Spanish Nursery Rhymes for Preschoolers

Instructor: Elena Sacramento

Elena teaches Spanish as a foreign language and has a PhD in linguistics.

Nursery rhymes are an effective and fun way to learn a foreign language. In this lesson, we explore some interesting and fun Spanish nursery rhymes that kids will definitely enjoy.

Learning Through Music

Nursery rhymes are fundamental at the preschool level. Children love and learn them easily thanks to their catchy melodies and fun lyrics. Both native speakers and learners of Spanish as a foreign language can benefit from the use of Spanish nursery rhymes at home or in the classroom.

Keep reading to discover some fun and educational nursery rhymes that can be introduced into Spanish lessons for kids. A link to videos relevant to this lesson can be found in the Sources section.

Spanish nursery rhymes are a fun way to practice vocabulary.
canciones

Nursery Rhyme for Learning the Numbers

Un elefante se balanceaba (pronounced: oon eh-leh-FAHN-teh seh bah-lahn-seh-AH-bah; An elephant was swinging) is one of the first songs children can learn to practice numbers in Spanish.

Let's take a look at the main vocabulary first.

Spanish Pronunciation Translation
un elefante (oon eh-leh-FAHN-teh) an elephant
una tela de araña (OO-nah TEH-lah deh
ah-RAH-nyah)
a spider web
los números (lohs NOO-meh-rohs) the numbers
uno/
un (before a noun)
(OO-noh/
oon)
one
dos (dohs) two
tres (trehs) three
cuatro (KWAH-troh) four
cinco (SEEN-koh) five
seis (says) six
siete (SYEH-teh) seven
ocho (OH-choh) eight
nueve (NWEH-beh) nine
diez (diehs) ten

Once the children are familiar with the protagonists and the numbers, we can teach them the lyrics. Take a look at the first verse:

Lyrics Translation
Un elefante se balanceaba
sobre la tela de una araña.
Como veía que resistía,
fueron a llamar a otro elefante.
An elephant was swinging
on a spider web.
Since he saw it could hold out
they went and called another elephant.

The second time, we'll repeat the same verse but also add a new elephant/number:

Dos elefantes se balanceaban...

Note: Pay attention to the changes (in bold) from singular to plural from the second verse onward.

This song helps reinforce the numbers in Spanish.
elephant

Nursery Rhymes About Animals

En la Granja de Mi Tío

En la granja de mi tío (pronounced: ehn lah GRAHN-hah deh mee TEE-oh; In my uncle's farm) has a counterpart in English: 'Old MacDonald had a farm.' Children will probably be familiar with its melody, so this is an excellent way to reinforce the vocabulary related to animals, as well as their sounds.

Kids will be interested to find out that animal sounds vary from one language to another. For example, in Spanish, a dog goes guau instead of 'woof.' So we could teach them the animal sounds in Spanish before starting to learn the song.

Take a look at the basic vocabulary required:

Spanish Pronunciation Translation
una vaca (OO-nah BAH-kah) a cow
un gato (oon GAH-toh) a cat
un pato (oon PAH-toh) a duck
una cabra (OO-nah KAH-brah) a goat

Now it's time to sing! The song's structure is always the same. We just need to change the animal and the sound it makes. Also, as we introduce new animals, we need to remember the previous ones.

Lyrics Translation
En la granja de mi tío
ia ia oh
una vaca hace mu
ia ia oh
Una vaca aquí, una vaca allá,
un mu aquí, un mu allá,
mu mu mu mu
In my uncle's farm
ia ia oh
a cow goes 'moo'
ia ia oh
A cow over here, a cow over there,
a 'moo' over here, a 'moo' over there,
moo moo moo moo
En la granja de mi tío
ia ia oh
hay un gato que hace miau
ia ia oh
Un gato aquí, un gato allá,
una vaca aquí, una vaca allá,
miau miau mu mu
In my uncle's farm
ia ia oh
there's a cat that goes 'miaow'
ia ia oh
A cat over here, a cat over there,
a cow over here, a cow over there,
miaow miaow moo moo
En la granja de mi tío
ia ia oh
hay un pato que hace cuac
ia ia oh
Un pato aquí, un pato allá,
un gato aquí, un gato allá,
una vaca aquí, una vaca allá,
cuac cuac miau mu
In my uncle's farm
ia ia oh
there's a duck that goes 'quack'
ia ia oh
A duck over here, a duck over there,
a cat over here, a cat over there,
a cow over here, a cow over there,
quack quack miaow moo
En la granja de mi tío
ia ia oh
una cabra hace beee
ia ia oh
Una cabra aquí, una cabra allá,
un pato aquí, un pato allá,
un gato aquí, un gato allá,
una vaca aquí, una vaca allá,
beee cuac miau mu
In my uncle's farm
ia ia oh
a goat goes 'maa'
ia ia oh
A goat over here, a goat over there,
a duck over here, a duck over there,
a cat over here, a cat over there,
a cow over here, a cow over there,
maa quack miaow moo

Translation: The dog goes woof.
guau

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