Let's Play Home Page
Switch Toys: Where to Begin
Play Toys Universal Design Assistive Technology Resources

Switch Toys - Where to Begin

What’s a switch toy?
A battery-operated toy that has been adapted to be used with a single switch. Most battery-operated toys can be used to provide a way for a child to independently play. Switches can give a child control over starting and stopping a toy and provide a means to play in a group. To begin, you will need an adapted battery-operated toy and a switch.

Choosing a Switch
Switches come in all shapes and sizes. They are often used by a hand or arm, but can be used with any body part. A child should be able to voluntarily activate the switch with large or small movements. Our experience indicates that young children most frequently use a 2 to 5” push switch.
big red button

Battery-operated toys
These can be found in most toy and novelty stores. Look for ones that use AA, C or D batteries and that appeal to the child. Does s/he like toys that are noisy or musical? fast or slow? High or low contrast colors? For success by young children, look at the movement of the toy. Toys that make sound or action but stay in one place are best; or those which move slowly in a straight line. A child will want to anticipate and control the movement of the toy.
Permanently adapted toys can be purchased through special catalogs or a battery adapter can be used with “off the shelf” toys.
To Use a Battery Adapter: Insert a battery adapter between 2 batteries or at the end of one.

Putting it all together
After you have inserted the battery adapter, close the battery door (you may need to use a file to make a space for the cord). Attach the switch to the toy and let the child play!

happy boy

Switch Toy Hints

  • secure the switch with velcro or a sturdy mount

  • turn the toy towards the child- it will keep him/her more involved

  • try adding props; knocking down blocks is always fun!

  • use these toys are part of pretend play; a fire engine comes to the rescue!

  • consider toys that can be used with small groups; such as Spin Art, Elefun or the Bubble Machine.

Resources: Switches and Switch Toys

1081 10th Avenue East
Minneapolis, MN 55414-1312
(800) 322-0956
Don Johnston, Inc.
P.O. Box 639
1000 N. Rand Road, Bldg. 115
Wauconda, IL 60084
(800) 999-4660
TASH, Inc. (Technical Aids & Systems
for the Handicapped)
Unit 1-91 Station Street
Ajax, Ontario, Canada L1S3H2
(800) 463-5685
Enabling Devices
385 Warburton Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
(800) 234-6006
HCT - Handicapped Children’s
Technological Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 7
Foster, RI 02825
(401) 861-3444
Jesana, Ltd.
P.O. Box 17
Irvington, NY 10533
(800) 443-4728
TFH (USA) Ltd.
4537 Gibsonia Rd.
Gibsonia, PA 15044
(412) 444-6400
Therapeutic Toys
P.O. Box 418
Moodus, CT 06469-0418
(800) 638-0676



About Let's Play Projects | Contact Us | Search Site | Print-Friendly Page

Copyright 1998-2004 Let's Play! Projects.