Matryoshka is a great way to keep a small child busy for a long time. And also – to study the basics of mathematics, literature and history. How? Our blogger Katya Khasanova reports.

Matryoshka is that old Russian wooden toy that still arouses genuine interest in children even now, in the 21st century. In fact, the matryoshka can not only be viewed, disassembled and reassembled. This wonderful toy can be a good tool for preparing your child for school.

  1. Exploring family ties

Many adults are still confused about the concepts of “cousin”, “son-in-law”, “father-in-law” and “father-in-law”. Matryoshka dolls will help the child figure out who is who in a large family. Take apart the nesting dolls, have the child give a name to each, and then compose a puzzle. For example: “We have a big matryoshka Masha in one family and another big Olya in another family. These nesting dolls are sisters. Masha has a daughter, Ira, and Olya has a son, Vova. Who do you think Ira and Vova are to each other? Who is Vova for Masha? Who is Olya for Ira? “

  1. Study the history of toys and the life of people in Russia

Why are there so many nesting dolls, why are they dressed that way (unusual for us), why are they made of wood? These questions are an occasion to discuss the life of peasants in Russia, to tell that at that time the families had many children, the child could have, for example, 8 brothers and sisters, but the jeans and sweatshirts we were used to. Women wore headscarves and long skirts, men wore shirts and caftans. To tell you that the favorite material of the peasants was wood, it was easy to find, it was easier to work with, it could not deteriorate for a long time, which is why houses, carts and toys were made of wood. Tell us in simple and accessible language about all this, show how it was expressed in nesting dolls, I am sure the children will be delighted with the immersion in the world of history!

  1. We study painting and Japanese nesting dolls

Together with the children, carefully examine and disassemble the patterns on the nesting dolls. How did the artist paint the berries or flowers? How did you paint your scarf or apron? Search the internet for pictures of other nesting dolls. Let the child analyze for himself how (what colors, what details) do they differ from each other? Compare the photographs of Sergiev Posad, Semenovsky, Vyatka, Polkhov and Tver matryoshkas. What features do each of them have? How are they all alike? Why does one nesting doll have a loaf in their hands, and the other has a balalaika? Find photographs of Japanese nesting dolls, compare them with Russian dolls, find differences and common features, and try to guess what are the reasons for the differences. This activity will help children develop critical thinking, analytical skills and teach how to prove and substantiate their point of view.

  1. Matryoshka dolls in mathematics

Here are examples of the simplest tasks that a future student can cope with:

Arrange the nesting dolls from largest to smallest and vice versa.

Give each matryoshka its own number in order. Show odd or even nesting dolls.

Make up a set (that is, find and select all matryoshka dolls by attribute) of boys nesting dolls, nesting dolls in kerchiefs, blue-eyed nesting dolls, nesting dolls with red on their clothes.

Find a nesting doll that belongs to both the blue-eyed team and the team where everyone has red on their clothes.

As you noticed, these tasks not only help to develop logical thinking and reaction speed, but also prepare the child for the topic “Sets and subsets”, train the skills of classifying objects, including numbers into even and odd (in this topic, many first graders have difficulties), teach to use the basic mathematical terms “decrease” and “increase”. It is necessary to train these skills every day, gradually accelerating and getting used to working within a limited time. But, you see, it’s much more fun to do it with nesting dolls.

  1. Nesting dolls to develop imagination and creative thinking

Take all the nesting dolls that you have, find on the Internet photos of the most beautiful ones that the child will like. And now the child (with the help of your prompts and leading questions) should try to come up with and tell a story with nesting dolls. But in this game, it is important to consider the following:

Each nesting doll in history must have a first and last name (if you want, you can also have a patronymic). It is advisable to use old Russian names such as Matryona, Evdokia, Euphrosinia, Vsevolod, Dobrynya).

It is necessary to at least briefly describe the appearance of each nesting doll (clothes, details, objects, facial features.

It is necessary to describe the character traits of each matryoshka (kind, hospitable, cheerful, sad, harmful).

Matryoshka dolls of different sizes should participate in the story: small, medium, and large. When we talk about a family of nesting dolls, we must indicate the type of their relationship (who, to whom, whom it belongs to).

There must be positive, negative and neutral characters in the story. It should also be clear where the main characters are, and where the secondary ones are.

There should be both the words of the author, and the thoughts of one hero, and the dialogue of the heroes.

Something has to happen to the characters, there has to be an active plot.

The narration should go according to the following plan: the beginning (introduction), the introduction of the characters, some actions of the event, the conflict (the main event that changes everything), the solution of the problem, the ending (the end).

First, think over an approximate plan of the story with the child, explain in simple words, disassemble and remember the types of heroes, types of kinship, ancient names, what dialogue and the words of the author are, what the plot should consist of, make a cheat sheet-draft of the future story. When the child tells, record the story on the recorder, then retype it, reread it with the child again, check if you have taken into account all the points, if there are any speech errors, discuss how you can correct mistakes or how to supplement the story.

This task develops imagination, creative and logical thinking, teaches to speak and prepares for writing essays, gives initial knowledge of literary theory, teaches you to work with different styles of text and with different types of speech. Imagine, practice and get ready for school with matryoshka dolls!


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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