Kids’ Almanac (January 3-10)

Quote of the week
“A family is a unit composed
not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal
and the common cold”
– Ogden Nash


Free building workshops for kids this Saturday at Home Depot, next Saturday at Lowe’s

I can’t say enough about the free workshops offered every month by Home Depot and Lowe’s. My kids love using tools and making projects, and I love that they know which end of the hammer to use. Recall how the Indigo Girls sing, “Gotta get out of bed get a hammer and a nail/Learn how to use my hands, not just my head/I think myself into jail.” And with the decline of Industrial Arts and Wood Shop programs in the schools, we can’t assume that these are skills that our kids are just going to pick up along their educational journey. Plus, these workshops are free!

So start off the New Year right and head over to Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls or wherever your local Home Depot is for Kids’ Workshop. Kids’ Workshop takes place on the first Saturday of the month, which is this Saturday, January 5 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and the January project is a birdhouse kit. All kids get to keep their crafts, and they also receive a free work apron, a commemorative pin and a certificate of completion.

The first Lowe’s Build & Grow workshop takes place on Saturday, January 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, for a “Mystery Kit” clinic, where each store receives any one of several classic project kits. Workshops at Lowe’s include a free work apron, goggles and a project completion patch that can be sewn onto the apron (I hot-glue mine).

Like I said, these workshops are free, but I challenge you to leave Home Depot or Lowe’s without buying something! For more information about Kids’ Workshop, contact your local Home Depot store or visit To learn more or to preregister for Build & Grow, contact your local Lowe’s store or visit


Hudson Highlands Nature Museum offers bird & snake workshops

Perhaps you have Angry Birds videogame fans at home, or maybe you secretly wish that you spoke Parseltongue like Harry Potter, but one thing is for sure: We’re lucky to live in an area that can teach us about the real lives of birds and snakes. On Saturday, January 5 at 10 a.m., the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center offers a workshop called “Identify Winter Birds at Your Outdoor Feeder.” Learn what the most frequently reported New York State backyard bird is, and find out which types of bird food attract different bird species to your feeder – which you are you going to make during the workshop and take home.

This workshop is open to children ages 5 and up, accompanied by an adult. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for children, and Museum members receive a $2 discount.

Prefer ssslithering ssserpentsss? Come back on Sunday, January 6 at 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. for the presentation “Snakes Alive.” Meet some actual live snakes, learn to identify snakes common to our area and find out where they go during the winter. Snakes Alive is open to children ages 5 and up, accompanied by an adult. Prepaid reservations are required for this popular program. Admission costs $8 for adults, $6 for children, and Museum members receive a $2 discount.

The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center’s entrance is on Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road in Cornwall. For more information or to register, call (845) 534-5506, extension 204, or visit


Join Hudson Valley Horrors’ youth league

Leave it to Hudson Valley ladies to score another first: “The Hudson Valley Horrors are the world’s first non-urban, flat-track women’s roller derby league and are part of the grassroots derby revival.” Last year, I attended my first Horrors game, and I loved it. I enjoyed the intensity, I had a great time learning about roller derby and I got a kick out of the clever character names of the players. And get this: they started a youth league for 12-to-17-year-olds called the Frightmares!

On Tuesday, January 8 at 6:30 p.m., bring your aspiring roller derby star to Roller Magic in Hyde Park to check it out and join in on the fun, because new skaters are always welcome: “Young skaters should be ready for an orientation and play session. Gear is not needed, but please bring sneakers, water and your insurance card.”

If you are a grownup interested in trying out for the Horrors team, stop in at Roller Magic on January 21 or 24 at 7:30 p.m. Roller Magic is located at 4178 Albany Post Road (Route 9) in Hyde Park. For more information about the youth league, e-mail [email protected] or visit

– Erica Chase-Salerno

Erica Chase-Salerno sniffs, coughs and sneezes with her Neti pot, her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at [email protected]


Learn kakizome in Poughkeepsie

The countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve in this country is often marked with noisemakers and a toast at midnight. Japanese New Year’s traditions include special foods and extensive housecleaning so that the New Year begins with everything clean.

Another Japanese New Year’s tradition is kakizome, which translates to “first writing.” Traditionally, people used calligraphy to write poems that expressed their hopes and aspirations for the coming year. The poems were later burned, as if to seal the fate of the hope: a practice reminiscent of blowing out candles on a birthday cake after making a wish.

