Fairy tales, not necessarily in their scholarly definition, but allowing for a few other folktales and the occasional legend or myth, are the life's blood of childhood. Fairy tales give us a map for the journey of life, and if parents can see through the time-bound elements of societal values and lessons, they can help children to navigate the treacherous waters of learning to live as a human being with wisdom and courage.
That's a bit of a weighty introduction. Still with me? Of course you are. Here, then, are five of my favorite fairy tales to share with children who are stepping through the doorway from early childhood dreaminess into the open-eyed world of learning to know things for oneself. These stories are perfect for older five-year-olds right up to middle school, but six and seven might be the ultimate age for enjoyment.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorites. The websites these links take you to are worth exploring -- so many great stories to share with the kids in your life! Read aloud, or learn to tell them yourself in my upcoming Be a Storyteller ecourse! (details coming soon!)
And remember, when you come to something that makes you unsure about telling a particular story, whether it's a turn of phrase that rings false in your ear, or a character who meets an end that seems too harsh, take your time. If it's not the right story for you or for your listener, then just let it go, and find the story that's your Goldilocks moment -- Just Right!
Lately, as I work on my storytelling curriculum (it's proprietary to my client, but I can make you one if you want. :) ), I'm getting questions from the toddler teachers. Everyone knows that preschoolers love stories, but how do we bring storytelling to our smaller friends? Last week and the week before, I scoured the library for storytelling guides, and there is a TON of books available. Books from amazing storytellers and librarians, and books by teachers, and books of stories and books of tips...
How do you navigate all this information and really settle in with your story and your friends?
Here are three tips I've gleaned from amazing toddler teachers:
Toddlers love to spend special time with the grownups in their lives, and they thrive on routine, so make storytime part of your daily or weekly rhythm of activities! Have fun, and let your little friends be your guides.
Still struggling? Want to hear a story I made up in my car? My son wanted to hear a boy and cat story every night. It lasted almost 3 years, the nightly ritual of Boy and Cat, and I am so happy to share one of those stories with you. You might already have heard this one, but then again, maybe not. It's right behind that link at the top, or you can click here.
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.