How To Use Pinterest: Tips for Occupational Therapy Practitioners

By Stephanie Yamkovenko

PinterestClipping photos and articles out of magazines and pinning them onto bulletin boards is a great way for others to see what matters to you—but it’s limited to those who actually see the bulletin board in person. Thanks to Pinterest you can virtually clip and pin interesting things you find on the Web and share them virtually with anyone who comes across your site. Pinterest has been featured in the news a lot lately and has been a hot topic on social media sites. Whether you’ve never heard of it or you just started pinning, read on for some tips from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) on how to use Pinterest in general and to promote your practice and the profession.

The main idea of Pinterest is to find something you like on the Web (perhaps a blog post on fine motor skills activities or an article with tips on healthy aging) and pin it to a virtual bulletin board. Not only will this allow you to easily find the resource at a later time, but it also gives you a simple way to share the item with your friends and followers. We’ll take you through the basics of Pinterest and then share some ideas on how to get the most out of pinning.

With these tips and advice, new users to Pinterest should have no trouble getting started. Happy pinning!

How to Join

It is free and easy to sign up for Pinterest. Go to and click on the “Join Pinterest” button. You can create an account by logging in with Facebook or Twitter, or you can sign up using your e-mail address and providing some basic information. Because all pins on Pinterest are public, you may want to use a nickname when signing up, and always keep in mind that anyone on the Web can see your pins, boards, and comments.  

How to pin

OT in the News boardA board is where you collect a set of "pins" about a certain topic and allows you to organize the items you pin. When you log in to Pinterest for the first time, you will see that there are several boards already created for you. You can keep these boards, edit their titles, or delete them. Want to create a new board? On the top of the Pinterest home page, on the right of the logo, you will see an "add" link. Click and select "create a new board." After you have boards set up, you can start pinning.  

You can either pin an item manually by clicking the add link and filling out the "add a pin" form or you can install the "Pin It" button to your browser's tool bar—here are step by step instructions on how to do that. When you find something on the Web that you would like to pin, click the Pin It button and it will show you all of the images on that Web page. Select the image you want to pin, choose the appropriate board, and write a short description. Pinterest is an image-driven Web site, so Web resources with pictures are the best for pinning.

How to follow, friend, and find

One of the best parts of Pinterest is that it is a social site. You can find your Facebook and Twitter friends automatically, and you can search for people by their names. AOTA is on Pinterest, and you can follow us by clicking here. When you log in to Pinterest you will see the pins of all of the people you are following. If you see something you like, you can click like. If you see something you want to save on your own boards, click repin. You can also comment on pins to start conversations and ask questions.  

How To Use Pinterest For OT

PinterestAlthough pinning your favorite outfits and recipes is a great way to use Pinterest, you can also use the site for your professional life. Many of your colleagues are already on Pinterest and pinning occupational therapy–related resources. Start following some occupational therapy practitioners for ideas. Another great place to start is with AOTA's boards, including our Children: Developmental Activities board; Active Aging board; and OT in the News board.

If you're a school-based practitioner or work with children and youth, Pinterest is great place to find activities and tips for children. A recent study found that 80% of users on Pinterest are women and half have children1, which means that a lot of moms and parents are posting pins. You could find some treatment ideas and other activities for your clients by looking at the categories DIY and Crafts, Kids, and Education . If you read a Web site or blog with great children and youth resources, pin it to your boards and share with other pinners.

Practitioners working with adults can also use Pinterest to find activity ideas for their clients, links to blogs about therapy (find some on AOTA's OT Blogs board), or just connect with occupational therapy colleagues from around the world.

Other ideas for getting the most out of Pinterest include:

  • Use your pin boards as a way to bookmark items you want to read or use later.
  • If you have a blog, you can pin your own posts to share with others (but remember that it is considered bad etiquette to pin only your own work).
  • Get inspired by looking at pictures and images.
  • Discover new blogs and Web sites from other people's pins.

Stephanie Yamkovenko is AOTA’s web edtor.

1. Keath, J. (2013, February 8). The Stats Behind Pinterest Users [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retrieved from