A hydralulic JCB controlled using syringes, a periscope to look beyond the wall, a robot made using a DC motor, explaining textbook trignometry through a sine wave car, easy learning of geometry through lamps — these are a few of the over 200 toys developed at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar’s (IIT-Gn) Centre for Creative Learning (CCL), which will be a part of the first national toy fair scheduled to be held from February 27 to March 2.
The Ministry of Textiles, in collaboration with other ministries, including the Ministry of Education, is organising the virtual event with an aim to provide joyful learning to children by including them in teaching and learning as well as promoting the indigenous toy industry.
“The idea of a toy fair emerged from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat address on August 30, 2020, where he highlighted the huge potential of toys market and the opportunities that can be tapped to promote indigenous toys. In this fair, along with CCL’s toys, there will be 75 exhibition stalls of the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education, National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), along with their schools and teachers,” said CCL co-ordinator Prof Manish Jain.
Established in April 2017 with an existing team of 10 to nurture the scientific temper and creativity in students and teachers, CCL has created over 200 toys and models. Also, over 6,000 school teachers and engineering college professors have attended different workshops organised by CCL.
Adding that the CCL is playing a role of an expert group for the content provider for the toy fair, Prof Jain said, “Unfortunately, the traditional toys are stuck in tradition but tradition can be innovated, too. To create that narrative, the toy fair is a good idea.”
To be organised in phases from cluster to state level, the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) is making arrangements for the virtual toy fair. “The cluster and block level to the district level toy fair is being planned before January 31 followed by the state level fair around second week of February to be organised through a virtual mode. The shortlisted ones will participate in the national fair,” said GCERT director TS Joshi.
Adding, Joshi said, “This fair will give an opportunity to schools to showcase various educational toys developed by them and to explain their usefulness in learning and understanding various concepts.”
Aimed at providing a platform to states to develop toys reflecting the history, culture and social milieu specific to the states and also to revive traditional and indigenous toys in the lives of children, the national toy fair claims to also boost the economy by supporting local toy industry under ‘Atamnirbhar Bharat’.
The toy fair is divided into five stages — pre-school to Class II, primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary.