"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."
To some it may sound as an exaggeration but fairy tales can indeed teach children how to live happy and fulfilled lives maximizing their language, mathematic, dramatic, imagination and cultural awareness skills. Fairy tales can serve both as a means of entertainment as well as a way of supporting children's cognitive development.
Reading fairy tales is a wonderful experience for both the reader and the receiver of the story being told and the value of reading stories to children should not be underestimated. In a nutshell,
1. Fairy tales teach moral and lessons; e.g. ways to overcome hardships.
2. Fairy tales develop a child's imagination; as Albert Einstein stated, "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."
3. Fairy tales give us cultural literacy and canon; many stories are enjoyed around the world with slight variations.
4. Fairy tales teach a story; fairy tales are about the understanding of the basics of a story – the setting, plot, characters as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Once a story has been understood, the child's ability is supported to make predictions and comprehend other stories.
5. Fairy tales show kids how to handle problems; "Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." (G.K. Cherton).
6. Fairy tales build emotional resiliency; children can discover in a safe environment that bad things happen to everyone. They show in a fantastical scenario real life issues where most often the hero triumphs.