K’Nex “handles” help toddlers reach the light switches

K'nex light switcher


Our toddlers would get very frustrated that they could not reach the light switches, and we always had to turn on the lights when they wanted to go down to the basement. We solved this problem by creating a simple “light-switcher” out of 7 ordinary Knex pieces. With this, even our 3-year-old is able to control most of the lights in the house. When the device gets lost, the kids even enjoy building a new one all by themselves.

It’s amazing how much frustration we can avoid when we simply remove obstacles to our kids’ ability to do things themselves.

Related: Lower the highchair so your toddler can play the electronic keyboard


  1. says

    I assume one would just move the doohickey under the switches and push up to turn the lights on.

    We bought light switch extenders from One Step Ahead, at $9 apiece they’re a bit pricey but well worth it. This K’nex invention is ingenious!

  2. says

    Love it! Very creative.

    We have the flush mount light switches so this won’t exactly work. Our 2 1/2 year old daughter can turn the lights off (as that “button” is easier to reach as it is on the bottom), but not on. It was funny the other night when we asked her to turn them on and she was trying so hard…jumping on her tippy toes.

    I guess we’ll just have to wait for her to grow. :)

  3. Tammy Robb says

    Jennifer, make a “hammer” type k’nex, leggo, PVC, etc. tool with a long handle for her to push the top of the light switch on to turn the light on. It’s good eye/hand coordination skill development too! ;-)

  4. alicia says

    What happen to step stools? Great balancing skills there. My little girls carry their green chairs all around the house so that they can reach what they want. What an achievement when they grow enough tht they dont need their chair to turn on the light any more.

  5. krista says

    THis is great idea. What we did was swap out key light switches (one in the bathroom, top and bottom of the hall stairs, basement stairs, you get the idea) with motion sensors switches that turn on when we or our daughter walk by. When she was smaller she’d walk jump up and down in front of them waving her hands. Now she’s taller and they ‘see her’ without the jumping.
    Added bonus – I don’t have to deal with lights when carrying loads of laundry to the basement or when our daughter wakes up in the nigh to go the bathroom. The lights turn off automatically on a pre-set and customizable amt of time – so we never accidentally leave the light on. downside – i know expect all lights to turn on automatically for me ;)

  6. Andrea says

    I’m with alicia. My boys (4 years & 20 months) carry a step stool over to whatever light switch they want to use. Granted, we do not have a basement, so no risk of toppling down the stairs.

  7. Matt Williams says

    We have the flush switches as well.
    One great trick is to attach a wood popsicle stick to the face of the switch with double stick foam tape.
    Glue the foam tape to the stick as it will not stick well to the wood over time.
    Once your daughter can reach the switch, remove the stick and clean off the adhesive with rubbing alcohol.

  8. J says

    They sell something called the “decora” light switch extender for those flat light switches…..just saying ;)
    The light switch extender called “kidswitch” is awesome, if you could copy that somehow, that’d be great.