Albert Einstein observed, "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be geniuses, read them more fairy tales. When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."
Some parents worry that fairytales will scare their children, or even provide "sexist" role models. However, I have found (using traditional not Disney-fied versions) that they provide rich food for the mind and allow discussions about feelings to be expressed. Fairy tales speak to a place deep within us, or from the "subconscious" as Jung would say. Unlike movies or television they allow the imagination to do its own work, teaching us about ourselves and the world we create around us.