You can Make Health!

mott blog - design app imageHave you heard of the maker movement? It’s a grass roots “Do It Yourself” (DIY) movement to encourage kids and adults to “learn by doing”, and to do this learning with peers, for the purposes of fun and self-fulfillment.

We (myself and my colleague Matt Kenyon, Associate Professor at the Stamps School of Art and Design) are leading a group of individuals at the University of Michigan and from the larger community, to support maker activities for health, as we believe that kids and caregivers should part of the creation and promotion of health.

To encourage kids to become creators and designers of their own tools and technologies for health, we have created this app design tool.

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Rolling good times: DIY ball and ramp activity

Ball and ramp activityKids generally love science, and with good reason since it taps into their natural curiosity. Here’s a fun, simple activity we like to do at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum that you can easily do at home — and you probably have everything you need in your home right now! It’s called “Build a Ball, Make a Ramp.” Two of the perks of this activity are that it gives kids an opportunity for free play and helps them learn about simple machines.

In a nutshell – this activity basically provides the supplies for your child to build a ball, and then a ramp to roll their ball on.

You won’t need all of these, just round up whatever you have at home.
• Play-Doh/clay
• Rubber bands
• Scraps of fabric/washcloths
• Paper plates and cups
• Rulers/paint sticks
• Twist ties
• Foam sheets
• Plastic wrap
• Aluminum foil
• Plastic containers

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Sketchbook Detectives: Activities for exploring nature

Hands-on nature activities for kidsSummertime is the best time to test nature detective skills. The woods, streams, plants and animals provide all the intrigue you need for a day of exploring nature.

Recently a group of children ages 5-11 visited Matthaei Botanical Gardens for a Sketchbook Detectives program.

We started off telling the story of a young explorer-botanist named Linnea, with a goal of our guests setting off on a quest to find all the discoveries Linnea made in the story. Once the story was complete, off we went – with clipboards, pencils and adventure bag in tow!

Stopping on the bridge to watch turtles, tadpoles and lily pads bob in the water we took out our pencils and sketched what each of us saw.

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Ice cream in a bag

MOTT BLOG - ice cream bag promo imageIce cream is always a summer favorite for kids and adults alike.

If you’re looking for a variation on the usual ice cream indulgence, try out this fun recipe from Rebecca Wauldron, Executive Chef at Busch’s Fresh Food Markets to put a special hands-on twist on your next cool summer treat.

You can take even turn on some music to turn the shaking step into a mini dance party for your whole family!


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What’s inside of me? DIY anatomy projects for kids

Anatomy activities for kidsPlay allows children to express themselves in a way that is familiar to them. Here at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, our Child Life Specialists use something called medical play. Medical play allows children to have hands-on play experiences using real or pretend medical equipment and supplies. Using medical play techniques, our child life therapists help kids to work out (or “play” out) their feelings or anxieties regarding medical experiences. Medical play can also be an important way to help them understand their body and any treatments or procedures they may undergo.

But, you don’t need to be in the hospital to learn about your body. From skeletons to beating hearts, kids are curious about what’s under their skin, so let’s explore the human body this week with these DIY anatomy learning projects.

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DIY Rain Sticks

A fun and easy musical craft

DIY Rainstick ActivityMusic is a great addition to any day. Young children love to get in on the fun by singing and playing instruments. Here’s an easy-to-make craft project that will keep you and your child singing and dancing all day.


  • Empty paper towel roll
  • Aluminum foil or wax paper
  • Rubber bands or tape
  • Uncooked rice
  • Decoration items of choice!

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