When we started the line of Five Enchanted Mermaids books and gifts back in late 2018, we wanted a vehicle which would embrace diversity and provide an approach to showcase this to children, as well as to help parents teach them the social and emotional skills that would guide them through their lives. We found at the time that little girls (and boys too) love mermaids and thus the Five Enchanted Mermaids were born.
Recently we asked ourselves: why do children love mermaids? What makes mermaids special? Mermaids are regarded as “beautiful” and also “mystical”. But is that all?
We could not find a definitive answer.
I guess we could have sponsored a research study, but decided not to. Surely someone had already done the research and the answer would be on the internet.
Here, we lucked out. We found less than a handful of articles about the subject. However, in those we found that there was one common theme. Children used mermaids to help them develop their imagination.
Most adults take parenting and care-giving seriously. We all try our hardest to teach the skills and values that will allow our children to succeed in later life, and some of those skills are imagination, creativity, and innovation.
Some people think these are the same, but in fact they are very different. Imagination allows the child to conjure up ideas outside the real world. There are no constraints in terms of reality or practicality. Creativity operates in the real world. It allows people to arrive at creative solutions but in a real-world setting. Innovation takes this one step further and creates practical solutions to issues often with a basis of imagination and creativity.
Children typically develop imagination first and as they grow and mature, they shift more to the real world and embrace creativity. Innovation often follows as they enter their teens.
Preschoolers typically are in the early stage of this progression and are looking for ways to explore their imagination. They look for something which they can easily relate to but, also something that has an unreal element to allow them to embrace free ranging, imaginative thoughts.
The Barbie doll is a toy that a little girl can easily relate to but does not incorporate the unreal aspects, which are so important for practicing imagination. Something like a Transformer certainly is unreal and is easy to drive imagination but it is harder to relate to since it is far from human.
Perhaps this is the answer to our question. The mermaid is a hybrid – part real and part not. The child can relate to the human aspects of the creature, but the fish tail provides the level of unreality which allows imagination to run free.
The Five Enchanted Mermaids celebrate diversity in our world and the belief that each child deserves to have a mermaid that looks like them. Through their individual personalities and traits, they weave stories that help teach skills for children in this age group.
The idea for the Five Enchanted Mermaids was born to provide a fun but educational backdrop for girls aged 3 to 7 years. The characters address emotional skills (making friends, resolving conflicts, coping with change, making their own choices, and “being good people”) and educational skills (learning to read, the alphabet, counting, symmetrical shapes, time, value of monetary coins/notes) that are important at that age in the development of young girls.
The stories use each of the diverse mermaids as a role model for behavior and values.
LifeMadeSimple, LLC and acclaimed children’s book author, Lois Petren, are collaborating to provide a series of books, party accessories, and other appropriate items as mermaid gifts for girls to support these goals.
Visit us at www.fiveenchantedmermaids.com