Привет! I've come to russian in a roundabout way ... while looking for yiddish songs, I discovered that Youtube gives very different results depending upon search character set.
To make a long story short, I've been listening to a fair amount of russian music recently. As background for coding, it's nearly perfect, because I understand very little. When I have more inclination, videos usually show cultural details worth investigation. And finally, when I'm in a historical mood, there's a fair amount up from the 60's-70's-80's giving an idea of what life was like on the other side of the "iron curtain".
Because understanding too much would ruin my main use —as background music— I've been taking the opposite approach from
Geekfish to learning the language. Instead of explicitly learning it (as I have my other languages), I've been seeing how much I pick up by osmosis from song lyrics, image macros, and the occasional social network comment.
This approach may not help my language skills much, but it does give me much more sympathy for those who have picked up their english in a similar manner.
Re: дитя vs ребёнок ... my limited experience matches the Duolingo thread, in that ребята has the informal usage of "mates", « les gars » or "ragazzi". It then makes sense that дитя would be the plural to use when one wants to indicate actual chronological children, and not just adults who have grown old without growing up.
Geekfish's idea about learning through games is an interesting approach.
I've been leafing through the мир и человек soviet-era atlas every now and then, as the labels are about my reading level, while the body text is a big stretch.
But there's a russian version of TADS and a форум об interactive fiction so someone taking a more active approach might find some games over there. (and come to think of it, the usual complaint about IF —that playing "guess-the-verb" is no fun— may be a feature when it comes to language acquisition)
(One of these days I'll have the reading speed to follow the IM "convo" in Суходрочка, but for now I would bet it is almost completely in a register unlikely to be useful)
The following set of videos makes a nice series; they share a topic, but one can trace the development of the metaphor backwards through time, from digital meshes to analog plastics to wood and string. (one is unfortunately french, not russian, but there are many french loan words [eg, мираж] in the current russian vocabulary — and Медведица from Маша и Медведь sometimes also displays francophile tendencies)
Наталия Гулькина&Маргарита Суханкина Просто мираж France Gall - Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son (1965) Ленинград — Молитвенная
(I don't know how close the russian version of the story in the last is to the italian original; in at least this particular plot point it is much closer than the Disney anglophone version)
Супер ; I'll have to check out Geekfish's recommendation of « Операция "Ы" » sometime (if only to find out: why Ы?) Гайдай appears to have had a formidable influence on contemporary russian culture: I recognized Никулин in that poster from his role in « Бриллиантовая рука », another Гайдай film which I'd only tracked down after seeing no less than three different recent homages to a particular scene.
As for Шурик и Лида, they also have memorials in the 7th art as well as in sculpture; it didn't take much effort to find a recent remix:
Свадьба в стиле "Приключения Шурика"
cf a portion of the 1965 scene (старый Шурик ?) :
(might the replacement of the боксёр by a гопник be a tip of the hat to « Собачье сердце »?)
On a more physical level, Superdisktoteka 90-x had a short photo essay on playground games in the 90's.
I found it interesting that dodgeball,
Вышибалы, and four-square,
Квадрат, were some of the top choices in their survey.
Neither seem particularly useful for language acquisition on their own, but I must admit the sort of french I've learned over baby-foot games has been in a register I'd be unlikely to encounter in more pedagogically oriented contexts.
Maybe we can talk someone into setting up an international 4-square veterans' league?
As anglophone kids, we used to scrawl "WASH ME" on dirty car windows. It would appear that at least one russophone believes a dirty rear window may also be used to express high culture:
another cultural note: as mentioned in the music/movies stream, while Дискотека Авария's Новогодняя may be contrasted with as well as compared to western european traditions for Carnaval, Christmas, and New Year's; the choice of woodland creatures exactly maps to the population starring in Маша и Медведь ... which would imply that the odd creature in the former must be a hedgehog?
The 80's cartoon "Mother for a little mammoth" (~8 min) is deeper than it first appears: not only were the ancestors of Mammuthus primigenius to be found in eastern Africa (Mammuthus subplanifrons), but there's a very similar relation (both geographic and familial) between Australopithecus afarensis and Homo sapiens.
... also, despite being equally unsure of what Cheburashka may be, I'd still offer a paw were we to cross in the street!