Family Programs

Did you know that your EBT card can be used to access membership and programs at the Hitchcock Center? Learn more about the EBT Card to Culture Program.

Second Saturdays at the Hitchcock Center

September 8, October 13, November 10, December 8
The Hitchcock Center is open to families and the community second Saturdays of the month, September thru December from 9am-1pm. Stop by to explore our building, talk with an educator, read a book with your kids or grandkids in our visitor center, and join us for one of our family science programs.

Saturday Family Science Series

September 8, October 13, November 10, December 8
Ideal for ages 3-8
Free, registration appreciated. Groups of 6 or more please call ahead.
Join us for seasonal nature and science programs each second Saturday of the month. Designed for children with their parents, these programs will explore cool topics in nature.

September 8: What Do Snakes Do?
What are turtles and snakes doing this time of year? Come visit the Hitchcock reptiles and meet Cob, our new corn snake!

October 13: Colors of Fall
How many colors of leaves can you find? Learn about why the leaves change colors in fall.

November 10: Oh Deer!
One of our most common, yet quiet mammals: come learn about the lives of white-tailed deer.

December 8: Counting Winter Birds with Heidi Stemple, Guest Teacher
Learn about the birds that stay all winter, and the citizen scientists that count them, with local children’s author Heidi Stemple.

Christmas Bird Count for Kids and Families

Thanks to the Hampshire Bird Club for its generous support of this program!

Sunday, December 16
Free, Registration appreciated

Do you want to learn more about birds? Would you like to contribute to science? Join birdwatchers all over America in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)! The Hitchcock Center is hosting its first ever CBC for kids and their families on Sunday, December 16 from 2:00-4:00pm. The CBC is a 118-year old event in which bird lovers of all ages and skill levels count all the birds they see in a 24-hour period in December. At this program, we’ll meet at the Hitchcock Center for an indoor program about how to recognize common birds, followed by an outdoor bird count. Educator Katie Koerten will facilitate a bird count for kids and their families on the grounds of the Hitchcock Center – we’ll count every bird we see! Stay as long as you wish. Later that evening she will report the data we collect at the official CBC compilation meeting. Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to a real bird census! This event is rain, slow, sleet or shine. Families may stay for as much time as they wish but we recommend you come for the indoor portion in order to get introduced to the common winter species we are likely to see. Binoculars welcome but not required.

Barefoot and Balanced Lectures

Angela Hanscom will present a lecture on her recent book, Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children. Today’s kids have adopted sedentary lifestyles filled with television, video games, and computer screens. But more and more, studies show that children need “rough and tumble” outdoor play in order to develop their sensory, motor, and executive functions. Disturbingly, a lack of movement has been shown to lead to a number of health and cognitive difficulties, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotion regulation and sensory processing issues, and aggressiveness at school recess break. So, how can you ensure your child is fully engaging their body, mind, and all of their senses?

Using the same philosophy that lies at the heart of her popular TimberNook program—that nature is the ultimate sensory experience, and that psychological and physical health improves for children when they spend time outside on a regular basis—author Angela Hanscom offers several strategies to help your child thrive, even if you live in an urban environment. Today it is rare to find children rolling down hills, climbing trees, or spinning in circles just for fun. We’ve taken away merry-go-rounds, shortened the length of swings, and done away with teeter-totters to keep children safe. Children have fewer opportunities for unstructured outdoor play than ever before, and recess times at school are shrinking due to demanding educational environments. With this lecture, you’ll discover little things you can do anytime, anywhere to help your kids achieve the movement they need to be happy and healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

  • Barefoot and Balanced Lecture: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident and Capable Children. This lecture will be offered twice, once during the day and once in the evening. Both lectures will be held at Hitchcock Center for the Environment, 845 West Street, Amherst, MA.
    • Thursday, January 17, 6pm (snow date, Thursday March 14 at 6pm)
    • Friday, January 18, 1:30pm (snow date, Friday, March 15, 1:30pm)
  • Please register here for the Barefoot and Balanced lecture.
Translate »
Hitchcock Center for the Environment