The Russian Games and Toys in My House
Childhood is a wonderful time in life for most of the kids. It’s the time when we learn a lot of new things, we play and explore. It creates lots of memories and a lot of them are of our games and toys. Every country has some toys that are typical only for it and are part of culture.
Today I will introduce you to some of the toys that the generations of our parents us, our children and/or grandchildren are playing that are typically Russian. Growing up in the Soviet Union we did not have the luxury of my kids in the US of having lots of toys. The selection was not large and the toys I had were something I cherished and lots of my favorite toys are stuck in my memory till this day.
There are nowadays lots of soft toys in Russia that represent the famous Soviet and Russian cartoon characters. I used to have a stuffed dog from one of the cartoons called Shaik. Here are some of my children’s favorites:
Cheburashka ( USSR) – he is a cartoon character from the famous Soviet Cartoon about him and crocodile Gena and their friends. There are also a variety of books with stories about them available in Russian and English.
Masha I Medved ( Russia) – themed like a Russian fairy tale: the little girl Masha befriends a bear who lives in the wood near her Medved and lots of funny stories ensure. She is a sharp cookie and a lot of mix of fairy tale and real life stories create a cartoon that both kids and adults enjoy.
Smeshariki (Russia) a group of friends all based on a round shapes live together and have fun together. The dialogue on this cartoon is for slightly older kids as younger ones will not truly get some of the fun in the situations.
Luntik (Russia) A purple creature falls from the Moon ( Luna in Russian) and gets to meet various creatures and becomes great friend with a grasshopper and lives with bees. Very short episodes ( 3 mins) are great for younger kids. Easy to follow dialogues with “lessons” learned in each one.
Lots of games are similar to what many countries have and might be called something different however are quite similar. My favourite ones were:
Kubiki – the blocks are common to lots of countries. I remember playing with them to build wonderful cities and mazes, there are also clocks that are similar to puzzles – each side has a piece of a picture and you can put together 6 different pictures from one set, they are also used to learn to read, not only there are cubes that just have one letter on them there is a whole system (Zaytzev system) that has block with syllables and some parents love using them to support their children on their quest to learn to read Russian.
Loto – it is a game similar to BINGO here in the US. You get cards and numbers are drawn out of a bag for every player to park the spot on their card with the number. Whoever covers the card first – wins.
Konstructor – with the current generations growing up with Lego I had to share the wonders of a traditional Konstruktor with my kids.
Ula – it’s a spinner that you get going by pushing a metal rod on top, once you release it – it continues twirling. Little kids love it but it actually requires a 4+ year a good amount of trial and error old to start it on their own.
Nevaliashka – a plastic toy that has a weight on the bottom and can never fall, it moves from side to side every time you want to put it down. It’s a doll that does not fall. Lots of designs are available these days.
Matreshka – one of the most famous dolls that are recognizable worldwide. A set of wooden(or nowadays sometimes plastic) dolls that hide inside each other. There are usually at least three in the cheaper versions but can be dozens of little dolls to a more complex set. It’s frequently called a Babushka dolls ( although the word Babushka in Russian just means grandma). This fun book presents an engaging story about Matreshka and how it came to be.