Toys from Trash


Guide to building doodads w/junk

The recycling, reuse and reppropriation of common household goods, trash and miscellany into functional and/or amusing items is something Cool Tools readers know well. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of tinkerers, whether you have children or not, it’s near impossible to visit Arvind Gupta’s Toys From Trash without wanting to attempt at least one of his many projects.

His web site boasts a fantastic range of educational experiments like how to fashion a potato battery and a bottle barometer, as well as a section called “Pumps from the Dump” which includes a stellar-looking Syringe Pump. Granted there’s an array of light experiments akin to the ones you’ll find in the previously-reviewed Science Toys You Can Make With Your Kids. But in addition to the nerdy, educational stuff, Gupta’s site features quick and easy one-offs that aren’t the least bit science-y, like how to fold six types of newspaper hat.

I first perused Toys From Trash a couple years ago, but found myself diving back in recently after a friend reminded me just how much cool stuff Gupta’s published. Many of us already tinker, create, deconstruct and build stuff back up for fun, work, education, etc. — or at the very least we’re partial to blogs and publications which show us what’s possible. I’m guessing one of the biproducts of the economic downturn in the U.S. will be an increase in DIY and, therefore, even more kids raised on transforming what could be discarded into treasures.

— Steven Leckart

Toys From Trash