Introduction: Light Switch for Toddlers
If your kids are old enough to be trusted with turning on and off the lights, but are not yet tall enough, this will bring the light switch down to their level, while still leaving it up where you can reach it. I don't remember if I was inspired by another project I saw somewhere, or if I just dreamed it up all by my lonesome. Either way it came in real handy for the last few years. I recently disassembled the ones I made since my youngest can now reach the switch on his own, so I don't have a picture of the finished project. Sorry. The drawing should still give you the idea.
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Step 1: Materials & Tools
light switch (thicker ones work better)
wire coat hanger (thicker/stiffer ones work better for this, too)
wooden dowel or bead ~ 1/2" diameter
hot glue gun
Step 2: Make the Push-pull Toggle
If you have a bead that already has a hole in it, you are golden. If not, cut a piece of dowel ~1/2" long. Drill a hole slightly wider than the thickness of the coat hanger wire through the axis of the piece. You might want to round the edges off a bit with sandpaper.
Step 3: Prepare the Switch
You're going to drill a hole in the light switch, so if it is still in use, you'd better take it out. Turn off the circuit that includes this switch at the circuit breaker. This is an absolute must. Really bad things will happen to you if you don't do this first.
Remove the light switch plate cover thingy. Remove the light switch. Disconnect the wires, but remember where they go before you do.
Drill a hole in the switch that is slightly larger than the diameter of the coat hanger wire, just like the bead. You can do it either top-to-bottom or side-to-side. I've done both, and side-to-side worked a little better for me.
Reconnect the wires to the same points. Reinstall the light switch. Replace the light switch plate cover thingy.
You may now turn the circuit back on.
Step 4: Assemble the Parts
Apologies for the drawing instead of a picture. As I said in the intro, I dismantled mine a few weeks ago - before joining Instructables.
Unwind the coat hanger and straighten it out. Measure the distance between the light switch and how high your kids can reach. Add an inch or so for each end to attach to the switch and to the bead, and cut that length of coat hanger.
Run one end of the hanger through the bead and wrap it around to hold the bead in place. If you want, a bit of hot glue can cover the end of the wire, to protect little hands.
Run the other end through the hole in the light switch and wrap the coat hanger around there. Again. a bit of hot glue might be in order to cover the end of the wire.
Step 5: Sit Back While Your Kids Turn on Their Own Light.
The coat hanger needs to be stiff, since turning the light on depends on the ability to push the wire up without bending it. One of mine was thinner than the other and it ended up a little curved over time. I had to keep straightening it out.
I said a side-to-side hole worked better above, because when the wire is pushed up that works better. Top-to-bottom also works, if you've done a good job wrapping the wire tightly around the switch.