It’s no secret that most children love songs and music. Not only do they enjoy music, they can learn a lot from it too. We’ve already suggested using Netflix shows and books to supplement language learning (of course, every language program should include a real live teacher, first!), but seriously consider using songs to help teach your child Spanish. If you desire to have your child learn Spanish as a second language, music is definitely one way you can incorporate the language into your home, even if you aren’t bilingual.
How Do Children Learn With Songs?
Before we get into the songs we suggest, it’s important to note that humans are naturally drawn to music, even children. Science says so. According to a study by Frontiers of Psychology, “every healthy human is born with the ability to appreciate [music].” Interestingly, the study suggests that language is a type of music from a child’s view.
Even with that being said, we wonder, can music really help with language acquisition? Obviously, we believe YES!
According to a study published in the Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal (LICEJ), “Language acquisition has a profound relationship with music in that they can both develop and support each other.” According to the study, using songs in language learning has helped with pronunciation. The study says that songs help with the expansion of grammar and vocabulary, as well as aid in the development of the skills needed for learning the target language in greater depth. The study raises an interesting point about why songs are effective. Songs are effective, many believe, because it requires listening, and listening is an important part of language acquisition. Here at TruFluency Kids, we believe listening should come first, just as we all learned our first language. So when parents say, “But I don’t hear my child speaking much at first.” That is like saying, I expect my child to play the piano without having ever seen, touched, or heard of a piano before.” Give it time.
Your child listened to you speak English for thousands of hours before they began speaking. Albeit, children in Spanish immersion classes will speak more quickly than a baby, of course, because they are purposely learning with a goal in mind, and the instructor is going to instruct them to speak and sing. So yes, they will speak more quickly, but still, be patient. What we see is a sudden burst of speaking, after months or even a year of listening. It’s quite remarkable what the brain is doing while the mouth is being silent.
In addition to that, the repetition that is a characteristic of most songs is helpful when acquiring a second language. According to the study, “such repetition enables the brain to remember learned content. As a matter of fact, the paper cited another study that found children who listened to an intervention text being sung actually had “significantly higher vocabulary gain” than the children who only heard it spoken.
Finally, music can simply put your child in a better mood. According to Kansas State University, “Listening to any kind of music helps build music-related pathways in the brain. And music can have positive effects on our moods that may make learning easier.”
Best Spanish Songs for Kids
Now that we’ve covered why music is critical for learning Spanish as a Second Language, here are 10 of the best Spanish songs that can help you teach your children the Spanish language.
Compadre compreme un coco by Jose Luis Orozco- This song is fun because it can be a little hard to say the words especially as it speeds up.
Chocolate by Jose Luis Orozco- This is another pleasant and catchy song to listen to. Yes, it’s about chocolate
De Colores by Joan Baez- This song is a staple for many young Spanish learners.
Diez había en la cama by Little Baby Bum- This song and the accompanying visuals are fun and can help with counting from 10 downwards.
Una patata, dos patatas by Little Baby Bum- This is a catchy song that may also help with learning numbers.
Un Elefante Se Balanceaba– This one is a classic nursery rhyme about elephants on a spider web, hilarious!
La Vaca Lechera– Another classic and popular Spanish nursery rhyme. This one is about a cow.
La rana cantaba debajo del agua– This one is full of vocabulary and it gets faster and faster which can be fun.
Estrellita Dónde Estás Con Letra– This is the Spanish of the classic “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
Mary tiene un corderitos – This is the Spanish version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
In addition to these songs, you can probably find the Spanish version of your child’s favorite nursery rhyme to supplement this list. YouTube will be your best friend for finding songs.
If the lyrics aren’t on the YouTube video, you can Google them and sing along with the video. If your child sees you smiling, gesturing and singing, they will be more inclined to join you. Watching the videos with them is a great option, because the videos often show what the song is about.
While Scholastic wasn’t speaking about language acquisition per se, we believe that when it comes to teaching with song, their article says to sing the whole song and not to worry if the children are catching on, because eventually they will. However, other articles believe writing out the lyrics is the best way to go. So if your child is over 5 or a strong writer, this can really help.
Can Spanish Songs Make My Child Bilingual?
No, they can’t, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful and supplement your live Spanish instructor-led online lessons. We believe that language acquisition requires quality interactions and hundreds of hours with the language – this can help give you that extra time with the language. While songs can help with pronunciation and vocabulary acquisition, to become bilingual, you’ll need more guided and intentional language learning with native speakers and live Spanish classes either in person or online.
Consider letting us teach them Spanish by either private lessons or small groups online. Check out a class for just $15! Our methods are tried and proven, so you can be confident in your child learning effectively learning Spanish. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.