Facing fictional monsters is a necessary tool for children who are trying to navigate through challenging periods in their lives. Image Credit: Stock photo/Pexels

We’ve all been there, as children. Monsters under the bed or in the closet have haunted our thoughts, making it impossible to sleep. Even the faintest shadow on the wall has the potential to become a full-blown nightmare, waiting to devour us.

Click start to play today’s Crossword, where you can identify classic monsters and terrors from books and films.

Even as monsters terrorise little children, there is a great way to get young people to stop being afraid and to approach the problem with logic and curiosity. According to a 2016 report US-based news website The Washington Post, it’s called ‘monster building’.

American fiction author Fran Wilde put this exercise into practice when she was invited to teach a creative writing workshop at a school in Virginia, US. Instead of lecturing the students and asking them to take notes, she simply asked if they wanted to “make some monsters”, like the ones she featured in her fantasy books. The children were given an hour to think about monsters that scared them, to draw them out, and to dissect their strengths and weaknesses. Then, they compared their monsters and figured out how they could defend against them.

From flying washing machines whose only weakness was a power outage, to clowns with flames for hair, the children’s monsters were varied and creative. But even better than their creativity on display was their creativity when problem-solving. They had imagined how to make a monster, and with the exercise, they were able to disassemble it, too.

The idea of monsters in children’s literature has long been a controversial subject, especially among parents. But according to a 2020 article in the UK-based academic journal Palgrave Communications, they are a necessary tool for children who are trying to navigate through challenging periods in their lives. By using their imagination and experiencing made-up trials with fictional monsters, they are able to build resilience for real life and its all-too-real adversities.

From fearsome goblins and scary witches to dangerous dragons, which ‘monsters’ did you love reading about as a child? Play today’s Crossword and let us know at