Song with actions in Spanish

Children need to hear the past tenses in Spanish over and over before they can use them. There are two past tenses in Spanish and context will determine which one is correct in any given situation. Listening to narration in the past a child begins to understand the difference in the two tenses, but it takes extended exposure to both Spanish past tenses in context to be able to produce them accurately. Reading stories, watching videos, talking about what just happened, or what you did yesterday, or what life was like when you were a child – these are all important to give children as much exposure as possible to the complicated conceptual task of distinguishing between the preterite and the imperfect.

Singing songs is a way that children can produce Spanish verb tenses correctly before they have mastered them enough to use them in unstructured situations.  This song uses verbs in the imperfect as it tells the story of two hands – telling what they used to do, and describing how they felt.

All of the verbs in this song are in the imperfect, and you can hear the natural rhyme and rhythm of the tense.  The actions reinforce the meaning of most of the verbs.  It is important to clarify the phrases cuando estaba contenta (when it was happy) and cuando estaba triste (when it was sad) with facial expressions (exaggerated facial expressions until you are sure the children understand).

The words in Spanish and the English translation follow the video. Thank you to the wonderful people at Yo canto y bailo esta canción for permission to embed this video.

Había una vez una mano / There was once a hand

que subía, que bajaba y subía. / that would go up and go down and go up.

Que cuando estaba contenta, bailaba / When it was happy, it would dance,

y cuando estaba triste, se escondía. / and when it was sad, it would hide.

Había una vez otra mano / There was once another hand

que sacudía, sacudía, sacudía. / that would shake, would shake, would shake.

Que cuando estaba contenta, bailaba / When it was happy, it would dance

y cuando estaba triste, se escondía. / and when it was sad, it would hide.

Había una vez dos manos / There were once two hands

que aplaudían, aplaudían, aplaudían / that would clap, would clap, would clap.

Que cuando estaban contentas, bailaban / When they were happy, they would dance

y cuando estaban tristes, se escondían. / and when they were sad, they would hide.

 

Picture book teaches animals and verbs in Spanish
Spanish, Sisters, Summer

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