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Mermaids, fairies, magic, and talking animals are what come to mind when thinking of Fairy Tales. These tales are so much more than just stories. They can also be used to teach your children about values, such as kindness and endurance, as seen below, and are one of the best tools for intricate learning.
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10 Fascinating Fairy Tales For Children
Here are some short fairy tale stories to share with your children:
The story of Cinderella tells of a kindhearted young woman who was treated cruelly by her stepmother and sisters, but, never the less, kept a humble attitude.
One day, the king decided to throw a ball and invited all the young maidens in the kingdom. While Cinderella’s sisters made her help them get ready for the ball, not once did they ask her if she would like to go with them.
Once they left, her Fairy Godmother appeared and helped Cinderella go to the ball with a bit of magic that would only last until midnight. At the ball, Cinderella caught the eye of the prince, as she was the most beautiful girl there, and they danced all night.
When midnight came, Cinderella had to leave the ball, and in her hurry, one of her glass slippers fell off her feet. The prince found this slipper and vowed to marry the girl who the slipper belonged to.
The prince went from house to house, looking for the girl who’s foot fit the slipper, and he reached Cinderella’s house. Though Cinderella’s stepsisters and stepmother tried to keep her from trying it on, the glass slipper was a perfect fit, and she was soon married to the prince and lived happily ever after.
This is a wonderful story that captures how keeping a humble attitude will reap its rewards.
2. Beauty and the Beast
Originating in France, this is the story of Belle, a beautiful peasant girl who took the place of her father, when he was taken prisoner by a fierce beast.
While things were uncomfortable and frightening for Belle at first, she soon grew fond of the beast, as he had done nothing but treat her with kindness. When Belle found out her father was sick, she begged the beast to let her go to him and promised to return, but she was held up by the evil Gaston, a famous hunter from the village who wanted to marry Belle. When the village found out about the beast, they vowed to kill him and stormed his castle. Though he nearly died, he was saved and turned into a handsome prince because of Belle’s love for him. It turns out that he had been a prince who, along with his entire household, was cursed by a witch because he did not treat her with kindness. Belle and the Prince marry, and live a happy and peaceful life together.
From the prince’s curse, children can learn about the importance of being kind and that if they do not, they will suffer bad consequences. From Belle, we learn to value what is in a person’s heart, rather than their outward appearance.
3. Sleeping Beauty
This is the story of Princess Aurora, the much-awaited daughter of the king and queen, who was cursed by an evil witch, to die by the prick from the spindle of a spinning wheel because her parents did not invite the fairy to her Christening.
Fortunately, one of the good fairies who had been invited to the Christening was able to help. Though the princess would still have to be pricked, she would not die, but sleep for a hundred years. She was blessed by the other good fairies, and so grew up to be a beautiful, kind and obedient young girl who was often called Briar Rose.
As predicted, on her sixteenth birthday, Aurora was pricked on her finger by a spinning wheel and fell into a deep sleep, along with every man, woman, child and animal in the castle.
A hundred years later, a young prince tried to get to the castle, in order to see the famous beauty that had been asleep for so long. When he found her, he was stunned by her beauty and leaned in for a kiss. This broke the curse, and soon everyone in the castle was awoken from their long, hundred year sleep. The prince and princess were married, and the kingdom was happy and peaceful once again.
Sleeping beauty teaches us that even though evil can sometimes interrupt our lives, when good intervenes, it can soften the blow and eventually, evil will be overcome.
A poor couple got themselves into big trouble when they stole fruit from their neighbour’s garden The neighbour, who was a witch, found out about the theft and demanded that they give her their child when she was born, to which the couple accepted.
The young girl, named Rapunzel by the witch, grew up to be very beautiful, but was kept locked away in the tower by the wicked witch, from which there was no way in or out. When the witch wanted to go in and see her, she would say “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I might climb the golden stair.”
One day, when Rapunzel was singing to pass the time, she happened to catch the attention of a young prince, who was so enchanted by her voice that he learned the secret of how to get to her. While Rapunzel was startled by him at first, they soon fell in love. It so happened that Rapunzel accidentally told the witch, “My, you are much heavier than my prince!” after which the witch, infuriated, chopped off her hair and threw her out into the wilderness. The prince was blinded by thorns and roamed the land, lamenting his beloved Rapunzel.
When they found each other again, the prince being lured by a beautiful voice, they cried for joy, and the tears which fell from Rapunzel’s eyes went into the prince’s, and cleansed them, enabling him to see again. The two lived together in peace for the rest of their lives.
