th-August 2nd for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List of Summer Activities! Also check our weekly column, “Learn Local. Play Local.” for community & educational highlights, and our column, “Berkshire Family Fun: July 2013,” for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

Listen to Podcast:  SUMMER ESSENTIALS EPISODE Hilltown Family Variety Show WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am July 6th & 7th, 2013 (Rebroadcast)  Archived Podcasts ♦ Radio ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter PLAYLIST Lisa Loeb – “Ready for the Summer” [Camp Lisa] Dog on Fleas – “Green Grass of Summer” [When I Get Little] Nat King Cole – “Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of… Read More

Listen to Podcast: ICE CREAM & LEMONADE STANDS EPISODE Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Original Broadcast: August 9th, 2008 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts ♦ Subscribe to Podcast Radio ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter PLAYLIST Louis Prima – “Banana Split for My Baby” [The Wildest!] Telephone Company – “I-C-E C-R-E-A-M” [The King’s Surprises?] Michael Hearst – “Ice Cream!” [Songs For Ice Cream… Read More

Summer is officially here and school is out (for most)! This weekend there are several community festivals and celebrations happening in Western MA to start your summer off right. Three such festival will be celebrating specific cultures, including Puerto Rican, Chinese and Vietnamese. A community celebration of Puerto Rican arts and culture happens on Saturday, June 23rd in Holyoke at La Noche de San Juan. Live music will fill Holyoke Heritage State… Read More

Running on Empty He runs—five to ten miles per day with his cross country team. He jumps-before and after cross country practice-on a super charged pogo stick. He flips-on a trampoline before sunrise and way after sunset. He skates, scats skedaddles—up and down the street and around the block on a skate board, on a long board, on a bike, on two feet. He never stops; not even to fuel all that… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this weekend 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 weekend 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 weekend 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

Listen to Podcast: ICE CREAM & LEMONADE STANDS EPISODE Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am August 9th, 2008 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts ♦ Subscribe to Podcast Radio ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter PLAYLIST Louis Prima – “Banana Split for My Baby” [The Wildest!] Laurie Berkner – “Ice Cream Cone” [Buzz Buzz] Telephone Company – “I-C-E C-R-E-A-M” [The King’s Surprises?] Michael Hearst –… Read More

My daughter saw this video of the Beach Boys performing Fun, Fun, Fun back in 1964. After the video finished, her only comment was “Cool!” That’s enough approval from my official focus group of one to post it here to share:

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