Last Friday marked my niece Courtney’s eighth birthday, and what was she hoping for most? An iPod. Now, in my opinion, an 8-year-old doesn’t have much business with an iPod, but kids today are getting into electronics at a much younger age. Though part of Courtney’s argument for “needing” an iPod was, “everyone has one except for me,” the first thing she did when she got it was personalize it. Before even putting a song on it, she slapped a peace-sign sticker right on the back of it—10 minutes out of the box (hence why 8-year-olds probably shouldn’t have iPods). But, this was her way of making it her own.

For parents buying their children expensive devices such as smartphones, iPods, or even portable gaming devices like the Nintendo 3DS or the PS Vita, there are some awesome products on the market that will allow kids to dazzle and personalize their devices without placing a never-gonna-come-off, gooey-backed sticker on said device.


Plugy, from Hashy, is a universal 3.5mm plug that fits snuggly into all standard headphone jacks. Plugys come in more than 40 different styles, including zoo animals, robots, and glow-in-the-dark options. Plugy has something for everyone, including a rainbow, Eiffel Tower, and an apple stem, and allows kids to  take their smart device to a more personal level in a not-so-permanent way. Plugys are made of rubber and will not break when inserted into the headphone jack. They even protect the device from rain, dust, and sand when earphones are not plugged in. Plugys are available on and from Hanging Mobile Gallery. For more information on Plugys, email

Customizable iPhone and iPad cases, from Shainsware, are eco-friendly device accessories for kids and tweens. Kids can create their own statements or messages right on the iPhone and iPad cases. The accessories line is composed of letters, numbers, and icons that can be mixed and matched on the case. Nothing is permanent, and kids can make new letter and number combinations as often as they want. The cases are made from recycled and recyclable content, including the packaging.


Headphones are another way in which kids can add their favorites to their iPods, smartphones, tablets, and portable gaming consoles. Sakar International has adorable earbuds and headphones featuring kids’ favorite properties, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hello Kitty, Annoying Orange, and Monster High. Jazwares even has heart-shaped pink and black One Direction Earbuds with a case featuring the band members.

With these products, kids are able to add a personal flare to their portable devices without damaging them. Keep in mind that personal touches like these help these devices stand-out in case they are lost or stolen, since it will be easier for a child to recognize or find their device if there is something that sets it apart from the crowd. With products like Plugy, the customizable cases, and the different types of earbuds and headphones, even though they will have what the product everyone else has, it will be uniquely their own.

For more commentary from Marissa, check back each Monday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!