The important thing to take away from this story is that one should never steal because it can have bad consequences, as in the case of Rapunzel’s parents, who lost their beautiful daughter because they were greedy and stole fruits.
5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
A fair princess indeed, Snow White was named for the colour of her skin, which was white as snow, hair as black as ebony, and lips as red as a rose. Her father, having lost his wife, married again, and this new queen was as beautiful as she was proud. She would often consult her mirror and ask “Mirror Mirror, on the wall; Who is the fairest of them all?”
As Snow White began to grow, she became more and more beautiful, and the queen’s magic mirror soon began to say so. Enraged and filled with jealousy, the queen sent a huntsman to kill Snow White and bring her her heart.
The Huntsman, pitying the innocent Snow White, told her to run away and never come back. He, instead, delivered to the queen the heart of a pig. When the queen consulted her mirror and found that she had been tricked, she determined to kill Snow White herself and so began to prepare her poisoned apple.
Snow White, in the meantime, found a place with seven dwarfs, whom she lived with and cared for. One day, when they were at work in the mines, the queen went to see Snow White, disguised as an old peasant woman selling apples. Snow White was convinced to take a bite out of the apple and instantly fell down, as if dead. When the dwarfs found her, they were distraught and laid her in a glass coffin.
One day, as a prince was passing by, he noticed the dwarfs mourning over a beautiful sleeping girl (for she remained as beautiful as she ever was) and was mesmerised by her beauty. He kissed her hand to bid her farewell, and at that moment, the apple dislodged itself, and Snow White opened her eyes. The prince was so happy that he asked for her hand in marriage and she accepted. There was a grand celebration, and they lived and reigned happily together. The evil queen became sick from her envy and eventually died.
We must always remember, from the fate of the queen, that if you lust after physical beauty, you will, indeed lose your peace, and be quite unhappy when you are not considered the most beautiful. On the contrary, kindness and gentleness win the hearts of many.
6. The Little Mermaid
In the underwater kingdom of Atlantica, the home of the mer-people, lived a little mermaid who loved nothing more than to look at things on the surface and observe how the humans lived. She longed to be human, and when she ended up rescuing a handsome prince from drowning, she decided that she must become human at any cost, as she wanted to be with him. This led her to visit a sea witch who asked the mermaid to sacrifice her voice, in exchange for human legs, on the condition that the mermaid would return as a slave if the prince did not marry her. The mermaid then went to her prince, but faced a series of challenges, ranging from the prince not recognising her to other suitors coming forward to marry him. However, at the end, both, the mermaid and prince reunite, defeating the witch and living happily ever after.
Children can learn about being brave enough to step into a life that is different from yours in order to get what your heart longs for.
7. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
This one is sure to teach your children to be mindful and respectful of others, as it tells of a curious little girl called Goldilocks, who trespassed on the property of a family of three bears, who had gone out into the woods while their porridge cooled. She had been lost in the woods when she stumbled upon the cottage, and noticed through the window, that there were three bowls of porridge on the table and that there was nobody home. If she had been more respectful, she would have waited for the bears to come home, but, instead, she let her curiosity get the better of her, and let herself into the house. In fact, not only does Goldilocks trespass, but she also ate baby bear’s porridge, broke his chair, and slept in his bed. When they found her, she woke up and was so frightened by them that she jumped out the window and ran away.
Had Goldilocks been more respectful, the bears would have treated her with kindness, and she would have made new friends. Instead, she did not respect other’s space.
8. The Princess and the Pea
There was once a prince who was determined to only marry a princess. Though he travelled far and wide to seek eligible princesses, he could never make out if they were real princesses or just saying so. One stormy night, he and his mother were at home, when they heard a knock on the door. The prince opened the door, and there stood a girl, drenched, asking to seek shelter. His mother decided to test if she was indeed a princess. She kept a pea under 10 mattresses, asking the princess to sleep there. The next morning, the princess woke up complaining that the mattresses had been uncomfortable and she couldn’t sleep all night. Instantly, they knew this girl was indeed a princess, for how else would she have been so sensitive to feel the pea under the mattresses? Hence, the prince and princess got married and lived happily ever after.
Children can learn the value of unique thinking, as only a creative mind could come up with the ingenious test of the ‘pea’ to determine if the girl was truly a princess.
