A la rueda, rueda

Al corro de la patata

Arroz con leche

Aserrín, aserrán

Bate bate chocolate

La vaca lechera

Naranja dolce

Piñón, piñón, piñón

Yo tengo un tallarín


Last updated: 1/19/2016 3:47 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 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 rueda, rueda O



A simple game suitable for the very youngest similar to ‘Ring a ring a roses’.


Watch at:





Walk round in a circle holding hands. On the last line fall to the ground and pretend to sleep. Each time the game is played move in a different direction.















A la rueda, rueda, de pan y canela,

Dame un besito, vete a la escuela.

Si no quieres ir acuéstate a dormer.

Round and round the circle, of cinnamon spiced bread.

I’ll give you a big kiss; wave you off to school but

If you wish to stay, lie down and go to sleep.






















Al corro de la patata O


This Spanish singing game is played in the fashion of ‘Ring-a-ring-o’-roses’. It is similar to the previous ‘El patio de mi casa’ but is more suitable for the very youngest.


Play this game as a supplement to a healthy eating initiative. Children choose what they would like to be; potatoes (baked, mashed, boiled), a named salad vegetable or fruit.


Watch at:




A potato, two salad vegetables and two types of fruit are chosen to make a small circle inside the larger one. Holding hands the large circle walks round to the left, the small to the right. Bend knees twice on the fifth line, jump up then fall down to sit hand in hand with legs in the air! The children in the middle choose a new mixed plate of food to replace them.














Al corro de la patata,

Comeremos ensalada,

Naranjitas y limones.

Come comen los señores,

¡Achupé! ¡Achupé!

¡Senta dita me quedé!

Run round the good potato,

On a plate with crunchy salad,

And some oranges and lemons,

Eat like healthy lords and ladies.

Bend your knees! Bend your knees!

Then we’ll all go tumbling down!


























Arroz con leche O



‘Rice with milk’ 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.


Listen at:

Watch at:






Children hold hands and walk round a child who circles in the opposite direction.

On ‘Con esta ...’ this child points to one in the circle, then to another, finally returning to the first one. This pair cross hands and dance.

Roles are then swapped with the first child joining the circle for the game to begin 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 pudding, rice pudding,

I wish to be wed,

I’ll look for a young lady / fine fellow,

Who dances he / she said.


Who knows how to sew,

Who knows how to sing,

Who opens up the front door,

To play in the Spring.


With this one it’s yes,

With that one it’s no,

With you my dearest dear one,

I gladly will go.







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.


Listen at:




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.

Lumberjacks ask for bread,

Lumberjacks they ask for hard cheese,

But young Henry asks for candy,

Almonds spun with sugar candy!



























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.


Watch at:


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.



































La vaca lechera O


Where does milk comes from? You’ll soon find out when you sing this comic song which is popular throughout Latin America though. it is possibly written in 1946 by Garcia Morcillo from Spain.

In Venezuela the cow produces ‘condensada’, condensed milk..


Watch at:




Show children how to squat and squeeze the udders of a cow. Mime actions. Jump up and clap hands with a partner forTolón, tolón’.














Tengo una vaca lechera.

No es una vaca cualquiera,

Me da leche merengada.

Ay! que vaca tan salada!

Tolón, tolón, Tolón, tolón.

I have a cow, a good milker.

Oh, what a wonderful creature!

From her udders there comes milk shake.

Wow! How that cow makes my sides ache!

Tolón, tolón, Tolón, tolón.



















Naranja dulce O


In this game from Mexico a soldier says farewell to his true love.


Watch at:  and


Choose a child to stand in the middle of a circle.
























Naranja dulce, limòn partido,

Dame un abrazo que yo te pido.

Si fuera falso mi juramento,

En poco tiempo se olvidarà.


My dearest orange, my little lemon,

Give me a big hug, I do entreat you.

And if to you all my vows are broken,

You will forget me as time goes by.


Toca la marcha mi pecho llora,

Adiòs señora, yo ya me voy.

A mi casita de Sololoy

A comer tacos y no le doy.

The march is playing, my heart is weeping,

Adios, Señora, I leave you now.

Off to my small house in Sololoy,

To eat some tacos while you’ll have none.

Holding hands dance around the child in the middle, first one way and then the other.







Walk round the circle, one behind the other miming; hands to heart, wave, make a roof over the head, eat tacos and shake finger from side to side.


At the end the child in the centre chooses a friend. They hug and leave the circle to walk round the outside in the opposite direction. The game continues until there are no children left in the original circle but a new outer circle has been created.






Piñón, piñón, piñón O


A song from the Galicia region of Spain. ‘Peanuts’ are used in translation rather than piñón‘ or pine nuts for familiarity. This song is similar to ‘Miguel, Miguel, Miguel’ - see No.41.

See the game below at:

A simpler version can be found at: .

















Piñón, piñón ,piñón,


Piñón, piñón ,piñón,


SPOKEN: ¡Un, dos, tres!

Peanuts, peanuts, peanuts,

Pirulee, pirulee, pirulairo,

Peanuts, peanuts, peanuts,

Pirulee, pirulee, pirulon,

SPOKEN: One, two, three!


Piñón, piñón ,piñón,

Da veultas al derecho,

Piñón, piñón ,piñón,

Da veultas al revés.

SPOKEN: ¡Un, dos, tres!

Peanuts, peanuts, peanuts,

Link right arms then both circle,

Peanuts, peanuts, peanuts,

Now go the other way.

SPOKEN: One, two, three!

Stand next to a partner in a circle, hold hands. Walk with a bouncy step round to the right.


Clap hands and stamp feet three times.







Link right arms with partner and skip round on the spot.

Do the same with left arms.


Slap partner’s hands and stamp three times.





Yo tengo un tallarín O


Finish up with oodles of noodles in this very active game.


Make a circle with one child inside, this child chooses another to replace them at the end of the song. Music is played between verses and the new child makes up a dance for the others to copy. Last time sing very fast with the actions at speed.


Watch at:  and




1.Rapidly slap thighs

2. Jump round to the right, jump round to the left.

3. Make Hawaii style movements with the arms first to the right then the left.

4. Slap hands with exaggerated up and down movements.

5. Stretch up right hand and shake, then left hand.

6. Make exaggerated eating movements.

7. Child in the middle names a new child to take their place.















1. Yo tengo

2. un tallarín, Un tallarín,

3. Que se mueve por aquí,

    Que se mueve por allá,

4.Todo pegoteado,

5. Con un poco de aceite,

    Con un poco de sal,

6. Y te lo comes ,

7. Y (nombre) sales a bailar.

There is a noodle to the right,

A noodle to the left,

Watch it wobble over here,

Watch it wobble over there,

All stuck fast together,

Add a little glug of oil,

A shake of salt and that’s it,

We’ll slurp, slurp, slurp it up!

And (name) comes in to dance.
































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