We all grew up with fairy tales, from Little Red Riding Hood to Jack and the Beanstalk to Hansel and Gretel. These stories are a core part of our collective childhoods and play an essential role in our personal and emotional development. As the genius Einstein once said:
‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’ –Albert Einstein
Fairy tales are universal – we all resonate with them, and though different cultures may tell different stories, they all deal with similar themes. Children can playfully explore their imagination and improve their work using fairy tale writing prompts.
Fairy tales are magical, fantastical, and surreal, and these qualities make them great for children to explore and understand the world around them. The best fairy tales teach children about moral dilemmas, right and wrong action, conflict resolution, and consequences of actions.
Not only are fairy tales important for children to read, but they also offer an excellent opportunity to improve a child’s writing skills and imagination.
If you’re a parent and want to help your children start writing, or you’re a teacher, and you’re looking for creative writing exercises for your students, check out the list of fairy tale writing prompts we’ve created below.
These ideas and prompts make for great writing activities for children and parents who want to become active players in their child’s education.
Fairy tale writing prompts and story ideas
Taking a classic story and writing it from a different perspective, such as that of the villain in the story, helps children practice and develop empathy and understanding.
Try the following perspective shifts to help you get started writing:
- You’re Maleficent (the witch) in Sleeping Beauty. Write about the story’s events from the witch’s point of view. Why did you poison Aurora?
- Write about a day in the life of the Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. You live in the woods and are just trying to get by each day, but humans keep upsetting the peace and harmony of your environment. Write about your experience with humans in general and why Little Red Riding Hood is the last straw.
- You are the Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk. All you want to do is live a peaceful life in your castle in the sky; not too much to ask for, right? How do you feel when the young boy Jack sneaks your way into your home? Write about the day you find Jack in your house.
- Take the classic story of Hansel and Gretel. Imagine that you and your brother, sister, or best friend are the two main characters in the story. How will you find your way out of the woods? Do you think you will go to the gingerbread house? Or will you avoid it? If you enter the house, how do you get out safely?
- Remember the three wicked sisters in the Cinderella story? Take the point of view of one of the sisters after the events of the original story. You were mean to her when you both were younger, but now the years have passed, and she still won’t forgive you. Explain to your sister Cinderella that you’ve changed, that you see how to mean you were and that you’d like to be a good sister to her again.
Fairy tale story starters
Grab any of the following fairy tale ideas to start your own story.
A princess gets kidnapped on a journey outside the castle walls. The kidnappers are three goblins. Write a story about their adventure. Where do the goblins take the princess? And how does the princess convince the goblins to return her to her family?
The Prince’s Dinner
The young prince has fallen ill. Worried and frightened, the King and Queen send people far and wide to find a medicine man and heal their son. One of the King’s men locates a Shaman who can heal the prince with a magical soup. Write about the Shaman’s work as he hunts for ingredients and prepares the recipe.
Deep in the forest lives a witch. Everyone says the witch is evil, but that’s not true. In the past, the witch has cast spells and curses on people who have attempted to poison and destroy the forest, her magical home. Write a story about a day in the life of the forest witch.
Love from a distance
A young stable boy is a hard worker. Day in, day out, he works on the farm. From a distance, he can see the window to the princess’s room. They often see each other but never speak. One day, overcome with romance and curiosity, the prince attempts to climb the castle walls and speak to the princess. Write about his attempt. Is he successful? Or does someone notice and try to stop him?
A writing style that combines the elements of the real world with the supernatural world is known as magical realism.
Night time adventure
One night when you go to bed, you see the light outside your window. It’s a flying fairy, and she wants to take you on an adventure. Where do you go? Are you frightened at first? What happens on your adventure? Do you get home in time for school the following morning?
On your 15th birthday, you discover that you’re a witch/wizard. Write about the moment you found out your powers. How did you discover them? Did someone tell you, or did you find out by accident?
Your family has planned a weekend camping trip. You camp in a vast, dense forest. Late at night, as the fire starts to die and everyone gets to sleep, you notice something in the distance through the trees. Curious, you follow the small movement of light. Far from the campsite, you see a dancing pattern of lights in a clearing. Before you know it, you’re in the middle of the dance. What happens next?
Due to a global pandemic, a tailor out of work needs to make a living. As the pandemic fear fades away and things return to normal, she must find a way of restoring her income. Deep in the basement of her shop lies an old, dusty book of spells, something she always dismissed as a children’s book. Desperate to boost her income and get her shop back up and running, she uses one of the spells in the book. The problem is that each spell comes with consequences. What happens to the customers who wear the tailor’s clothes?
One word fairy tale prompts
Sometimes all you need is one word for inspiration. Each literary genre features a common word bank – words regularly used throughout a genre, found in most stories within it.
For example, ‘enchanted,’ ‘kingdom,’ and ‘dragon’ are commonly used terms in the fantasy genre. ‘Artificial intelligence, ‘aliens’, and ‘dimensions’ are popular in the sci-fi genre.
Below we’ve included a list of common words and terms found throughout and about the fairy tale genre. Use these words as one-word prompts for a story.
- Prince charming
- Snow Queen
- Gingerbread man
The words above are most commonly found in fairy tale stories. If you want to write your own stories:
- Take inspiration from these words.
- Read through the list and let each word be for a moment.
- Watch as your mind conjures up images and associations. You may come up with brand new story ideas or remember existing stories, but you can use that insight to start writing.
Everyone’s writing process is different. Some people take inspiration from one-word prompts, while others prefer a definite opening or outline.
Some begin story writing by fleshing out the main character, while others focus on different story elements first, such as setting, plot, or themes.
Whatever process you take, fairy tale writing prompts can ignite the writer in you.