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Something from Nothing with India’s greatest toymaker

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The average Australian household with children has over 100 toys.

In homes throughout the Western world, and increasingly in developing countries, families are battling the constant stream of tiny pieces of plastic that can threaten to overwhelm the kids’ bedrooms and spill out into the rest of the house. These excess toys are not only detrimental to our sanity, but also to the environment as they are resource intensive and eventually end up in landfill. In contrast, many children in the world don’t have any toys at all.

One of Arvind's toys from trash

One of Arvind’s toys from trash

To combat this wastage and to give every child a chance to play, Arvind Gupta has developed a philosophy of making something from nothing. He is a science teacher who has travelled throughout India teaching children and families how to make entertaining toys from simple, found materials. Known as India’s greatest toy maker, Arvind will be will be visiting Australia for a series of events from 26-28 February as part of the Fix and Make program at Hotel Hotel.

Arvind Gupta graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (1975) with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He has written 15 books on science activities, translated 175 books into Hindi and presented 125 films on science activities on Doordarshan. His first book Matchstick Models & Other Science Experiments was translated into 12 Indian languages and sold over half a million copies. The Toys from Trash viewership has crossed the 41-million mark and every day, 20 000 books are downloaded from his website.

Some of Arvind’s most popular toys include a coke can aeroplane and a coconut creature, and all of his toys are educational as well as being entertaining. He believes that “the best thing a child can do with a toy is break it,” and strongly advocates for all children’s right to a scientific education regardless of poverty or lack of materials. You can download a PDF of how to make Arvind Gupta’s a ‘Spiral Snake’ here.

Another of Arvind's creations

Another of Arvind’s creations

Hotel Hotel’s Fix and Make program aims to bring people together to explore our consumption of and relationship with objects. Through a series of workshops and talks, Fix and Make allows experts to share their thoughts with the public in both practical and philosophical ways.

Hotel Hotel will also be running the Something For Nothing talk, as well as a free Meet the Toymaker event with Arvind Gupta and two kids toy making workshops. For more information, click here.

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