While we were in Russia, Matilda amassed a small collection of Russian dolls. These toys are fantastic, and two in particular are so great, they are worth writing about.
The first is your standard Russian toy doll – the Matryoshka doll. This is the wooden nesting doll that everyone associates with Russia. I have purchased a variety of these before, both for decoration and as gifts, and our hotel gave Matilda her very own doll for playing with.
According to Wikipedia, the name Matryoshka means “little maiden”, and these dolls were first invented in 1890. There is speculation that the original nesting dolls were inspired by a round, hollow doll from Japan.
Matilda loves her Matryoshka doll, and her attempts to stack, put together and pull apart the dolls are building great motor skills. However, she keeps trying to eat the smallest member of the family. 🙄
The other amazing doll Matilda received, this time from a colleague of mine, is Cheburashka. This doll is very special to Russia and can only be purchased there.
Cheburashka is a confusing little animal, who originates from a 1966 Soviet children’s story. In the story, Cheburashka is apparently “unknown to science” because he looks like both a monkey and a bear. According to the story, he gets into a crate of oranges and eats so much that he falls asleep. Next thing he knows, he wakes up inside of a grocery story in Moscow.
This doll plays music and talks, so Matilda is already practicing her Russian. 🙂 She loves the doll so much, that she dances along with his song.