Tuesday, February 27, 2007

60 Things to Do With a Single Switch

Things to Do With a Switch and a Battery Interrupter

(Just insert the metal disc of the interrupter between the battery head and the receiver and plug in a switch, does not generally work with anything that recharges. Also, when using a battery adapted it will just turn the item on an off making things like a stapler or pencil sharpener "partner" activities. You may need to tape, glue or velcro down the devices built in power switch if you want it to be an independent activity. Many of these items are available at dollar, discount and salvage stores as well as flea markets. It generally costs less to adapt them yourself. Save your school budget for things you can't pick up for cheap.)

cut with battery operated scissors (pre-adapted)

have a race with toys that walk accessed through the switch (pre-adapted)

use walking switch toys to knock down block tower

use an adapted remote control car to knock down towers

put paint on the wheels of the adapted remote control car and drive over paper to make a painting

use a battery run electric razor and remove the pills from sweaters

turn on and off a hand held massager to give massages or to shake a box filled with paint covered marbles

turn on and off a flashlight (point it under your face and tell ghost stories, hit another switch to play ghost stories)

turn on and off battery operated holiday lights decorating your wheelchair

blow bubbles on your adapted battery run bubble blower

staple things

12. turn on and off a mini-tv

stir a drink

14. sift flour

15. be in charge of the pencil sharpener

16. dry your nails

17. open mail

18. sharpen the crayons

19. vacuum up bugs or dust bunnies

20. scare the pants off someone

21. make something spin in circles

22. cool off

23. spray a mix of water and food coloring over a stencil to paint

24. take a bubble bath

25. make spin art

Using a Switch and an Electric Power Adapter

(The Powerlink from Ablenet and the Electra from Tash with both interrupt the power to electric {plug in} devices and can be set to direct, timed or latch {first hit turns on, second turns off}. Oh, don't use it with high power items like microwaves!)

26. cool off with a plug in fan, attach streamers and watch them blow

27. make sailboats, place in a long underbed storage box of water, set up fans with switches, use fans to make wind, race the boats

28. turn on and off the lights in a haunted house

29. be the D.J.

30. use hair dryers to dry paintings

31. go apple picking then use a juicer with a switch to make juice

32. make ice cream shakes, use food coloring to make a color to go with your holiday theme, sell them for two dollars

33. use a food processor to mix up the ingredients to make recycled paper, use your fans to dry it

34. grind up oreos in a grinder or food processor to make "dirt"

35. turn on holiday lights or a holiday fiber optic tree

36. run a foot massager

37. use the switch and the overhead projector to shine a light onto a friend and trace silhouettes

38. make a funky sixties or seventies space by running lava lamps, a liquid projector, and groovy music all by switches

39. run a fog lamp to make the room spooky or mist-i-cal

40. turn on the black lights with all of your glow in the dark stuff around, make your own planetarium

41. use that sewing machine and make some curtains (or aprons...)

42. plug in one red light and one green light - now the switch user runs gym class

43. shave people's heads for a dollar during spirit week

Things to do with specially adapted devices and a switch:

44-48. use a pouring cup to pour cooking ingredients, art supplies like glitter, to pour sand in the sand box, to measure for science experiments to to dump water over your friends head
49. Use and iScan to run your iPod

50. change the tv channels

51. listen to CDs

52. be a bookworm

55. spin

56. be a high roller

57. ring my bell or bells

58. bowl

59. scoot

60. joke


  1. I LOVE this!!! Thank you for so many ideas - we have stopped using our switch because it seemed boring - not anymore!!! :)

  2. Unfortunately, many, many of the items here are apparently no longer available. It cries for an update.

  3. While the links may no longer work the ideas are still valid and the battery run items and plug in items still exist. Try Googling them or looking on Amazon for them. Maybe some day I will update the links but it was designed as a list of ideas to show teachers what could be done if you are creative. I found out about most of the items by searching store websites for "battery appliance" or similar search terms. One can and should create their own list.

  4. How do you take a bubble bath with a switch?

  5. I'm wondering if I could post this on kidz (linking back to your blog and giving you full credit of course) kidzorg.blogspot.com

    Please email and let me know. kidzorg.blogspot@gamil.com.

    thanks! Tara

  6. Sure Tara. But it is a little out of date. You might want to do a link check. Also, Anonymous you use a switch to turn the bubbles on. You don't bathe with it.

  7. Great ideas! I adapted a wireless doorbell, so my son can let me know he wants my attention (He is non-verbal. He enjoys spending time alone, but it can be hard to tell when he's enjoying his own company, or wants me to come back)

    1. that's interesting How does it work? I'm working with a non-verbal girl as well and I'm trying to find the way to give her the same choice.
      Thanks a lot

  8. thank you for these ideas, I will have a new student in the fall who is only using switches at this time, I am hoping to expand his world. Paula at http://educatingchildrenwithdisabilities.blogspot.com

  9. 2015 and still think the ideas are wonderful!


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