Bullet Journaling: A social-emotional intervention worth exploring in any practice setting !!

Amber Severin, Level II intern from Wayne State University explored this amazing and versatile intervention with student’s enrolled in Scratch the Surface Restorative Practice program and with students at our alternative high school. She went above and beyond by contributing to a RP lecture prepared for EMU students. We added sustainablity to the project by using upcycled wallpaper samples to Dollar Tree composition books. Check out her video on Facebook!

Beautiful broken pieces transformed from trash to treasure with reclaimed wood and CD's!!

Mosaic art dates back at least 4000 years and for good reason! This capstone project was a labor of love for our EMU OT intern Claire Huddas. It took many many many trials to get to this spectacular finish but I think she would agree it was worth the wait!! Claire used re-claimed cabinet doors and used CD’s to create a project for all students on our caseload from elementary through high school. By nature, mosaic creation is a highly gradable task as clients choose patterns that provide that just right challenge and cut the discs into manageable fragments. This is going to be an activity that students and the community will cherish for years to come. Thank you Claire!! Interested in trying this project in your classroom or home? Check out the link to Claire’s protocol below to get started!! And feel free to contact us with any questions or to share a picture of your creation!

Therapy in the making: DIY Infinity Cube with wooden blocks and duct tape!!

Genna Harland, OTA student from Macomb Community College developed an engaging and meaningful project for our students that we’re sure will be a student favorite in our department! Using small wooden blocks and duct tape, this activity combines fine motor coordination, visual processing, and problem solving while creating an end product students can use to quietly manage stress and anxiety in the classroom. Genna created a protocol with picture supports to help others who may want to introduce this activity to students or clients in their respective practices. Thank you Genna for sharing this project!! Free printable below.

Alkalis + Triglicerides: A fresh approach to math, chemistry, and life skills!

Cold process soap wrapped in recycled fabric. Laser engraved tag with re-purposed Formica.
CNC engraved with positive messages!

Soap has been made for over 4,000 years with the oldest recipes carved into tablets and made with fats boiled with ashes and water.

There are countless educational and therapeutic benefits to soap making. Chemistry, SO MUCH math, not to mention the sensory input and dexterity/coordination needed throughout the process.

By combining recycling and tech. based machining, this ancient craft becomes reinvented into something students can use to learn complex concepts and perhaps start a profitable micro-enterprise!

Interested? Here are the basics to get started…

Cricut Maker: Excellent choice for OT Makers and Educators!

We have been so pleased with the addition of the Cricut maker in our OT makerspace. It continues to be a favorite workstation for students and interns. Here are just a few reasons to consider digital die cutting in your OT practice or educational setting.

  1. Portability: At around 20 pounds, the Cricut maker can be stored and transported on a rolling cart or taken on the road for traveling makers. You can even use the Cricut to create storage options for pens and accessories as shown below!
  2. Flexibility: The Cricut cuts a wide variety of materials: Paper, leather, very thin wood, heat transfer and sign vinyl, and fabric to name a few.
  3. Relative ease of use: With the help of generous makers on YouTube and the membership options for importing designs and patterns through Cricut Access, there is no shortage of training and support to get you started.
  4. Easy to grade/collect objective data. As OT’s and educators we rely on metrics and objective data to drive goal setting and lesson planning. This tool definitely provides opportunities to start simple and increase the physical and cognitive demands of projects.
  5. FUN!! One of the best qualities of this machine is its ability to deliver accessible engagement for all makers. The Cricut can serve as dedicated workstation for individual use or for more than one maker, assigning partners with complementary skills. Between preparing and loading adhesive mats, providing detail work using a weeding tool, and computer-based designing, there are ways to reach makers in every category.

Level II OTA intern Marissa Alphonse from Macomb Community College used the Cricut to create beautiful cards and to provide precision cutting of fabric, making brightly colored and textured balls (pictured above). She developed a highly detailed and organized activity analysis, to share with anyone interested in learning more about how to get started with this amazing tool. See link below. Thank you Marissa!!

Maker Spaces: Sew much to do, Sew little time!

Zach Zitkin with weighted blanket created with students in OT for a student in OT

Sewing machines are a maker space favorite for good reason. The first electric sewing machine was developed in 1889 and Gandhi called sewing machines “One of the few useful things ever invented”. Sewing machines are versatile, relatively portable, and highly gradable tools for meeting a variety of sensory, motor, academic, and pre-vocational goals with clients.

Interested in writing a grant or learning ways sewing can complement your maker space? Check out this thorough activity analysis created by our OT intern from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Intrigued?? Here is a very user friendly instructional video by Andrew, a talented OTA intern on how to thread and operate a basic machine to create a simple pillow. Created for beginners!