9. The Ugly Duckling
This heart-warming tale, penned by Hans Christian Anderson, tells of a little duckling that was called ugly by everyone at the farm where he lived. He was bullied and mistreated by everyone, until one day he was forced to run away. The miserable little duckling was mocked and scorned by everyone who met him, and found himself wandering through the frozen winter, alone and barely managing to survive. When he flew to a lake to swim, he met three beautiful swans who greeted him cheerfully. He was confused by their friendly greeting, for all this time he had been chased away. When he looked down at his reflection in the water, he was surprised to see that he had grown into a beautiful swan! A little girl who was throwing breadcrumbs for the noble swans even said that he was the most beautiful of all.
We should never judge others by their appearances because it is not appearances that matter. Not only can one develop beauty over time, but true beauty is that which lies within, so if we endure and keep moving forward in life, as the little duckling did, then we may, one day, find ourselves to be considered the most beautiful of all.
10. The Frog Prince
There was once a king who had beautiful daughters. The youngest often liked to play with a golden ball near a pond, in the middle of a forest near the palace. One day, her ball fell into the pond, and it was much too deep for the princess to get, but she was given help by a kind frog who told her that her tears would even melt the stones. He told her that he would get her ball for her, if she allowed him to be her playmate and eat from her plate, drink from her cup and stay with her. She agreed, but she did not keep her word when the frog returned her ball to her. Instead, she ran home and left him behind.
The next morning the frog showed up at her home, and he asked that she, please keep her end of the bargain. The king, upon hearing what happened, ordered his beloved daughter to keep her promise. So, she was forced to allow the frog to eat from her plate, drink from her cup and stay with her.
The morning after, the frog told the princess that he would leave her forever if she did one last thing for him, which was to give him a kiss. She, being glad to be rid of him, agreed and kissed him immediately. At once, the frog turned into a handsome young prince. He had been cursed, and the only thing that could break the curse was the kiss of a princess.
Another lesson in not judging anyone by their appearance, this story also has the added benefit of teaching your children that it benefits to keep your promises.
Benefits of Fairy Tales for Your Child
Here are some of the benefits of fairy tales for your children:
1. Fuels Imagination
Fairy tales help to fuel the imagination of children, as it takes them into another world that is so different from ours, where there are, fairies, mermaids and magic.
2. Enhances Understanding of the Abstract
An abstract concept is the concept of an idea or thought,. For example, the concept of free will is an abstract concept. It is because these fairy tales most often involve things that do not happen in reality, it helps children learn to understand the concepts of things that are not concrete.
3. Teaches Values
We can see from the actions of the antagonists, that wickedness, pride, and greed all have their consequences. Goldilocks is a good example of why we should have respect for others. In fairy tales, the concept of good conquers evil is prevalent and one worth holding on to.
4. Solving Problems
Most of the characters will go through something, and it is their quick thinking and ingenuity that helps them to prevail. Young children need to learn this, as they will also follow these examples and learn how to solve problems.
5. Introduces Psychological Understanding
When reading the stories out to your children, you can always engage with them and ask them why they think certain people behave the way they do. For example, in beauty and the beast, we see that the beast was cursed for being cruel, but later, he was transformed into a handsome prince. Your children can have a good mental work out, discussing what changes in his character enabled Belle to develop feelings for him and eventually break the curse.
6. Fuels Incidental Learning
Your child will learn new words, phrases, and other aspects of life as he/she reads the fairy tales. This is a form of incidental learning, which is when people learn without actually intending to learn anything. For example, when reading about the ugly duckling, one is introduced to the life of animals and learns about how swans migrate every winter, even though that was not the aim of reading the story.
8. Exposes the Harsh Realities of Life
Children often learn through fairy tales that the world is not such a beautiful and wonderful place, and that in order to do the right thing and be a good person, you need to be able to endure and keep a good attitude. Any parent would rather their child learn the reality of good and evil from stories, so that they can be strong when they experience difficult situations in their own lives.
9. Imbibes Cultural Literacy
Children are introduced to various cultures and lifestyles in different stories, as the authors would have been from different places and have different cultures and traditions. The Beauty and the Beast are French, while Hansel and Gretel are German.
As you read stories to your child, his/her listening and linguistic skills develop better and faster. Added to that is enriched vocabulary from an early age! These enthralling stories are perfect for ever-curious, word smart-oriented kids. To know more on other ‘smarts’ of your child, get FirstCry Intellikit – active learning for little ones.
Reading fairy tales to or with your kids is one of the best gifts you can give them, the earlier you start, the more likely it is that the habit will stick.
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