Spanish Singing Games and Songs 1


© Dany Rosevear 2009 All rights reserved


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Spanish pronunciation


Spoken Spanish in Spain and Latin America is quite distinctive from spoken English. For that reason

a few lyrics are accompanied by the sounds of the Spanish language. A guide is provided of the more

distinctive sounds to aid the pronunciation of the other words in the songs below:

a        sounds like ah (father)                                         as in madre

i         sounds like ee (feet)                                              as in mi

e        sounds like e (met) at the beginning or within a word   as in leche

e        sounds like ay at the end of a word                      as in leche

o        sounds like oa (boat)                                           as in no

u       sounds like oo (boot)                                           as in una

c        sounds like th before the letters i and e                as in cinco

cc      sounds like ks (accident)                                      as in accidente

j and g sounds like ch (loch)                                          as in juego and girafa

g        sounds like h (hallo) before the letters i and e      as in gente

ll        sounds like y (yard)                                             as in llamas

ñ       sounds like ni (onions)                                         as in señorita

qu     sounds like k                                                        as in ¿qué?

rr      sounds like a Scottish r                                        as in arroz

v        sounds like b                                                        as in vaca

z        sounds like th (thin)                                             as in arroz

h       is always silent unless the word is of foreign origin

u       is silent after g and q                                            as in ¿qué?


There are many sites on line that provide help with pronunciations


To listen to music from these songs click on O


At a later date these songs will be available to buy in book form at the

Gryphon’s Garden website. In the meantime....


¨To buy French and other singing games books follow this link:

Books I have written.htm


H Return to Gryphon’s Garden Home Page {{{




Rice with milk O


‘Arroz con leche’ is possibly the most universal singing game in Latin America. It is also an essential comfort food, a sweet hot cereal for children similar to our rice pudding. Ingredients can include; rice, cinnamon, raisins, milk, sugar and vanilla.



Directions: Children hold hands and walk round a child in the middle who walks in the opposite direction. On ‘Con esta ...’ this child points first to a chosen one, then to another, finally returning to the first child. This pair then cross hands and dance round. They swap roles with one joining the circle leaving their partner in the centre to begin the game again.







Arroz con leche,

Me quiero casar,

Con una señorita / el señore,

Que separ bailar.


Que sepa coser

Que sepa contar

Que sepa abrir la puerta,

Parar  ir a jugar.


Con esta si,

Con esta no,              

Contigo mi vida

Me caso yo.

Rice with sweet milk,

I wish to be wed,

To a fine young lady / fellow,

Who knows how to dance.


Who knows how to sew,

Who knows how to sing,

Who can open the door,

To go out to play.


With this one yes,

With that one no,

With you my dear,

I’ll surely go.


75. Bate bate chocolate


‘Stir, stir the chocolate’ (bah-tay bah-tay cho-coh-lah-tay) goes this chant. In Mexico chocolate is drunk for breakfast, made with chocolate, milk, cinnamon and vanilla and stirred with a ‘molinillo’ a utensil held between the hands and rotated back and forth.

Each time the game is played move faster and devise new clapping patterns.


Bate, bate, chocolate, x2


Uno, dos, tres, CHO,

Chocolate, CO,

Chocolate,  LA,

Chocolate, TE!



Chocolate, chocolate,

Bate, bate, chocolate!

Face partner holding hands. Pump hands forwards and back to the beat.


Clap hands three times or another part of the body and then slap partner’s hands. Repeat for each count.


Hold hands and speed up for each line.

































































































Aserrín, aserrán O


Originally a poem written by the Columbian poet Jose Asuncion Silva (1865 – 1896) this version of the traditional game is based on one found at; Early Learning Initiative for Wisconsin Public Libraries a pdf that contains many excellent resources for the very young in English and Spanish.



Directions:  Pairs join hands to make an X shape and move arms back and forth in a sawing motion. On the last two lines skip round fast.











Aserrín, aserrán ,

(ah-ser-rin, ah-ser-ran)

Los maderos de San Juan,

(lowz ma-der’-ohs day san wan)

Piden pan no les dan,

(pee-den no lays dahn)

Piden queso les dan guëso

(pee-den key’-so lays dahn gway-so)

Los de Enrique alfeñique

(lowz day en-ree’-kay al-fen’-ee-kay)

¡Ñique, ñique, ñique!

(knee-kay,  knee-kay, knee-kay)















Saw, sawdust, saw, sawdust,

In the woods of old San Juan.

The lumberjacks ask for bread,

The lumberjacks ask for cheese,

Young Henry asks for candy,

Almonds spun with sugar candy!












































































































Chirombolo O


Learn the Spanish body part names with this traditional singing game from Ecuador. Chirombolo is a nonsense word that refers to a mechanical movement. The music is printed with Spanish words but the English translation will work well with the tune. Listen at;


Make two circles, one outer and one inner, holding hands with the partner opposite. Alternatively stand in pairs scattered around the room. Each time the game is repeated the game speeds up.












El juego chirimbolo,

¡Qué bonito es!