The kakizome tradition continues, but these days practitioners write auspicious kanji (Chinese characters) rather than poems. If you hope for good health in the New Year, write a kanji for positive health; if you hope to become pregnant, practice relevant kanji. Kakizome is about positive wishes for the New Year, and practicing one kanji over and over helps focus on the hoped-for theme.

This Saturday, January 5 from 2 to 3 p.m., the Dutchess County Arts Council and the Mid-Hudson Japanese Community Association will present “Kakizome,” a Japanese cultural program celebrating the traditional first calligraphy writing of the New Year, at the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center at 9 Vassar Street in Poughkeepsie. Brushes, paper and ink will be provided. The program is free and open to the public.

The Mid-Hudson Japanese Community Association (MHJCA) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to introduce Japanese culture to the local community, to foster a sense of community among Japanese residents and to be a bridge for cultural exchanges between Japanese and non-Japanese residents of the Hudson Valley. MHJCA educational presentations and language classes are aimed toward children and adults in the Hudson Valley area. The Association frequently collaborates with the Dutchess County Arts Council to (DCAC) present interactive programs celebrating Japanese culture.

The DCAC Folk Arts Program researches and presents the arts and traditions of the region’s rich cultural, ethnic, religious and occupational heritages. Through educational and public programs, the Folk Arts Program presents and interprets these traditions.

– Sharyn Flanagan

Kakizome, traditional first calligraphy writing of the year, Saturday, January 5, 2-3 p.m., free, Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center, 9 Vassar Street, Poughkeepsie; (845) 454-4347,


Kiwanis Ice Arena in Saugerties offers skating and hockey programs for all ages and abilities

The Kiwanis Ice Arena in Saugerties is hosting several programs this winter for kids and adults to learn the basics of hockey or figure skating. Learn the fundamentals of hockey plus advanced skills from volunteer hockey coaches on Sundays from 7 to 8 a.m. Advanced and beginner players are welcome. Groups will be divided up by skill level when feasible. Participants must have hockey skates, helmet, gloves and stick. Other gear (shin and elbow pads) is strongly recommended. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children.

The arena’s Learn to Skate program meets on Sundays from 8 to 9 a.m. Learn to skate from volunteer figure-skating coaches. Children and adults are welcome. This program offers a 20-minute group class and 40 minutes of practice time. Groups will be divided up by skill level and age when feasible. Group classes run from 8:10 to 8:30 a.m., so be sure to arrive early to get your skates on, warm up on the ice and meet your volunteer coaches. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Rental skates are available for $3. Helmets are strongly recommended for first-time skaters and small children.

Other programs offered at the Kiwanis Ice Arena include Saugerties Youth Hockey. Youth hockey programs are offered in several categories: the Learn to Play Hockey program for new players; the In-House Cross Ice program; the Full Ice House League; Squirt A and B (age 10 and under); Peewee A and B (age 12 and under); Girls (age 16 and under); Bantams (age 14 and under) and Midget A (age 18 and under).

The Saugerties Youth Hockey Association was created more than 30 years ago as Hurley Recreation Hockey. The organization relocated to the Kiwanis Ice Arena in 1997, and in 1999 evolved into Saugerties Youth Hockey. For more information, visit

The Saugerties Skating School meets on Mondays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The school offers an official US Figure Skating Association (USFSA) Basic Skating Skills program. Skaters receive a 30-minute group class and 45 minutes of practice ice each week. Participants also receive a USFSA record book and earn official badges as they progress to different levels. For more information, visit

The Boundless Edge Skating School meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. The school is now in its ninth year, teaching beginning students all of the basic skills needed to pursue a competitive skating career or a performing arts route. Students learn spins, jumps, turns, edges and theatrical choreography, with skills put to use first in recitals and then in semi-professional settings. The program is especially well-suited for the creative, non-competitive young person. For more information, visit

– Sharyn Flanagan

Skating/hockey programs, dates/times/prices vary, Kiwanis Ice Arena, Saugerties; (845) 247-2590, [email protected],




Share this article
Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message

Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly © 2015 All Rights Reserved

An Ulster Publishing publication