School vacation week is a perfect time to get the family outside to explore our unique New England woodlands. The Mass Audubon Society is offering a series of programs at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary -- sign up for one, two or all three! On Friday, Dec. 27, you can try your hand at survival skills in the program, "Survivor." Pretend you're explorers, and through teamwork and problem-solving, figure out how to build shelters, find food and water, and collect firewood. On Saturday, Dec. 28, parent-child teams can build birdhouses together with supplied materials (please note this program has a different fee). How many birds can you attract to your backyard with your new creation? A slide presentation of common birds and observation of sanctuary bird feeders is also included. Finally, on Sunday, Dec. 29, you can join the "Predator Party." How do local predators, such as coyotes, survive Massachusetts winters? You'll spend some time indoors learning about different animals, then head outside to search for tracks, chews, scat, pellets and more to find out where the predators have partied. Registration for all programs is required. Fri., Dec, 27 - Sun., Dec. 29, 1 - 2:30 p.m. Ages 4 and up. Adult members, $7; child members, $6. Adult non-members, $9; child non-members, $7. For the bird feeder program, adult members, $18; adult non-members, $20; children free. Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, 87 Perkins Rd., Topsfield. www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors
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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.