13 Must-Read Stories for Kids That Teach Valuable Life Lessons

Every parent, teacher, or babysitter will, at some point, find themselves playing storyteller and sharing children’s stories, whether it’s bedtime stories, stories by the campfire, or to pass the time. While there are tons of stories for kids to choose from, quite a few teach valuable life lessons to kids as they hear the story.

There are so many fun things to do with kids, but for the days when you’re looking for a quick and straightforward way to entertain the kids, short stories are a great way to do it. Reading to children is a perfect way to help kids develop their reading skills and learn to read.

These Stories for Kids Help Teach About:

  • Greed
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Temperament
  • And so much more!

13 Short Stories for Kids That Will Help Teach Important Life Lessons

1. The Lion and the Mouse

This children’s story is about a Lion who decides to spare a mouse’s life when the mouse says he will repay him in the future. The lion laughs, thinking, how could a mouse ever help me. Until one day, the lion becomes caught in a net, and the mouse frees him. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: You’re never too small to help someone in need, and kindness never goes wasted.

2. The Boy Who Cried, Wolf

Most people have heard this story before, but if you haven’t, it’s about a boy who repeatedly lies about a wolf chasing the sheep. His lying causes him to lose credibility. And when there is a wolf, none of the villagers believe him because he has lied so many times. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Lying will catch up with you, and people won’t believe you when you need them to.

3. The Golden Goose

The Golden Goose (sometimes called The Goose Who Laid the Golden Eggs) is a story about greed. A farmer and his wife have a goose who lays golden eggs. They start to think that the goose must have gold inside of it, so they kill the goose. They realize that the goose is not full of gold; it just lays golden eggs. But now that they’ve killed it, they don’t get any gold. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Being greedy will cause you to lose out on what you already have.

4. The Thirsty Crow

In this story for children, kids can learn about persistence and problem-solving. A crow finds a pail of water half full but can’t quite reach the water. He adds pebbles to the can until the water rises high enough for him to drink. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Where there is a will, there’s away. Sometimes you have to get creative and be patient to achieve your goal.

5. The Three Little Pigs

Most people know the story of the three little pigs who each build a house to keep out the wolf. The pigs who choose quick building methods are easily destroyed, whereas the pig who takes his time to make a quality house can withstand the wolf. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Being lazy and rushing a task will not pay off; hard work patience will.

6. The Ugly Duckling

This story has become a top-rated children’s book because of its powerful message. If you haven’t heard the story of the ugly duckling, it’s all about judging someone by their outward appearance. The thought-to-be ugly duckling ends up being a beautiful swan. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Don’t judge someone by their appearance; appearances don’t matter.

7. The Ant and the Dove

Here is another short story about kindness and friendship. A dove saves an ant from drowning, and the ant can return the favor by biting a man who is about to kill the dove, which allows the dove to escape. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Kindness is never wasted.

8. The Tortoise and the Hare

Another popular story for children, famous for “slow and steady wins the race.” A slow but determined tortoise beats an overly confident rabbit in a race. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Determination and patience are equally as, if not more important than physical ability.

9. The Midas Touch

King Midas was not happy with what he had, so he wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. He soon regrets his wish. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Be happy with what you have.

10. The Dog and the Bone

In this children’s story, the dog loses his bone in an attempt to snatch another one. It’s a short story with a great lesson; don’t be greedy. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Greed leads to loss, be happy with what you already have.

11. Elephant and Friends

In this cute animal story, an elephant in search of friends defends all of the smaller jungle animals against a tiger, despite turning him away at first because he was an elephant and they weren’t. It’s a great lesson on the benefits of unlikely friendships. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: You can be friends with anyone, despite your differences.

12. Controlling Anger

Controlling one’s temper is a skill that everyone has to learn through practice, and kids should understand this as early as they can! This kids story involves a boy who is instructed to pound one nail into a piece of wood every time he loses his temper, and once his temper is under control, he removes them. His dad shows him that just because he pulled out the nail doesn’t mean that the damage isn’t still there, just as saying hurtful things when he is angry isn’t something that can be undone. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Not being able to control your anger and saying hurtful things can cause lasting damage.

13. The Wind and the Sun

In this short story, the wind and the sun fight to determine which is stronger by seeing which of them can persuade a man to remove his coat first. The wind uses robust and aggressive force. And the sun uses a slow and steady increase of heat that eventually gets the man to remove his coat. The suns strategy proves to be more effective. You can read the full story here.

Moral of the story: Sometimes, gentle persuasion is more effective than strength and force.

Places to Find Free Stories for Kids

There are many places to find children’s stories online for storytime. Many of them are great for teaching kids important lessons and values and entertaining them.


You can find all of the stories listed above and many other great stories on YouTube. You can find anything on there, from fairytales to fables to nursery rhymes and folk tales. If you listen to stories on YouTube, you don’t even have to read them to your kids. You can make a playlist and let them play through as a read-aloud. It’s a great place to find interactive stories.

Many of the videos are even animated, making them fun for the kids to watch. There are also a lot of stories for them to read along to. That is a great way to incorporate screen time for kids while still focusing on educating them.

Monkey Pen

Monkey Pen is a great website to find a wide variety of easy-to-read children’s books, stories, and fables. You can read their online stories and books for kids directly from their website or download them as a PDF. They also offer personalized books and wall art.

Final Thoughts On Stories for Kids

Sharing moral stories is a great way to entertain kids at home while teaching them essential life lessons. These short stories have excellent morals that kids can benefit from. Even if all you have time for is a quick bedtime story, any amount of reading to children helps encourage early readers and excellent reading comprehension!

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

Kayla is the content creator over at Motivation for Mom. She is a wife and mother who loves to share all of the tips,  tricks, and life lessons that she has learned over the years with all of her readers. Her primary focus is on children’s education, motherhood, and healthy family relationships!