Els animals pequeños

Aquel caracol

Debajo un botón

Don Melitón

El caracolito

El gato y el ratón

El toro Toronjil

La cucaracha

Los pescaditos

Una mosca

Una pulga y un ratón


Last updated: 10/6/2015 4:35 PM


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

compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

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To listen to music from these songs click on O

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


© 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.



Aquel caracol O


What a lovely expressive word for a snail: ‘caracol’!

A song for springtime when the blossom is on the trees.


Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmQ6EsrChGU


Make circles of four to six. Choose a leader.














Aquel caracol, que va por el sol,

En cada ramita, llevaba una flor.

As snail hides away from heat of the sun,

On each little twiglet the blossom it has sprung.


¡Que viva la gala,

Que viva el amor,

Que viva la concha de aquel caracol!

Here’s cheers to the splendour,

Here’s cheers to all love,

Here’s cheers to the snail with its wonderful shell!

Squat down and make finger horns.

Rise up and stretch fingers into waving branches of trees in blossom.


Hold hands and skip clockwise.


Leader drops hands then walks around the inside of the circle followed by the others until the circle is ‘wound up.

Finish with a quick unwinding and leap into the air


























Debajo un botón O


Enjoy the repetition of the last syllable of every sentence in this popular Spanish nursery rhyme. For more a more effective translation replace ‘mouse’ with ‘kitten, ten, ten’ ‘wearing a mitten ten ten’.


Listen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtLHwF5VDCM




Skip around the room in ones or twos and stop to clap, stamp or slap knees to the last three syllables of each line.













Debajo un botón, tón, tón,

Del señor Martín, tín, tín,

Había un ratón, tón, tón,

¡Ay! Qué chiqui tín, tín, tín.


¡Ay! Qué chiqui tín, tín, tín,

Era aquel  un ratón, tón, tón,

Que encontró Martín, tín, tín,

Debajo un botón, tón, tón.

Under a button, ton, ton,

Of Mr. Martin, tin, tin,

Lived a little mouse, mouse, mouse,

Oh! So very tiny, ny, ny.


Oh! So very tiny, ny, ny,

Was that little mouse, mouse, mouse,

Found by Mr. Martin, tin, tin,

Under a button, ton, ton.






























Don Melitón O


A classic Spanish nursery rhyme.

Make two circles; a large outer one and one made by three chosen kittens.


Listen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfYMkk3pkeA&feature=related




The outer circle skips anticlockwise, the inner in the opposite direction. At the third line the kittens stop to mime eating nougat as the outside circle skips clockwise. On the last line the circle moves forward with arms raised. The kittens escape through the arches made to each stand behind a child who becomes a new kitten when the next game is played.















Don Melitón tenía tres gatos,

Y los hacía bailar en un plato,

Y por las noches les daba turrón,

¡Qué vivan los gatos de Don Melitón!

Don Meliton had three little kittens,

They danced on a plate to a fanciful rhythm,

And in the evening ate nougat bonbons,

It’s long live those kittens of Don Meliton!



















El caracolito O



Spiral games about snails like this one are heard throughout Europe.


Listen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZz0CpuWPQM




Make two or three circles with hands clasped except for the leader and last child. The leader of each group walk round the inside of the circle followed by the others until each group is ‘wound up’. The leader then turns and retraces steps until all are back in place. On ‘Saca tus...’ crouch down and make horns on head with fingers.
















Soy caracolito, que alegre y contento,

Sin tener patitas, cruzo los senderos,

Mi linda casita, siempre a cuestas llevo,

Y si me la quitan me da mucho miedo.


Caracol, caracol, caracolito,


Caracol, caracol, hay que bonito.

Saca tus cuernos al sol,

Saca tus cuernos al sol.



I’m a little snail who is cheerful and contented,

I’m a little snail who is cheerful and contented,

I can cross footpaths though I have no legs, it’s true,

On my back I have a house, it is really rather splendid,

If it disappeared, oh, whatever should I do?


See the snail, see the snail, see the snail, its foot is slimy,


See the snail, see the snail; oh it has a shell so shiny.

Draw your horns in, here’s the sun,

Draw your horns in, here’s the sun.


























El gato y el ratón O


‘The cat and the mouse’ is a playground game from Puerto Rica although forms of this game are played all over the world.

The game is played without music here:





Children hold hands and skip in a circle. A cat runs round the outside and a mouse waits safely inside. The children attempt to prevent the cat entering the circle.

If the cat is successful the mouse, helped by the children, escapes to the outside. The chase continues through holes in the circle until the mouse is caught and two new children are chosen to be cat and mouse.
















Ahí viene el gato y el ratón,

A darle combate al tiburón.

Ratón, que te cojo, que te cojí,

Detrás de la mata de ajonjolí.

Watch out mousie, cat is creeping near,

Run away or you’ll be eaten here.

We will do our best to hide you mouse, Cat’s behind you, run outside our house.






















El toro Toronjil O



This popular singing game is from Central America can become quite an excitable activity as children wait in anticipation for the frog’s reply. Toronjil is the name of a medicinal herb used by the Aztecs and a lemon scented balm.


Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIpVNoH5gvM




Chose a child to be frog. The circle skips round the frog, who mimes the words. At the end of the song the frog is asked how she feels. If she answers ‘bien’ / ‘well’ she stays for another game. If it is ‘engusanada’/ ‘full of maggots’ she chases the fleeing children. The one caught then becomes the new frog.
















Vamos a la vuelta

Del toro Toronjil,

A ver a la rana

Comiendo perejil.


La rana no está aqui

Estará en su vergel,

Cortando una rosa

Sembrando un clavel.



¿Como amaneció la rana?..

Bien o engusanada!

How are you this morning little frog?

Good or full of maggots!

Round and round we all go,

The herb called Toronjil,

To see little frog there

Who’s eating parsley still.


Now little frog has disappeared,

And to her garden gone,

To prune all her roses

And plant carnations.

















La cucaracha O


Pick up the maracas and get moving to the rhythm of ‘La cucaracha’.

In the traditional song cockroach is lacking two back feet, in the military version marihuana is the missing element.


Listen at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j8_XAwB5P4&feature=related

Watch at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1if8F4Dzy4&feature=related

Find a more formal dance at:
















La cucaracha, la cucaracha,

Ya no puede caminar.

Porque le falta, porque le falta,

Limonada que tomar.

The little cockroach, the little cockroach,

Can no longer run berserk.

Because he needs some, he really needs some,

Lemonade to quench his thirst.
































Los pescaditos O


This song with its gentle minor key makes a good calming down game. The tune below is adapted from the French version of the song but if anyone knows the Spanish music I would be delighted to hear it sung.


Encourage the children to suggest other animals and the movements they might make e.g. cats prowling, snakes slithering, mice scampering.




Mime actions around the room; Swimming motions with hands, flap arms to fly, press thumb and forefinger together. Check use of space to allow for big strong arm movements.


















Los pescaditos andan en el agua, Nadan, nadan, nadan,

Vuelan, vuelan, vuelan.

Son chiquititos, chiquititos,

Vuelan, vuelan, vuelan,

Nadan, nadan, nadan.


See all the little fish swim in the water,

Swimming, swimming, swimming,

Flying, flying, flying.

See the little ones, little ones swim,

Flying, flying, flying,

Swimming, swimming, swimming.





















Una mosca O


Watch out for that pesky fly! This active cumulative song is written by Cecilia Rogier and Chacho Marceillac.


Watch Grupo Encanto at:





Fly around the room and land on a designated spot (small hoop or place mat). Add new movements each time the song is sung before flying off once again.

At the end sit down on the spot and clap.















Una mosca que viene volando

se para en un trozo,

Un trozo de pan, un trozo de pan.


Una mosca que viene volando

se para en un trozo,

vuelta en un trozo,

Un trozo de pan, un trozo de pan.


Una mosca que viene volando

Se para en un trozo,

vuela en un trozo,

zapatea en un trozo,

Un trozo de pan, un trozo de pan.



…se rasca en un trozo,…

…se sacude en un trozo,…

…salta en una pata,…

…salta en la otra pata,…

…se agacha en un trozo,…

…se sienta en un trozo,…

…y aplaude al final…

Well a blue fly came flying he flew by to land on a morsel,

A morsel of bread, a morsel of bread.


Well a blue fly came flying he flew by

to land on a morsel,

spun round on a morsel,

A morsel of bread, a morsel of bread.


Well a blue fly came flying he flew by

to land on a morsel,

spun round on a morsel,

stamp stamped on a morsel,

A morsel of bread, a morsel of bread.



...scritch scratched on a morsel,....

...shaky shaked on a morsel,.....

...hip hopped on one foot,....

...hip hopped on the other,....

...crouched down on a morsel,....

...sat still on a morsel,...

...and clapped at the end…..





Una pulga y un ratón O


This game encourages co-operation between participants and is played in the same manner as ‘El cocherito, leré. An ‘estanco’ is a tobacconist that also sell stamps, bus and subway passes and sometimes newspapers. Introduce the names of other shops especially if you have issues with the primary role of an ‘estanco’!

In the full version of this song the protagonists steal matches and are soundly beaten with a broom by the tobacconist.


Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVF5Mfm8SJo


Practice bending the knees for each ‘¡Pachín!in an inward facing circle walking to the left. Once the children can do this easily, bunch up tightly one behind the other in a clockwise facing circle.




Walk round holding on to the waist or shoulders of the child in front. Each time ‘¡Pachín!’ is sung children bend knees deeply so each one sits on the lap of the child behind.






















Una pulga y un ratón

Y un escarabajo blanco, ¡Pachín!,

Para para ¡Pachín!, para para ¡Pachín!


Se pusieron a jugar

A la puerta de un estanco, ¡Pachín!,

Para para ¡Pachín!, para para ¡Pachín!

Once there lived a flea and mouse

And a beetle it was white, oh, Pachín!,

Para,para ¡Pachín!, para para ¡Pachín!


They were playing happily

At the door of a news seller, Pachín!

Para para ¡Pachín!, para para ¡Pachín!


With familiarity other shops can be added:

una farmacia     chemist

una carnicería   butcher

una pescadería   fishmonger

una panadería   baker



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