Lauren and I work with some pretty amazing students.  And our students love to play!  Unfortunately, some of them are unable to play with toys in a conventional way due to their physical disabilities.  We’ve ordered switch adapted toys online to incorporate into our play based activities, however, they are EXPENSIVE!!  If you search for switch adapted toys online you will see that they range in price from around $40- $200+ even though the non-adapted toy costs significantly less!  The stereo cable that makes the toy switch accessible usually only costs about one dollar.  That doesn’t seem right…

We’ve discovered that the best way to get our students MORE toys is to switch adapt them ourselves.  This weekend we recruited an SLP, OT, and tech-savvy friend to help us adapt some toys!  After a couple of botched attempts, we got the hang of it and were able to adapt 5 toys!  We’ll be posting soon about how we are going to use these toys in therapy, giving them a purpose!  You can check out our final products here.

We filmed the last toy we switch adapted so you can see how we did it!  You can watch the video on our YouTube Channel.

Read on for step by step instructions on switch adapting a toy!

Pick a toy that’s easy to switch adapt!  You can tell it will likely be easy if it just does one thing and has one button that you press to turn it on/off.  The first one we adapted today is Justin Beaver.


Before you get started, here’s what you’ll need:


switch, electric tape, stereo cable, scissors, wire strippers, electric paint, needle and thread, egg carton

  1. Determine where the on/off button is.  Take out the batteries.  IMG_2799 IMG_2798
  2. Cut a hole near the button so that you can take the wire out.IMG_2802
  3. Cut the wire.  You are not going to need the button in the toy so cut close to the button to give yourself extra wire.                                                     IMG_2805 IMG_2806
  4. Cut the stereo cable.  You’re going to use the female end of the cable.  Don’t cut it too long because it is going to stick out of your toy!                  IMG_2808 IMG_2809
  5. Strip the wires on the stereo cable and on your toy.                IMG_2807 IMG_2810
  6. Connect the wires from the stereo cable to the wires on the toy. Twist the wires together.                                                                         IMG_2811 IMG_2814
  7. Test the connection!  Make sure it works before moving on to the next step.IMG_2813
  8. Use electric paint to keep the wires together.  We used to solder the wires together but this is MUCH easier!  Wait 15 minutes for the paint to dry.IMG_2817 IMG_2820
  9. Wrap the wires in electric tape.  Test the toy again to make sure it’s still working!IMG_2821
  10. Put the wires back inside the toy.  Sew him up!     IMG_2823 IMG_2824
  11. Check out the final product here!

If the toy doesn’t work the first time you try it, try again!

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