Tin Tanker, Stretchable Stomach, Coconut Creature and Buckling Basket - alliterations are not the only thing Arvind Gupta is a maestro at. For over 30 years, this Indian science educator working at the Children’s Science Centre in Pune has been revolutionizing the way science is taught to children by making Toys from Trash, and teaching children from around the world to do the same. “The best way to learn science is by doing,” he said in an interview with The Canberra Times, and he believes there’s no better way for children to embrace the subject than by giving them toys that aid in their understanding of the field.
Over the years, Gupta has taught the children of 3000 schools in India, both of lower-income as well as high-income backgrounds. The key to the overwhelming response Gupta has been receiving from these children, according to him? “All children like toys which are dynamic – the ones that can spin, fly, jump, make noise and move. And if you can make them from scraps of paper – jumping frog, flapping bird, flying fish – or old matchboxes, plastic bottles then every child can make them, whether they are rich or poor. The children who come to our science center hardly eat their tiffins or go to the washroom – they are so busy making things and playing with them!”
On his YouTube channel, you can find do-it-yourself videos for almost all his inventions, including tutorials on how to make your own DC Motor and Multiple Generator, in languages ranging from English, Marathi, Kannada and Uzbek to Spanish, French, Russian and Japanese - no less than a total of 20 languages. It isn’t a surprise then that his videos have reached out to primary, middle and high school students from every corner and socio-economic background of the world. The topics he discusses cover that of electricity and magnetism, light, vectors and anatomy, amongst so many others in the fields of mathematics and science. His inventions use waste materials to create toys that are so enjoyable and easy to use. Gupta believes that they’re not targeted at any specific age group - they are for everyone. “Children do not like to study fat textbooks but all children like to play,” he told The Logical India. To have found a sustainable and educational method of making and playing with toys? We couldn’t be more impressed.
Apart from his inventions and videos, Gupta has also authored a number of books, of which 15,000 are reportedly downloaded everyday, including Science from Scrap and Little Toys. He sells his inventions for no more than INR 20, making it particularly affordable to children from the lower rungs of Indian society. “A good toy is something that can be taken apart and put back together,” he explained to The Hindu. We can’t wait to see Gupta’s ‘good’ sustainable, creative and incredible inventions flourish.
Feature image via EcoIdeaz