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It’s that time of the year again! Hilltown Families celebrates 15 years in 2020, and for the past 12 years, we have coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap that connects community via loving-kindness. Making handmade valentines is an excellent way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday while being creative with your family and friends. Sign up to participate by Jan 31, 2020!

It’s that time of the year again! Hilltown Families celebrates 15 years in 2020, and for the past 12 years, we have coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap that connects community via loving-kindness. Making handmade valentines is an excellent way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday while being creative with your family and friends. Sign up to participate by Jan 31, 2020!

February celebrates Black History Month, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, and Snow! Here are reading lists and literary guides to connect you to the season with books for all ages.

In order to promote social and emotional growth in children of all ages, families can explore the practice of empathy as a means of honoring Valentine’s Day. Offering a non-commercial way to spread love to others, Valentine’s Day empathy is a holiday lesson that can last a lifetime.

With Valentine’s Day serving as a catalyst, February is a time for practicing kindness in all its forms. Use titles from our library to learn about the impact that acts of kindness can have on the world, and to gather ideas for practicing kindness in your own community.

Every year, Americans exchange an average of 142 million Valentine’s Day cards – making the holiday near the top of the list of card-exchanging holidays (second only to Christmas). Valentines come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be handmade or store bought, clever and creative, or very traditional. Whatever form they come in, the valentines that we exchange each year have their roots right here in western Massachusetts, and are symbolic of the love, caring, and appreciation that we have for the important people around us.

Think about this:

Love is in the air! But what does that mean? Valentine’s Day is a special opportunity for parents to support local culture and express kindness to each other by shopping at a local business, buying flowers from an artisan florist, take museum trips, volunteer your time for others, or relax amongst fellow adults while the sitter takes over for the evening. But it isn’t just about hearts and chocolates!

Featured here are three evening community events parents can engage in for a special Parents’ Night Out in celebration of Valentine’s Day, including a ticket giveaway for two pair of tickets to see a show at the Calvin Theater!

In order to promote social and emotional growth in children of all ages, families can explore the practice of empathy as a means of honoring Valentine’s Day. Offering a non-commercial way to spread love to others, Valentine’s Day empathy is a holiday lesson that can last a lifetime.

It’s that time of the year again! For the past nine years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts!

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News! Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, January 25th, 2016 with Sienna and Ashley talking about Hilltown Families upcoming Handmade Valentine Swap and it support community values and learning.

While it’s easy to let Valentine’s Day pass in a blizzard of pink and red heart-shaped candies, the holiday’s historic roots and deeper meaning provide learning opportunities that are not to be missed! From valentine exhibits to local history to celebrations of love and appreciation, opportunities for holiday-themed community-based learning abound!

New exhibit at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg features handmade Valentines by Hilltown Families’ Annual Handmade Valentine Swap participants, 2009-2015. On display throughout the month of February.

It’s that time of the year again! For the past seven years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts!

Edible Book to Dr. Seuss Birthday. Wind Turbines to Hydrodynamics. Black Holes to Hubble Telescope. Food Systems to Sugaring… These are just a few of the community-based educational opportunities we’re featuring this week! Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Shaker Inventions to Turkish Coffee. Smith Splash to Kitchen Kaboom. Telescopes to Rainforest… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week in “Learn Local. Play Local.” Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

This week in “Learn Local. Play Local.,” learning highlights range from chain reactions to aviation; saber-tooth cat to arctic gray wolf; candy land to medieval feasts…. Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play during February vacation week!

Here is a post from our archives written by Joe Kelly: “Valentine’s Day Tips for Dads and Daughters.” These tips will help fathers and stepfathers show daughters that they care on Valentine’s Day and beyond..

If you were to write a love letter to your children, what would it say? This month in “The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons,” Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Sarah Mattison Buhl, shares what her love letter to her children would read like…

“Learn Local. Play Local.” is up! Valentine’s Day to Black History Month. Creative Free Play to Chemistry. Bread Baking to Snowshoeing. These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Make Your Own Handmade Valentines with Hilltown Families at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls during a free family workshop this Friday, February 7th, from 4-7pm. Handmade valentines are wonderful expressions of thoughtfulness that can be shared with neighbors and friends, or with people you might not know. Join us to make many! Think about making a valentine for your librarian, postal worker, or teacher. Make several and deliver them to a nearby homeless shelter, nursing home, or an elderly neighbor in your community. Send them in the mail to long lost friends or relatives you have never met! Sign up to join us at the free family workshop…

Esther Howland, a Mt. Holyoke graduate and Worcester native, began designing fancy valentine cards in 1848, Learn about the local roots of the Valentine this weekend while making your own valentines and viewing displays of antique valentines at these Western MA events…

Handmade valentines are wonderful expressions of thoughtfulness that can be shared with neighbors and friends, or with people you might not know. Join us to make many! Join Hilltown Families on Friday, Feb 7th from 4-7pm to MYO handmade valentines during a free intergenerational workshop at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls. Think about making a valentine for your librarian, postal worker, or teacher. Make several and deliver them to a nearby homeless shelter, nursing home, or an elderly neighbor in your community. Send them in the mail to long lost friends or relatives you have never met! Sign up to join us!

Hilltown Families’ Friends Share a Little Love! Moon hugs and star kisses! Our friend Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband in San Franciso wishes us all a Happy Valentine’s Day in this archived episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show which aired last year for Valentine’s Day on Valley Free Radio:  HFVS Valentine’s Day 2012 Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn. This year Charity gathered artwork from children all over the… Read More

Chocolate History to Guitar History. Victorian Valentines to Mardi Gras. Winterfest to Fire & Ice… These are just a few of the learning & community highlights we’re featuring this week. Get out into your community and learn while you play! History | Valentine Celebrations | Animals | Community Events | Outdoor Adventures | Mardi Gras | Fiber Arts | Science | Theater Studies HISTORY Chocolate and Valentine’s Day go together like peanut… Read More

Be Mine: Chocolate and Valentines The Roots of Valentine’s Day Traditions Old Sturbridge Village: Feb. 9th & 10th [02/08/13 UPDATE: OSV will be closed Sat., Feb. 9th and opened Sun. Feb. 10th] The tradition of having chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a longstanding one – it has been around since the early days of New England, even!  Today’s Valentine’s traditions tend not to involve a lot of homemade chocolate or laborious preparations,… Read More

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