nesting-dollIn my last post I mentioned that nesting is hitting me hard these days. Little did I know that I was about to be hit hard by nesting in an entirely different sort of way…hit hard by a nesting doll, that is. Yep, you heard that right. Smacked me right in my open eye and left me with a doozy of a corneal abrasion (not fun, incidentally). The whole episode was purely a freak accident that I do not hope to repeat. Ever again. Suffice it to say the next time I’m trying to convince Alice to lay down for her nap I WON’T be bringing any hard objects into the…I mean, circus tent.

Well, you know what they say about lemons. When life hands them to you…make yourself a batch of lemon bars because they’re soooooo much better than lemonade. My version of  “lemon bars” after this whole ridiculous event turned out to be that I couldn’t stop thinking about nesting dolls and, along with that, writing this blog post.

The whole reason my eye got scratched to kingdom come in the first place is that Alice is nuts about my old nesting doll from childhood, and I remember loving it back then just as much as Alice does now–although I probably cared a whole lot more about lining up the designs on each doll perfectly. Go figure.

The point here? Kids really do love these dolls, which makes them not only cute for displaying on a shelf but a really awesome educational (and fun when they aren’t in your eye!) tool.

Learning with Nesting Dolls

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A few ways you could use nesting dolls for learning:

  1. Counting: Count them one by one as you take out each doll and line them up. Add them. You could also subtract together as you put away each doll inside the other!
  2. Increasing fine motor skills: Probably the most obvious educational purpose for nesting dolls, it takes coordination to take them apart and put them back together. There’s a lot of critical thinking that goes into this, too.
  3. Sorting: Line up the dolls from tallest to smallest or vice versa. Bonus: you are naturally teaching vocabulary like “smaller” and “larger” as you do! Some nesting dolls have different patterns and colors so see if you can sort them by these qualities as well.
  4. Imaginative play: Just pretend and make up stories involving your nesting dolls. “Miss Doll,” as we call ours–I know what you’re thinking and it’s that we’re insanely creative with names around here–receives regular invitations to tea, for example.

What’s Out There for Nesting Dolls

All this “making of lemon bars” led me to taking my ideas one step further as I got pumped up about getting a nesting doll for the baby, and maybe even a new one for Alice at some point. I couldn’t resist checking out what’s available online these days, and may I say I am amazed by how many different styles and options are out there! So, I’m sharing some of my absolute favorite finds for the little ones in your life.

Keep in mind that many nesting dolls could pose a choking hazard to children under three, so it probably goes without saying that you should always supervise your littlest ones during play! Or, you could do what I did and put away the smallest doll until your child gets older. Happy playing!

  1. Robot Micro Matryoshka

These robot nesting dolls available at Fat Brain Toys would be so much fun to sort!

2. Oceanic Nesting DollsI can’t say enough about how much I love these ocean-inspired dolls from Land of Nod. These might end up being my choice for the new baby!

3. Cutie Matryoshkas

The name says it best: total cutie. Nice that there are SIX of these cutie matryoshkas in the set, just like the robot set above. More to count, sort, and play!

4. Star Wars Nesting DollsFrom my days as an elementary school librarian I can tell you honestly that I know an insane number of older children who would go coo-coo crazy over these Star Wars-themed dolls. Bring on the imaginative play!

5. Create Your Own Russian Nesting DollsThese are actually one of my favorite options because–hello–they add an extra educational element: art! Plus, what creative-minded person wouldn’t want to design their own nesting dolls? I know one artistically inclined person who would love these for sure! See exhibit A below…


If you are looking for some fine choices for nesting dolls, any of these would be fantastic options. Keep in mind there are hundreds of other seriously cool variations of these toys out there. I found all of these simply by searching Pinterest!

Okay, now I’m officially chomping at the bit to pick out and order one of these beauties for our soon-to-arrive bambino. Oh, and by the way my eye is all healed now, thank goodness! I’ll just have to watch out for that Miss Doll and her wild antics from now on.

Until next time! Ciao, babe!


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