The Toy Modification Group is a volunteer project under GE Volunteers-Elfuns. The group meets once a week at GE Schenectady to modify toys so children who have problems pushing the small buttons on battery operated toys can enjoy them. An example of their work is shown in the image.
A jack is installed in the toy in parallel with one of the toy's buttons and a large switch is plugged into the jack. This switch is large enough so it can be operated by a hand, fingers, foot, or head. The switch is made of a circular wooden base, a microswitch, and a jack with wire leads. The group typically makes 60 switches a year for distribution to a number of facilities in the Capital District and neighboring areas.
Currently there is a need for people who can make the wooden bases. In the past they have been made with a router and a jig or on a wood lathe freehand. The bases are usually made from pine 1x4s or 1x6s, as we traditionally use two different sizes of peanut butter tops (the switch cover). The exact size of the base is flexible - the only critical dimension is that determined by two different sizes of peanut butter tops which we will provide.
Providing the Toy Modification Group with a number of the bases throughout the year would be greatly appreciated. The bases could be made at the volunteer's convenience and flexible arrangements for delivery of the bases can be made.
Wood workers are also welcome to suggest other ideas for educational toys and projects that can be used with the Toy Modification Program or the Science in the Summer Program.
For more information, contact John Hoff at
or by phone at
518 370 4502.