Who needs the “kids” version?

We’ve discovered that no matter how realistic the kids toy is, our 2 year old is inevitably going to want the “real” thing: electric screwdrivers, speakers, instruments – the real deal is clearly where the action is.

So instead of buying the kids version of a product, I’ve started just buying affordable, regular grown-up versions that a kid can be trusted with. Obviously you can’t apply this to anything dangerous, but here are some things where buying a cheap version of “the real thing” has worked out well…


After watching our toddler run around the garden with my precious Olympus micro four-thirds clasped in jam-covered hands, I found a nice, similar looking Panasonic point & shoot on eBay for… €10. That’s cheaper than the kids equivalent with a potato lens and annoying electronic games built-in.

The Panasonic LUMIX is small enough for him to hold comfortably and has a nice big on/off switch and shutter to press. And it’s a pretty cheap insurance policy for my camera.

Looks like the real deal
Looks like the real deal

Electric screwdriver

We’ve spent most lockdown weekends doing DIY projects around the house. He has a little plastic screwdriver, but clearly the Bosch Professional is much more interesting.

Luckily we also have a little green Bosch screwdriver that he can hold and with a blunt screw bit it’s pretty safe for him to use… and means he doesn’t keep trying to grab the big screwdriver.

Label maker / Spelling game

We’ve started singing the alphabet song and looking at letters. And like everything else with buttons, keyboards are a big hit as well.

So we also got a simple label maker to play with: it has nice big rubber keys and a giant blue button to print the word we’ve worked on. Obviously this isn’t something you can sit your kid in front of without supervision… But our son is starting to recognize a few letters and as an added bonus our files have never looked so organised.


My son is convinced you mainly play a guitar via the tuning pegs. So instead of having him do that, I found a nice Ukulele that he can strum, drum and tune to his heart’s content. Sounds much better than a plastic kids guitar and you can get a decent-ish Ukulele for under €30.

Plus grown-ups can also play it – win win.

I’d love to hear if you’ve had any tips for things that have worked well at any age 👍