7 Spanish Nursery Rhymes to Teach Your Little One

7 Spanish Nursery Rhymes to Teach Your Little One

Pass down a special tradition to your little ones with these 7 Spanish nursery rhymes!


By: Erin Raub

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, which to me means one thing: a huge burst of cultural pride has washed over my household.

We have empanadas. We’re reading cuentos latinos every night. We’re whipping up batch after batch of horchata. And we’re singing, reading and repeating the best-of-the-best Spanish-language nursery rhymes to our little one. Whether we’re reciting them while brushing his teeth with Crest or bedside as he dozes off to sleep, my husband and I are actively and proudly passing down our cultures and family traditions to the next generation.

It feels good. So, I thought I’d share some of the greatest hits from our home – the nursery rhymes and songs our pequeño asks for, again and again. The ones he gleefully repeats, in his adorable Spanish.

Yes, this feels very good indeed.

So, here are 7 of our favorites. They’re popular throughout almost every Spanish-speaking country, from Spain across the pond to Mexico, then sweeping down through Central and South America. It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint their origins, because for almost every rhyme, several countries claim authorship.

1. Tin marín dedo pingüé
This is the straight-up Spanish-language version of eeny-meeny-miny-mo: children chant it to help choose a teammate, or to pick a hand (any hand!), or to select the first food to eat. It’s also a bit of a tongue twister.

Tin marín dedo pingüé,
Cúcara, mácara, títere fue,
Yo no fui, fue Teté,
Pégale, pégale, que ella fue.

2. Un elefante se balanceaba
This lyrical song is taught to help children learn to count – usually to 10, but you’re free to count as high as you’d like!

Un elefante se balanceaba
sobre la tela de una araña,
como veía que resistía
fue a llamar a un camarada.

Dos elefantes se balanceaban,
sobre la tela de una araña,
como veían que resistía
fueron a llamar a un camarada.

Tres elefantes se balanceaban,
sobre la tela de una araña,
como veían que resistía
fueron a llamar a un camarada.

Cuatro elefantes...
Cinco elefantes...
Etc. etc...

3. Pito pito colorito
Similar to Tin Marin dedo pingüé, the two short rhymes below can be used as a sort of sing-song, pick-me-pick-me, but they can also be repeated as a tickle game.

Pito pito colorito
Pito pito colorito
donde vas tu, tan bonito?
Voy al campo de la era
a la escuela verdadera.

Alternate: Pasó un viejito
Pasó un viejito
vendiendo maní,
a todos les dio
menos a mí.

4. Arroz con Leche
One of the most recognizable children’s songs in the Spanish language, every kid sings some version of this classic – and there are many, many versions.

Arroz con leche
Me quiero casar
Con una señorita
que sepa bailar.

Que sepa coser
Que sepa planchar
Que sepa abrir la puerta
Para ir a jugar.

5. Aserrín Aserrán
“Aserrín, aserrán” is an onomatopoeia – Spanish for the sound a saw makes, as it cuts through wood. This is an interactive song is played in a similar fashion to Row Row Row Your Boat: place your kiddo on your knees, hold hands, and saw back-and-forth.

Aserrín, aserrán,
los maderos de San Juan,piden pan,
no les dan,
piden queso,
les dan hueso
y se les atora en el pescuezo!
Piden vino, si les dan
Se marean y se van.

6. Los pollitos dicen
As recognizable as Arroz con Leche, this classic is as soft and fuzzy as its name implies. Snuggle while you sing!

Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío
cuando tienen hambre
cuando tienen frío.
La gallina busca el maíz y el trigo
les da la comida y les presta abrigo.
Bajo de sus alas, acurrucaditos
¡duermen los pollitos
hasta el otro día!

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7. La Pájara Pinta
A sweet song of birdy love, this one is almost guaranteed to make your kids laugh at the same time they squeal, “ewww!”

Estaba la pájara pinta
sentadita en el verde limón.
con el pico recoge la hoja,
con la hoja movía la flor.
¡Ay, ay, ay! ¿Cuál será mi amor?

Me arrodillo a los pies de mi amante,
Tan fiel y constante,
Que me da su amor.
Dame una mano, dame la otra,
Dame un besito mi corazón.
¡Ay, mi corazón!

What are your favorite Spanish nursery rhymes? Let us know in the comments below!


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