Arvind Gupta
Mr. Arvind teaching students using " Matchstick Mecanno ", one of his ways to create great teaching aids from domestic items
Occupation(s)Toy inventor, author, translator
Years active1975-present

Arvind Gupta is an Indian toy inventor, author, translator and scientist.[1] He got the civilian award "Padma Shree" on the eve of Republic Day, 2018.


A graduate from IIT Kanpur (1975 batch), Arvind Kumar Gupta took a year's study leave from TELCO (in 1978) to work with the grassroots village science teaching programme for children in the tribal district of Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh called Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme. While there, he developed many useful low-cost teaching/science teaching aids using locally available materials. The possibilities of using ordinary things for doing science and recycling modern junk into joyous products appealed immensely to children.

Arvind Gupta's first book, Matchstick Models and other Science Experiments, was translated into 12 Indian languages by various Popular Science groups and sold more than half a million copies. Gupta has conducted workshops in over 2000 schools and has won many national and international awards. As a student in the 1970 s in Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Gupta became a socialist in belief but eschewed action-less discourse; he stated that instead he "placed more faith in small positive action than empty rhetoric." Gupta began his social service by teaching the children of the mess staff who had no opportunities for formal education.[2]

Gandhian in outlook, Arvind Gupta participated in the Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme (HSTP) in Madhya Pradesh in 1978. While he was there he developed his idea of creating simple toys and educational experiments using locally available materials as well as items usually thrown as trash. These simple toys, he found, fascinated children and Gupta went on to make these as the hallmark of his movement of popularising science. His first book, "Matchstick Models and other Science Experiments" was reprinted in 12 languages. Gupta's website holds instructions, including short video clips on YouTube, in a number of languages, for making hundreds of improvised toys, which he makes available freely without copyright restrictions.[3][4] Gupta draws inspiration from a number of people, including Gautama Buddha, George Washington Carver and his mother.[3]

His popular TED Talk: Turning Trash into Toys for learning gives an insight into his work and philosophy.[5] His talk was among the 10 best TED talks[6] compiled by Sir Ken Robinson and Sugata Mitra's 5 favorite education talks.[7]

Selected awards and recognition

He has won several awards for his lifelong efforts at popularizing science and in designing teaching aids for young children. These include:


Translation in Hindi

Arvind Gupta has translated over 290 books to Hindi.


  1. ^ "Indian inventor creates children's science toys from trash". New Atlas. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  2. ^ Brooks, Pastor (30 May 2011). "Toys from Trash: Theology for the Rest of Us". First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Vancouver, WA. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Murthy, Tanmaya (May 2011). "Amazing Mentor! Spotlight Interview with Arvind Gupta, Toy Maker". Amazing Kids magazine. Amazing Kids!. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  4. ^ Arvind Gupta and associates. "Free films". Arvind Gupta Toys. IUCAA. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  5. ^ Gupta, Arvind. "Turning trash into toys for learning".
  6. ^ "Ken Robinson: 10 talks on education | TED Talks".
  7. ^ "Sugata Mitra's 5 favorite education talks | TED Talks".
  8. ^ a b "Maharashtra Foundation Awards for 'toy inventor', founder of de-addiction centre". The Hindu. 13 January 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Annual Awards". South Indian Education Society. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Recipients of Medals/Lectures Awards". INDIAN NATIONAL SCIENCE ACADEMY. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Arvind Kumar Gupta (BT/EE/1975)". Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (website). IIT Kanpur. 2001. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2011.