Doggy Days: Abby the Artist

Abby has a secret. She has always wished she could be an artist! Let’s show Abby how you make art with your hand and footprints and help Abby make some paw-tastic prints herself.
Abby is a certified Therapy Dog from the Pets & People Foundation, which means she’s happy to meet both enthusiastic dog-lovers and anyone who’s curious but might be shy.

The Caterpillar Lab

Visit with The Caterpillar Lab and meet some little-known native critters! This program will feature a huge variety of New England caterpillar species munching on their food plants right in front of you. There will be plenty to see and touch! Educators from The Caterpillar Lab (located in Keene, NH) will teach you all about metamorphosis and tell incredible but true stories about the creatures' strange and surprising adaptations. Some caterpillars may be camouflaged to look like twigs or snakes. Some may have stinging spines or brightly colored baubles.

Cold As Ice: A 300lb Block of Ice!

Get ready for a cold day in August! Make chilly discoveries when you put salt, coins, keys, and liquid watercolors on a 300-pound block of ice. Experiment with different types of salt as you explore the unique characteristics of this solid state of water. This program will happen light rain or shine. Heavy rain or other inclement weather may result in changes to the program, or cancellation.


Welcome to Fairyborough, the little city with a big future! Design, build, and explore a mysterious forest environment of fairy houses, gnome homes, and sprite skyscrapers, constructed completely out of natural materials and creativity. This changing and evolving temporary space will be put together by staff and visiors over the course of 5 days.

What Exactly Is Play, and Why Is It Such a Powerful Vehicle for Learning?

"Play" is a word that we use commonly to refer to children's preferred activities and to some adult activities. But what, really, is play? In this talk Dr. Peter Gray will define play as an activity that is (1) self-chosen and self-directed; (2) motivated by means more than ends; (3) guided by mental rules; (4) includes a strong element of imagination; and (5) is conducted in an alert, active, but relatively non-stressed frame of mind. Dr. Gray will describe these characteristics and show how each of them contributes to play’s educational and developmental value.

Exercise and Outdoors: A Key to Helping Our Kids Build Emotional Resiliency and Optimizing Their Learning Capacity

With our digital worlds so enticing and, yes, addicting, we need all the help we can get to show our kids the wonders of play and exploration—especially outside. Play and nature have important effects on all of us, but especially on children’s healthy development. Human beings are genetically programmed to learn through play, and when we don’t our brains are smaller, learning is harder, we are more aggressive, we don’t learn the social emotional rules, and we get less enjoyment out of life.

Fireside Chat with Dropbox Founder Drew Houston: A Journey from Acton, MA to Silicon Valley

In a fireside chat with Neil Gordon and Drew Houston, learn about Drew’s journey from exploring his dad’s office as a kid in Acton to bringing his ideas to Silicon Valley, where he created one of the fastest growing tech companies. He’ll share insights from his experiences and discuss what the future of the changing workplace could look like for the next generation.