Once you are comfortable with basic sewing an entire world of possibilities becomes accessible to you and your students/clients! This is a fabric marble maze figit embroidered and personalized with scanned signature of our student!!

The Art of Pyrography in OT!

Dan Kaminski, Graduate student at Eastern Michigan University

A fitting follow-up to the mini-lathe is another low-tech intervention that uses natural materials and is relatively inexpensive to pursue. We had the pleasure of having Dan Kaminski from Eastern Michigan University as a level I fieldwork student in 2018. He didn’t mention his interest and skill in wood burning. I learned about his talent through a chance conversation with his program director. Thanks to Dan, our students have another option in our OT lab to help them reach academic and pre-vocational goals. OT students should consider sharing their individual skills and talents with their fieldwork supervisors. You never know what might become a fixture in a therapy department long after you graduate. Without further ado, Dan has agreed to share photos and his personal journey with wood burning, a unique and rewarding occupation! Interested in learning more and have questions? Contact us!

Teaching a valued personal skill to someone else provides the space to share in the excitement of exploring a new experience, the opportunity for growth in a new hobby, and the chance to pass along the enjoyment of that skill to another person.  This experience is enriching for both the person learning the new skill as well as for the person teaching it.  I have been able to enact both sides of this experience in regards to the hobby of wood burning.  The skill of wood burning was shared with me by my grandpa when I was around 8 years old.  While I was not old enough to participate in the activity myself at that age, I was allowed to watch my grandpa in amazement as he used his wood burner to detail the different woodworking projects he had created.  As I got older, my grandpa began to teach me how to safely and effectively utilize the techniques of the craft.  Memories of the time spent with my grandpa learning this skill, as well as the smell of the burning wood, are with me to this day. 

I recently had the opportunity to take this skill passed down to me from my grandpa and transfer it into a therapeutic application.  Interning as a Level 1 occupational therapy fieldwork student at Warren Woods Tower High School, I was assisted in developing a therapeutic occupation-based intervention, utilizing wood burning, that was adaptable to varying students’ abilities and goals.  This turned out to be a very rewarding experience for me, being able to pass along this personally meaningful skill.  When applied in the context of occupational therapy, wood burning proved to target many of the different desired areas of development for the student population it was used with.  Students were able to learn skills relating to safety during the activity, such as impulse control, following directions, careful handling of equipment, and patience.  Other skills that were embedded in the activity translated directly to some of the functional skills needed by students in the classroom.  In learning how to produce a consistently pleasing product, students had to learn force modulation when using the wood burner, pacing throughout the process, effective grip strength, functional hand writing positioning, and endurance throughout the task.  The development of all of these skills was facilitated by the students’ motivation to learn this new and exciting occupation.  This experience for me is proof that the sharing of personal talents with others stands to benefit everyone involved.

First Makeonomics Tutorial: Wood-Turning made easy!!

A mini-lathe is an amazing simple machine for most settings to address academic and pre-vocational goals, develop perseverance, grit and creativity with the added benefit of producing unique pieces of functional art that can be used, shared, or sold!

Check out this AMAZING video tutorial created by our OTA intern, Andrew! Intrigued but still have questions? Shoot us an e-mail!

Because of the numerous therapeutic and economic benefits of woodturning, the mini-lathe has the distinct honor of holding the top spot and our first tutorial and video demonstration on Makeonomics!

Students in our school-based practice have a wide variety of physical, emotional and cognitive impairments. Occupational therapists receive advanced training in breaking down tasks into smaller component parts to assist clients in exploring new activities, acquiring skills, and achieving goals.

Andrew, our current OTA intern from Macomb Community College created a very thorough task analysis to help makers, therapists, and educators bring this Makeonomics favorite a reality in their practice setting or home. Check it out!

An additional advantage of a thorough task analysis is the vast amount of data that can be used to support proposals for grant funding and help to provide written justifications for administrator considering this as a programming alternative in an educational or therapy setting.

Welcome to Makeonomics! Join a growing community exploring the emerging branch of knowledge concerned with the therapeutic and economic benefits of making!

Through video tutorials, instructional guides, and photos, Makeonomics will provide the knowledge, inspiration, and community you need to live, work, and play with a maker mindset!

Attention Therapists, Educators, and Makers!

Maker space activities will be dissected through the lens of occupational therapy. You will learn how to infuse making into your lessons and therapy sessions, ditch pricey catalogs for less expensive DIY solutions, and find plenty of ideas for free raw materials in our gallery. 

Explore 3-d printing, woodturning, pyrography, sewing, computerized embroidery, die cutting, vinyl cutting, designing for laser and router engraving, metal stamping, leather, and more! Interested in sharing your project or idea on Makeonomics? Contact us!