Russian Nesting Dolls

Russian Matryoshka Nesting Dolls are very popular with our toddlers and preschoolers at Montessori Academy. Not only are they a beautiful part of Russian culture, they are also an incredibly useful teaching tool for exploring visual discrimination, the concepts of order and symmetry, differentiation of size, and developing fine motor skills.

Home Lesson One: Matching  

  1. Place the control page on your work space
  2. Lay out the cut-outs randomly below the control page 
  3. Scan the cut-outs for the ‘biggest’ and place the matching doll on the control sheet 
  4. Scan the remaining dolls and complete the activity a second time
  5. Invite your child to take a turn 
  6. Use the language “Biggest, Smaller, Smaller, Smaller, Smaller, Smallest” to describe the doll cut-outs once they are properly arranged
  7. You can also match the dolls beneath the control sheet 

Home Lesson Two: Visual Discrimination 

  1. Place the cut-outs randomly on your work space 
  2. Arrange the dolls from biggest to smallest from left to right 
  3. Invite your child to take a turn 
  4. For an extension you can also order the dolls from smallest to largest

Home Lesson Three: Comparative Language Cards

  1. Place the cut-outs in order from largest to smallest 
  2. Choose a sets of related language cards i.e Biggest, Smaller, Smallest 
  3. Match the language card to the cut-outs 
  4. For an extension, you can use more than one set of language cards, or  introduce opposite words such as tall and short 

Home Lesson Four: Counting Cards

  1. Lay out the nesting doll counting cards from smallest to largest and from top to bottom 
  2. Count the nesting dolls on each card aloud
  3. Invite your child to take a turn 
  4. Match the numeral counting cards to the nesting doll counting cards using the language “this is one, this says one” 
  5. Invite your child to continue the activity 
  6. You can match left to right or top to bottom 

Home Lesson Five: Counting Games

  1. Fan out your numeral counting cards with the number facing down 
  2. Invite your child to pick a card and lay it out on the work space 
  3. Invite your child to use the individual cut-out dolls to quantify the numeral on the card 

Downloadable Russian Matryoshka Resource Pack

  1. Control page 
  2. Cut-out page 
  3. Classification words 
  4. Visual counting cards 
  5. Numeral counting cards 
  6. Nesting Doll cut-outs
Download Resource Pack

Curriculum Area





Age Group

18 months and up 

Matching suitabled for younger children 

Language and mathematics activities recommended for children 2 years and up 



  • Develop visual discrimination and comparison by size
  • Develop comparative language 
  • Counting practice 
  • Identify and quantifying numerals


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