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As Thanksgiving approaches, families can integrate food-related community service into their schedules to honor the role that food plays in the holiday’s celebration. From community meals to food pantries to other food-related community resources, opportunities abound for families to engage in service or to participate in a community-building meal.

To learn more about how to offer community service or to find a community meal to attend, check out some of these community events on Thanksgiving Day…

Being thankful isn’t something with which we are born. We all have to learn how to be considerate, appreciative, and kind. Helping your toddler and preschooler learn these skills isn’t easy, but it can be fun! This month in “Let Them Grow: Fresh Ways to Engage Toddlers in Creative Free Play,” Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Candice Chouinard, shares three projects you can do with the youngest in your clan that foster connection and gratitude.

One of literary great Leo Lionni’s lesser known titles, “Tillie and the Wall” is a symbolic tale that encourages readers to bridge the gap (or, rather, tunnel beneath the wall) between themselves and others. Living in a mouse community where walls are the norm, young Tillie wishes to find out what’s on the other side. Much to her surprise, she learns that what’s on the other side isn’t all that different from what she already knows – save for the wall between them.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday that ties us back nearly 400 years to a time when the Wampanoag Indians were vital in helping the Pilgrims survive their new world. This year along with your harvest feast, go ahead and have a slice of history too! Here are four non-fiction books that give interesting perspectives about our national holiday, dispelling some of the more romantic myths and introducing some fascinating facts…

  Thanksgiving Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn Listen to Podcast: This special Thanksgiving episode from Charity and the JAMband explores, through music and story, some of the many, many things we have to be grateful for in our lives — like the sun, rain, friends and family – – culminating in a vision for world peace where everyone finally has enough food, shelter, community and love. Incorporating songs by Snatam Kaur,… Read More

Step back in time to a simpler day when holiday celebrations involved cooking over an open fire and illuminating homes with candlelight – the holiday season offers opportunities to experience celebrations of the past at three different living history museums! Families can explore, watch demonstrations, and engage in hands-on activities in order to learn about the ways in which the holiday season was honored in early New England.

Today, the traditional Thanksgiving meal is a celebration of the harvest season. The dinner table features the autumn bounty produced by local farms. Customary foods often included in Thanksgiving meals include corn, turkey, cranberry sauce, and fall vegetables such as squash and pumpkin pie. In fact, the traditional New England dishes often included at the Thanksgiving table have even inspired poets in their literary musings.

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Literary Guide for Barbara Cohen’s “Molly’s Pilgrim”

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, our Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for November and December includes…

Where did all the play go? Am I the only parent that is mourning its loss? The new math makes sense to me. I read Old Dogs, New Math: Homework Help for Puzzled Parents last winter after a friend with middle school aged children mentioned the math concepts coming my way. I like to be prepared. Current reading readiness makes sense. At first I was a bit surprised by the way letter… Read More

Eight picture books capture the adventures of some canny turkeys plotting to avoid the center of the Thanksgiving table! This diverse collection brings your children into the zany world of crazy turkey-led plots and adventures. A nice twist for Thankgiving!

As Thanksgiving approaches, families can integrate food-related community service into their schedules in order to honor the role that food plays in the holiday’s celebration. From community meals to food pantries to other food-related community resources, opportunities abound for families to engage in service or to participate in a community-building meal.

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 community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families 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… 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 community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families 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… Read More

Status Updates: Community Service Connections Here are 10 ways families and teens can support their community and others post Hurricane Sandy and leading up to the holidays.  All of these suggestions were posted to the Hilltown Families Facebook page over the past week.  We offer daily updates and announcements on our Facebook page for families living throughout Western MA! If you haven’t already, be sure you not only “Like” our page, but… Read More

Thanksgiving Show ♬ Listen Now ♬ Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Nov 26th & 27th 2011 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA Featured Video: Part of Seattle’s Kindiependent Collective, Johnny Bregar, The Harmonica Pocket and Recess Monkey get together for a rocking musical rendition of everyone’s favorite holiday tradition, sitting at the Kids’ Table, written, rehearsed and recorded one Sunday afternoon last year. www.kindiependent.com Podcasts ♦ Radio… 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

Open Sesame Open Sesame’s debut review is a hot-off-the-presses picture book about an extraordinary artist and a Thanksgiving Day parade. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, tells the story of Tony Sarg, the genius behind the upside down puppets of Macy’s annual parade. Sarg, a self-taught puppeteer, artist, and inventor, was fascinated by movement from the time he was a… 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 Grown Holiday Farmers’ Markets Given the remarkable success of past Holiday Farmers’ Markets, Berkshire Grown will host four markets in 2011 with a north and south county presence: Thanksgiving markets will take place in Great Barrington on Saturday, November 19, and in Williamstown on Sunday, November 20. A second set of markets will take place again, both in the same locations on December 17, the Saturday before Christmas.  

Support Local Food Drives The Amherst Survival Center distributes turkeys and Thanksgiving food boxes to over 350 local families every year!  However, this cannot happen without generous donations from the community. Currently, the center is seeking donations of 100 frozen turkeys, canned goods (especially holiday items such as pie fillings), boxed items (like macaroni and cheese), and/or gift certificates to local grocery stores so that families can purchase their own food. – For… 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

2012: Moonlight Magic Moonlight Magic in the Village of Shelburne Falls Friday, November 26th, 2010 Moonlight Magic happens again this year on Friday, November 26th, from 4:30-10pm. A terrific family event, the annual Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls, MA will begins with the Lighting of the Village at approximately 4:30 pm. Hot drinks, food, baked goods and more will be sold on the streets and stores, galleries and restaurants will stay open… Read More

Thanksgiving 2010 Episode Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am November 20th & 21st, 2010 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA Featured Video: “That’s How A Pumpkin Grows” from Brian Vogan‘s CD, Little Songs. Video is illustrated by Alberto Cerriteno and animated by Fashionbudda Studio. GIVEAWAY: We’re giving away 4 DVD’s by artists we’ve featured here on the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Tune in to the radio… 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

7th Annual Gorge aprés Gorge Sunday, November 28th, 2010 Chesterfield Gorge, West Chesterfield For the past seven year, families have gathered at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield on the Sunday following Thanksgiving for the annual Gorge aprés Gorge, a FREE community walk/run. New this year is a 5K run to benefit the Trustees of Reservation, and Hilltown Families has two entries and two mugs to giveaway to one lucky reader! Deadline… Read More

Follow Hilltown Families on 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… Read More

Vegan Thanksgiving Stories for Children Cynthia Mosher, VegFamily Editor writes: As an adult, it can be difficult to manuveur through the Thanksgiving questions and comments that inevitably present themselves from nonvegan friends, family members, and plain old strangers. For children, it can be even more difficult and cause them to question their vegan lifestlye. They can be delicate moments but therein lies opportunity for education, growth, and advocacy for them and for… Read More

Make a What-I’m-Thankful-For Placemat by Danielle Wood With a table laden with turkey, gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, it’s easy to come up with reasons to give thanks this holiday season. But Thanksgiving is a great excuse to pause and give thanks for more than what’s sitting on the table. This activity gives kids a chance to make a cute collage of things that make them happy, and it’s perfect décor for… Read More

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