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In a recent conversation with a parent, they dismissed the role of folk stories for kids shared by grandmothers. They called them stories by Dadis and Nanis that didn’t have the quality. Folk stories across the world usually get told through oral storytelling traditions within families. These stories are often employed as ways to share culture, traditions, and positive moral traits.

This work is often played by women in families. So, before we dismiss them, here are some reasons and ways in which we can use them to engage kids!

Attend our folk storytime

For kids aged 6+. FREE for Maker Box Members.

What are folk stories?

Folklore and folk stories are often shared orally and used to pass on cultural knowledge. They may include songs, riddles, proverbs, anecdotes, myths, legends, epics, fairytales, fables, proverbs, riddles, jokes, nursery rhymes, prayers, and more. With oral transmission, they are not dependent on literacy, and are shared by people across educational lines.

What is the role of folk stories for kids and in our larger cultures?

Folk stories often validate and shape cultural experiences. As per UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, folktales play an invaluable role, along with other traditions, in bringing people closer together. They ensure there is shared understanding between a group of people.

Folks and myths explain the why of our human experiences. In understanding the myths of people, we understand them. They educate, entertain, and

Why do we need to keep folk stories for kids alive?

Here are four things folk stories help with:

  1. Folktales enhance imagination– Folk stories with their talking animals, magnificent palaces, princesses and more build imagination. These stories talk of ordinary characters who experience something magical. It is a place where a child can think of the impossible.
  2. Folktales evolve: Like culture, folk stories do not stay stagnant but they are modified or retold with cultural contexts. This makes them relevant in today’s time.
  3. Folktales teach values implicitly: Most folk stories have a good moral and stories where goodness wins. You don’t need to teach it, but you get to show it, through an engaging story.
  4. Folktales represent children’s literary heritage: With songs, rhythmic sounds, alliterations, and ample magic, children develop love for language and storytelling.
Parenting Advice: Why do we need to keep folk stories for kids alive?

How do we connect folk to modern values and living?

Folk stories can teach kids a variety of values that are easier to communicate when we use the structure of a story. They can lay the basis and strong foundation for the future.

If exposed to stories at a young age, children can develop love for reading. This can further develop reading skills. Stories enhance cognitive empathy by learning about new ways of doing things, or about new cultures. Children also learn to appreciate their own roots. With embedded moral values, they can learn about decision making, especially when there are different paths in a story.

Stories are a way to connect the past with the future. Culture is forever changing, so we also need to give ourselves the flexibility of making stories adaptable. Gendered references, excessive violence, or any other aspects that we feel are not appropriate can be altered. It doesn’t usually change the ethos or the greater learning in a story. Of course, as children grow, they can make these choices for themselves, and have the ability to question what doesn’t work. Stories and myths serve as a compass to every new generation. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t accommodate for their own fresh contexts.

As with most things, the wisdom of grandmothers, and women is often discounted. So, it’s important to think more deeply on this before making the assumptions that some stories are not as valuable. After all, where you are from is who you truly are.

Have a listen to Peerbagh’s folk stories that are released each month as audio stories for kids here. We also run a monthly StoryTime online for kids each fourth Saturday of the month. Attend the next one, here.