Del vestido

A la zapatilla por detrás

Cantaba la rana

Juguemos en el bosque

La Tarara

La petaquita

Pico picotero

Veo, veo


Last updated: 6/28/2016 2:09 PM


The songs below are part of ‘‘La pajara pinta’ The Spanish collection

compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

To listen to music from these songs click on 

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:


Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home pageTo listen to music from these songs click on O

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:


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© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved

You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

·       you must give the original author credit

·       you may not use this work for commercial purposes

·       for any re-use or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work

·       any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder


Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.

The Spanish Collection


It is said that children who are exposed to just 50 words of a second language before to age six begin to develop an "ear" for the sounds of that language.


It is hoped that where possible these songs will be sung in their home language. An English version is provided so children can enjoy the tunes before they have mastered Spanish. Literal translations do not always make sense to the English ear so these have been translated freely (very freely in some cases!) to complement the music and capture the spirit of each song.

You will find more Spanish songs in the collection ‘Away We Go’.


Spanish pronunciation


Spoken Spanish in both 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. The more distinctive sounds of letters in the words of the songs are provided to aid pronunciation in the guide below. The letters not listed are pronounced approximately as in English.


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?


In Spain ‘d’ is spoken with a lisp, this is not so in Latin America.

There are many sites on line that provide help with pronunciation


Spanish punctuation


Written Spanish in both Spain and Latin America is also distinctive from written English; fewer capitals are used at the beginning of each line of verse, exclamation and question marks are used both at the beginning and end of sentences. However, for familiarity I have usually conformed to the English model when writing Spanish verse.



A la zapatilla por detrás O


Learn how to count to ten in Spanish in no time at all but you also need to be quick on your feet in this game.


Watch at:  




Children sit in a circle, one child holding a shoe walks round the outside as the others sing.

As the song nears its end, those in the circle close their eyes and count to ten. Meanwhile the bearer drops the shoe behind one of the seated players without them knowing. On ten the seated players look behind them and the one finding the shoe grabs it and chases the bearer round the outside of the circle. They both aim to reach the vacated spot and sit down. If the bearer succeeds the other child will carry the shoe in the next game. If not the bearer remains in role.


















A la zapatilla por detrás, tris-tras.

Ni la ves ni la verás, tris-tras.

Mirar para arriba, que caen judías. Mirar para abajo, que caen garbanzos.

A dormir, a dormir, que los reyes van a venir.





¿A qué hora?

A las una, a la dos etc..

Oh the shoe it travels on behind, trip trap.

You won´t see it, not at all, trip trap.

Look up the beans are falling, through air they’re falling.

Look down at fallen chickpeas, see chickpeas rolling.

You must sleep, you must sleep, for the kings are passing by.



What time is it?

One o’clock, two o’clock …etc..




Cantaba la rana O


There are many versions of this traditional song to be found in Spain and the Spanish speaking world, this one is an adaption of two of them. The translation is very free to allow the song to rhyme and be sung in English.


As an alternative to walking round sit and clap to each ‘cu’cu’ or play an instrument. Listen at:





Children walk around in a circle and sing. A child squats in the middle and mimics frog’s movements. A gentleman, lady and maid enter the circle in turn as they are mentioned and mime the words of the song.











Cu cú, cu cú, cantaba la rana,

Cu cú, cu cú, debajo del agua.

Cu cú, cu cú, pasó un caballero,

Cu cú, cu cú, de capa y sombrero.

Cu cú, cu cú, pasó una señora,

Cu cú, cu cú, con falda de cola.

Cu cú, cu cú,  pasó una criada,

Cu cú, cu cú, llevando ensalada.

Cu cú, cu cú, cantaba la rana,

Cu cú, cu cú, se puso a salta.

Cu cú, cu cú, se metió en el agua,

Cu cú, cu cú, se echó a revolear.

Cru-cru, cru-cru, sang frog as he oughta,

Cru-cru, cru-cru, way down in the water.

Cru-cru, cru-cru, a gentleman there goes,

Cru-cru, cru-cru, in cape and sombrero.

Cru-cru, cru-cru, a woman is strolling,

Cru-cru, cru-cru, in long skirt a-trailing.

Cru-cru, cru-cru, behind walks a young maid,

Cru-cru, cru-cru, she carries a salad.

Cru-cru, cru-cru, sang frog without stopping,

Cru-cru, cru-cru, a-leaping and hopping.

Cru-cru, cru-cru, sprang back in the water,

Cru-cru, cru-cru, to start once again!





















Juguemos en el bosque O


Wolves and woods are the perfect combination for traditional stories and songs across Europe. Here sheep have fun singing and dancing in the forest as the wolf concentrates on a leisurely dressing routine to prepare for his dinner.


Watch at:


The French version of this singing game isPromenons-nous dans les bois’.




