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

January 12, February 9, March 9, April 13, May 11, June 1
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

January 12, February 9, March 9, April 13, May 11, June 1
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.

January 12: Evergreens and Beyond
Some plants die in the winter, others retreat unseen below the ground, still others seem completely unchanged. Learn about the adaptations of different plants in winter time and investigate some evergreens in attempt to understand their survival strategies.

February 9: Tracks, Traces, and Trails!
Even in the quiet of winter the forest is still full of life. We know this because the animals leave us clues! What tales can animals tell us by looking at what they leave behind?

Our Second Saturday Family Science programs are generously sponsored by Pelham Auto Service.

March 9: Wind and Air
We can’t hold them or see them, but they’re all around us! This month at the Hitchcock Center we’ll make the invisible visible by examining wind and air at work. We’ll be making our own wind catchers and learning about our relationship to wind and air.

April 13: Sounds of Spring
Ribbit-Ribbit, Tap-Tap-Tap. Can you hear that? Spring has arrived and everyone is talking about it! Spring is a noisy time in the forest, come learn about some of our vocal neighbors and their voices.

May 11: Ladybugs, Ladybugs, Ladybugs!
After waking up from their winter sleep Ladybugs are very hungry! Learn what ladybugs want for lunch and what they do in spring.

June 1: Plants We Eat
Note: Second Saturday Family Science in June will be held on the first Saturday, June 1.
Stems, roots, flowers, and fruits! Each part of a plant has an important role to help it grow and thrive. What are those roles and which parts can help us by giving us food and nourishment? Come find out at the Hitchcock Center!

Balanced Barefoot Lecture: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident and Capable Children

Thursday, January 17, 6pm (snow date: Thursday March 14 at 6pm)
Friday, January 18, 1:30pm (snow date: Friday, March 15, 1:30pm)
*This lecture will be offered twice, once during the day and once in the evening.
Please register here.

Learn how outdoor play can benefit the sensory and motor development of children with pediatric occupational therapist, author and TimberNook Founder, Angela Hanscom when she presents 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.

About Angela Hanscom
I’m a pediatric occupational therapist that has taken a unique path in life. Typically occupational therapists are found in buildings (i.e., schools, hospitals, or clinics) and treat children with attention, balance, sensory, and motor issues. I still help these children, only I use giant mud puddles, rope swings that reach new heights, fallen trees, and the woods as my medium of choice for treatment and prevention for that matter.

Before I became a writer, I started a developmental nature program in my backyard as an experiment. What started as just an idea, quickly grew into what is now an internationally recognized brand, TimberNook, in just a few short years. Now we can be found throughout the United States and New Zealand. It is through hours of observing children at these camps where the idea for Balanced & Barefoot was born.

I live in New Hampshire in an antique cape nestled in the woods with my adored husband and three children. My favorite activities are downhill skiing, reading by the fire, boating, traveling, and taking walks through the woods with my family. My faith and my family are at the core of everything I do. Without them, there would be no book or TimberNook. My hope is that this book will provide valuable insight into the sensory and motor needs of children for years to come.

Family Presentation: Birds of Prey with Tom Ricardi

Saturday, April 6, 10:30-11:30am
Free, registration encouraged

Bring the whole family to this interactive presentation featuring live birds of prey at the Hitchcock Center! Tom Ricardi is a retired Fish and Wildlife game warden and licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Tom cares for injured birds, operates a successful captive-breeding program, and travels throughout New England and New York providing information aimed at helping people appreciate, respect, and assist in the conservation of these important raptors.

This program is supported by a grant from the Amherst Cultural Council.

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment