Russian nesting dolls are simple, yet fun to play with. Most sets come with at least four different dolls, which are painted nearly identically and which nest inside one another. Children of all ages seem to be as mesmerized by these dolls today as they were hundreds of years ago. But in addition to letting your child play with the Russian nesting dolls, you can also use the dolls as a teaching tool. Here are a few specific ways you can use them to help your child learn.
Teach about size terminology.
This exercise can be really helpful for toddlers and preschoolers. You can not only teach the concept of big versus small, but also some of the terminology surrounding it.
Start with all of the Russian dolls separate from one another, but with their tops and bottoms together. Talk to your child about which one is the largest, and which one is the smallest. Talk also about the words small, medium, and large. Come up with synonyms for these words, too. Talk about how the small doll could also be called tiny or petite. Talk about how the large doll could also be called big or tall.
Another exercise in this realm is to have your child put the dolls in order from smallest to largest, and then largest to smallest. Not only will your child be learning about size order, but they'll be learning to follow instructions.
Teach fine motor skills.
You may think nothing of taking the tops off the dolls, but that's because when you were younger, you learned and developed your fine motor skills. Your child needs to do the same, and Russian nesting dolls can help.
Start with all of the dolls taken apart, but with the bottoms and tops paired together. Have your child put the dolls together, one by one, starting with the largest. The largest doll is usually the easiest to put together. Let your child keep practicing until they're able to put together and take apart even the smallest doll.
You can make this game more complicated for slightly older kids. Take apart the dolls, and mix all of the pieces together so your child has to sort through them and determine which ones match.
Russian nesting dolls can be a fantastic teaching tool. Turn to the activities above to help your child learn the concepts of size while also developing their fine motor skills.