The first image that may come to mind when someone mentions trolls is probably a small plastic figurine with a shock of bright hair, large eyes, and a bejeweled belly button. These Danish troll dolls were the US’ biggest toy fad in the 1960s and then again in the 1990s (you may remember them fondly from your childhood).

Trolls are now in our movie theaters—DreamWorks recently released a colorful Trolls movie—or perhaps you are more familiar with trolls as mystical healers from the movie, Frozen.

When my children see any moss-covered rock, they point and yell, “Trolls!” because trolls turn into rocks when the sun comes out. (You can add that to your list of random troll facts and impress your kids.)

Whatever your familiarity with trolls may be, you probably haven’t given them much thought to these cute but often inconsequential characters.

However, with a bit of strategy, imagination, and storytelling, trolls can do so much more for you as a parent than sit on a shelf and collect dust.

Trolls have the power to teach our children valuable lessons about empathy, kindness, and perseverance.

Put down your bedazzled belly button troll and take note from the Scandinavian parents who have been putting trolls to work for hundreds of years.



Do you remember the story Three Billy Goats Gruff from your childhood? There are even more trolls to add to your bookshelf to help teach your children valuable life lessons.

Read more about the wonderful ways Scandinavian parents use trolls to instill strong values in their children here.


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