Con un pie, otro pie;

Una mano, otro mano;

Un codo, otro codo;

La nariz y la boca!

El juego chirimbolo,

¡Qué bonito es!


Let’s play the chirimbolo,

What fun it is to dance!

With one foot, then the other;

Right hand, then the left;

One elbow, then the other;

The nose and the mouth!

How well we dance together,

The chirimbolo game. Hey!

With familiarity other body parts can be added;

la cabeza       the head

el cuello        the  neck

los hombras  the shoulders

los brazas,    the  arms

los dedos        the fingers

la barriga      the stomach

el trasero       the bottom

la espalda      the back,

las piemas     the legs

el moreno     the hair










Make four sideways skipping steps anti clockwise and then four in the opposite direction.


Tap right feet together then left.

Slap right hands then left.

Place right then left elbows together.

Point to nose and mouth of partner.


Make four sideways skipping steps anti clockwise and then lift hands high and turn under.

On ‘Hey!’ jump up high and clap.


The inner circle then stands still as those in the outer circle move one step to the right to face a new partner and the game begins once more.













Bravo little turkey O


In the traditional Spanish children’s game ‘Al pavo pavito’ the child left out is taunted with ‘Pavo, pavo, pavo’ which means not only turkey but also ‘silly’ or ‘idiotic’. This version is a kinder one.



Directions: An odd number of children make a circle and skip briskly round to the left. At the end of the third line they stop to count ‘¡Una dos tres!’ and run to join up with a partner. The child left becomes the turkey and stands in the centre as the children sing the last line then chant ‘¡Bravo pavito pavo! The ‘turkey’ remains in the middle for the next game but chooses a partner at the end of the verse before the others make pairs so a new turkey remains.












Al pavo pavito pavo,

Al pavo pavito si,

El pavito se ha perdito,

¡Una! ¡Dos! ¡Tres!

¡Y el pavito ya está aqui!

¡Bravo pavito pavo!

Turkey little turkey turkey,

Turkey little turkey yes,

Little turkey has got lost,

One! Two! Three!

Little turkey is now here!

Bravo little turkey!


























Mirón, mirón, mirón O


This old song from Columbia has its roots in the more ancient ‘A la limón, a la limón,’ indeed the game is played in a similar manner to our nursery favourite ‘Oranges and lemons’.  Mirón in Spanish means ‘voyeur’, ‘onlooker’ or ‘peeping Tom’ but in this context is probably a nonsense word or more literally ‘Come and look?’



Directions: Two children secretly choose names from a theme e.g. sun / moon orange / lemon then make a high archway with interlocking fingers. The others form a line holding on to the waist of the child in front as they pass through. On the last.atrás  the child passing through is caught and chooses sun or moon standing behind that part of the archway. At the end of the game the two parts of the archway try to draw the other side into their territory. The line that is longest invariably wins.















Mirón, mirón, mirón,

¿Donde pasa tanta gente?

Mirón, mirón, mirón,

Por la puerta de San Vincente,

Que pasa el rey, que ha de pasar,

Que el hijo el conde se quedar atrás.

Atrás, atrás, atrás!












Mirón, mirón, mirón,

Where do the people pass?

Mirón, mirón, mirón,

Through the door of Saint Vincent,

The king passes by with all his men,

But the son of the count is left behind.

Behind, behind, behind!











































































































Los esqueletos O




When the clock strikes one the skeletons come out to play and indulge

 in all sorts of wonderful antics before it is time to return to the under

world. A spooky song that helps children learn how to tell the time in

English or Spanish.



Directions. Act out the words of the song. Make skeleton type movements to ¡Chumba, la cachumba, la cachumbambá!










Cuando el reloj marca la una,

Los esqueletos salen de la tomba.

¡Chumba, la cachumba, la cachumbabá!

When the clock strikes one,

The skeletons rise from their graves.

Chumba, la cachumba, la cachumbabá!


Cuando el reloj marca las dos,

Los esqueletos cantan una voz.

¡Chumba, la cachumba etc.

2 sing together


Cuando el reloj marca las tres,

Los esqueletos se vuelven al revés.

3 turn upside down


Cuando el reloj marca las cuatro,

Los esqueletos bailen el tango.

4 dance the tango


Cuando el reloj marca las cinco,

Los esqueletos  pegan un brinco

5 jump up and down


Cuando el reloj marca las seis,

Los esqueletos saludan el rey.

6 greet the king

Cuando el reloj marca las siete,

Los esqueletos se lanzan en cohete.

7 launch a rocket


Cuando el reloj marca las ocho,

Los esqueletos comen bizcocho

8 eat cake


Cuando el reloj marca las nueve,

Los esqueletos todos se mueven.

9 shake their bodies


Cuando el reloj marca las diez,,

Los esqueletos andan al revés

10 walk backwards


Cuando el reloj marca las once,

Los esqueletos tocan los bronces

11 play skeleton statues


Cuando el reloj marca las doce,

Los esqueletos vuelven a la tumba

12  the skeletons return to their graves

¡Chumba, la cachumba, la cachumbabá!

¡Chumba, la cachumba, la cachumbabá!