Children / sheep walk around in a circle and sing. Wolf who is hiding responds that he needs to dress and names each garment as he does so. Eventually he responds; “I’m coming to eat you up!” and rubs his tummy before chasing the others. The child caught becomes the wolf next time and the game continues.













Juguemos en el bosque,

Mientras el lobo no está,

Que si el lobo aparace,

A todos nos comerá!


Ninos: ¿Lobo, dónde está?

El lobo: (Spoken)

Me estoy poniendo los pantalones.


Subsequently wolf answers:

Me estoy poniendo el chaleco...vest

Me estoy poniendo el saco...jacket

Me estoy poniendo el sombrerito...hat

Y los voy a comer!!!

I’m coming to eat you up!!!

Que sabrosos! (rubbing stomach)

How tasty!


We’re off to play in the forest,

We hope that wolf is not there.

And what if wolf appears then?

He’ll eat us up, are you scared?!



Wolfie, where are you now?

Wolf: (Spoken)

I’m putting on my trousers.


   Other clothing:

los calzones

los calcetines

los zapatos

la camisa


































La petaquita O


This beautiful song from Chile was collected and recorded by Violeta Parra who is considered to be the most important Chilean folklorist. A ‘petaquita’ is a little tobacco pouch or box but also a secret place to leave sad or bad memories that only we know how or when to open.


Listen to Luis Pescetti at:




1st verse: Stand with left foot forward in a circle holding hands and next to a partner. Swing hands back and forth swaying alternately from front to back foot in time to the music.

2nd verse: Hold partners hand and sway from side to side in time to the music with an underarm twirl to finish.















Tengo una petaquita, para ir guardando,

Las penas y pesares, que voy pasando.


Pero algún día, pero algún día,

Abro la petaquita, y la hallo vacía.



Todas las chicas tienen en el vestido

un letrero que dice:

Busco marido

Pero algún día...


Todos los chicos tienen en el sombrero

un letrero que dice:

Yo soy soltero

Pero algún día...

I have a little pocket, where I am saving,

All of my tears and sorrows, there they’ll be staying.


Then one day some day, then one day some day,

I’ll open up my pocket, and find it quite empty.


All of the pretty young girls, have on their aprons:

A sign that clearly tells you:

"Wanted: a husband"


All of the handsome boys have on their sombreros:

A sign that clearly tells you:

"Single man rare-o"





La Tarara O


A popular song of Castilian origin sung at holiday times especially Easter.


Watch at:





Dance in a big circle, next to a partner, all holding hands and moving to the rhythm of the melody. Each time ‘la Tarara’ is sung partners hold right hands and take it in turn to twirl the other under their arm.















Tiene la Tarara un vestido blanco

Con lunares rojos para el Jueves Santo.

La Tarara, si, la Tarara, no,

La Tarara, madre, que la bailo yo.

Come and see Tarara wear her white dress with red spots,

On Holy Thursday, looking oh so lovely.

It’s Tarara, yes, it’s Tarara, no,

It’s Tarara, mother, dances just like me.




















Pico picotero O



Introduce a collection of hats from around the world including the sombrero for this meeting and greeting song. ‘Pico picotero’ means ‘beak pecking’ or ‘chatterbox’.


Watch at:




Make a circle. A child in the middle wearing a sombrero sings the first verse. This child open and closes thumb and forefinger like a beak, lifts and sweep hat in front with a broad gesture, then shakes hands around the circle, continuing to do so as those in the circle sing the second verse. The one in the middle gives the sombrero to the child whose hand is shaken on the last line. This child becomes the new visitor and the game continues.











Pico picotero,

Me saco el sombrero,

Saludo a los chicos,

¿Que tal cómo les va?


Pico picotero,

Me pongo el sombrero,

Me va requetebien,

Gracias por preguntar.

Pico picotero,

Please take my sombrero,

I greet all the children

With: “How are you today?”



Pico picotero,

I’ll wear your sombrero,

And thank you for asking,

I’m very well today.


























Veo, veo O


This dance with its lively Latin cha-cha-cha rhythm is as popular as ‘I-spy’ on car journeys in Spanish speaking countries.


To make the game easier and more focused provide a group of objects that children have learned to name in Spanish e.g. clothing, transport or food. The Argentinian version asks; ¿de qué color es? ‘what color is it?


Watch at:




Children dance as one child sings. The others respond and the child chooses an object. The child then provides an initial letter so the others can guess the name of the object. The child answers ‘si’ or ‘no’ as each guess is made. If successful that child then starts the game again naming a new object.













Child:        Veo, veo.

Children:¿Qué ves?

Child:         Una cosita

Children:¿ Y qué cosita es?

Child:          Empieza por la 'a'

All: ¿Qué será? ¿Qué será? ¿Qué será?

Child: Veo, veo.

Children: You see?

Child: A little something.

Children: Whatever can it be?

Child: That something begins with 'a'

Children: Please tell me, x3

















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