Igniting Mental Ability: 7 Magical Ways Your Mind Is Improved By Fantasy Stories

Diving into fantasy stories is a transformative experience for young minds.
Empower your mind through Fantasy Stories!
Empower your mind through Fantasy Stories!

Embarking on an adventure through the realms of fantasy fiction can be a transformative journey for young minds. Even though some very imaginative stories might be hard for little kids, it’s pretty amazing how well they can tell what’s pretend. Lots of studies have shown that getting kids into the magical world of fantasy has tons of good things to offer. From honing cognitive skills to expanding vocabulary, the advantages are boundless.

As a dedicated mom of three and a lifelong lover of magical stories, I felt the influence of many types of fantasy stories on my journey from a young age. From my early school days, I’ve embarked on countless adventures through enchanting tales, gaining priceless wisdom alongside my bookish friends. These stories evolved beyond mere words; they served as companions through various situations, providing a secure space to navigate complex feelings. Weeks of thorough research have armed me with deep insights into the significant effect of fantasy stories on young minds. I’m excited to pass along these discoveries, in the hopes that they can bring you and your children a realm of awe and development.

1 – Fantasy Stories Help Build Smart Thinkers
2 – Kids often recognize what is fiction in cartoons and what is real
3 – Thinking Critically about Religious Stories
4 – Adults Have Strong Influence In Shaping Beliefs
5 – Fear And Fantasy – Understanding What Is Real
6 – Children Can Learn About Big Concepts and Emotions in a Safe Way
7 – Fantasy Stories vs. Fantasy Television

1 – Fantasy Stories Help Build Smart Thinkers

Preschoolers, with their growing minds and endless curiosity, see the world in a special way. They tend to question things that seem unlikely or not possible. Studies led by respected researchers like Shtluman and Carey have shown this natural tendency. In their tests, preschoolers were really good at telling what could happen and what was just pretend. They proved to have a sharp understanding of what’s real and what’s make-believe.

2 – Kids often recognize what is fiction in cartoons and what is real

The animated world, full of vibrant colors and playful characters, is like an exciting playground for young minds. It’s a place where things that could happen in real life mix with the magical and extraordinary, giving children a fun mix of what’s real and what’s make-believe. Studies led by Hui Li and other researchers show that even four-year-olds are really good at understanding the fantastical parts of cartoons. This practical way of looking at fantasy things helps them develop important thinking and decision-making skills that will be useful as they grow up.

3 – Thinking Critically about Religious Stories

Religious stories, filled with amazing events and the hand of the divine, offer another way for young minds to explore the world of fantasy. It’s interesting to see that kids from Christian families, as studied by Wooley and Cox, often approach these stories with a careful eye. This skepticism, which comes from a desire to understand, leads to deep thinking and sets the stage for a variety of belief systems to grow and develop.

4 – Adults Have Strong Influence In Shaping Beliefs

As parents, caregivers, and educators, we hold a significant sway in how a child sees the world of fantasy. Studies by experts like Subbotsky show that when we offer proof or use our trustworthiness, we can help children believe in fantastic ideas. This highlights how vital our role is in leading them through the magical world of fantasy.

5 – Fear And Fantasy – Understanding What Is Real 

When we were small children, trying to get to sleep, a creaking floorboard was really spooky. Who or what could be making the noise? The only way to make sense of the experience, for which there was no “certain” answer, was to fantasize: there’s a pirate or a burglar, or more probably a crocodile under the bed.

Children scare themselves silly like this, but while they have no knowledge of central heating pipes swelling, they have to engage with make-believe to bridge the gap between experience and knowledge. As time passes and children learn about the effect of heat on pipes and floorboards, they will often prefer the crocodile theory. Fear, within a safe context, is fun.

6 – Children Can Learn About Big Concepts and Emotions in a Safe Way

Children come into the world with a whole range of feelings – they’re lively, thrilling, and filled with passion and energy. Sometimes, they can be a bit wild and not always logical, but that’s all part of the adventure. Yet, they’re also new to everything and eager to understand their emotions. That’s why a little bit of fear, in a make-believe world, can be a great way for them to learn. After all, actually going out to find real crocodiles to play with wouldn’t be very safe or practical.

Fantasy lets kids practice exploring a world that might seem too big, too wide, and too scary, especially as they grow older and it becomes more real. And remember, fantasy isn’t just about dungeons and dragons – it can be any kind of pretend play. That’s why, as kids grow, they benefit from stories about things like divorce, loss, war, falling in love, becoming a hero, and saving the day.

These stories give their feelings a kind of setting, like a stage, where they can wake up and get ready for “real life” when it comes their way.

7 – Fantasy Stories vs. Fantasy Television

Executive functions are like the brain’s control center, helping us manage ourselves. They let us stop ourselves from acting on impulses, stay focused, and remember things we need while we work. They also let us switch gears when we need to change how we’re doing something.

Studies found that when preschoolers (between 4 and 6 years old) watched such shows, they didn’t do as well on tasks that tested these brain functions right after (Lillard et al 2015; Li et al 2020; Rhodes et al 2020; Fan et al 2021). 

Yet, when grown-ups read a fantasy story to the kids, it didn’t have the same effect (Lilliard et al 2015). And when kids were playing pretend in a fantasy world, it didn’t mess with their brain functions either. In fact, it seemed to help. For 7-year-olds, watching fantasy cartoons didn’t seem to make a difference in how well they did on these tasks (Fan et al 2021). 

It seems that children under 6 years old might have a harder time keeping track of all the surprising, not-real things that happen in these cartoons. It’s like trying to juggle too many balls at once, and it might leave them with fewer mental resources for other tasks that need good focus and control right after watching.

Bringing it all together: Embrace the Magic of Fantasy

Fantasy plays a vital role in childhood, serving as a gateway to creativity, a path to understanding, and a wellspring of happiness. As parents, we hold the special duty of fostering this connection. When we welcome the enchantment of fantasy stories into our children’s lives, we empower them to embark on a lifelong adventure of discovery, creativity, and self-improvement. 

Let’s acknowledge their natural right to this imaginative world and rejoice in the amazing realms waiting within the pages of fantastical stories. By doing so, we offer them not only tales but also the means to unlock their own limitless potential.

~ Renee

A comprehensive guide to 5 0 spellbinding fantasy subgenres
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