Spanish choosing rhymes teach vocabulary, rhythm, pronunciation and culture to language learners.

Spanish choosing rhymes add language to a classroom or household. Choosing rhymes are used to start games, but kids can also recite them for fun. In Spanish, these rhymes are called retahilas. Reciting retahilas, children learn vocabulary, rhythm and sounds of Spanish. There are many different choosing rhymes and many variations of each one. You’ll find a download of popular Spanish choosing rhymes below.

Be sure to check our complete collection of traditional Spanish games for kids. With everything from playground games to board games, they are our favorite Spanish games for language learners.

Using Spanish Choosing Rhymes

Spanish choosing rhymes can be incorporated into classroom or household routines. They can be recited in pairs or small groups to make a choice. Rhymes can also be recited as a large group to select which game to play or song to sing. In either case, using a choosing rhyme adds an element of chance and fun. Try using choosing rhymes when there is a choice or decision to be made.

Popular Spanish Choosing Rhymes

De tin marín, is one of the most common of the many popular Spanish choosing rhymes. My children learned it when they were little and used it with their friends in Mexico. The last line is about hitting, so it is not something that I would choose to teach children, so it is not on the printable.

However, I understand that De tin marín is a traditional rhyme, so I have included it below. There are many other Spanish choosing rhymes that teach common vocabulary and work well with language learners.

There are hundreds of traditional Spanish choosing rhymes. Search retahilas on YouTube to listen the rhymes below and many others.

You can download a printable version of these Spanish choosing rhymes here.

With the first two rhymes, count the age. The last person is out.

El cielo

El cielo es azul.
¿Cuántos años tienes tú?


Zapatito blanco, zapatito azul.
Dime ¿cuántos años tienes tú?

Manzana, manzana

Manzana, manzana
manzana podrida.
Uno, dos, tres, salida.

A, E, I, O, U

A, E, I, O, U
Arbolito de Perú
Yo me llamo (nombre)
¿Cómo te llamas tú?

The next two rhymes, Manzanita del Perú and En un café, are traditional counting-out rhymes to start games. For both, kids usually count to ten, but sometimes they stop at three, since tres and diez rhyme. I have also seen Manzanita del Perú used as a jump rope rhyme.

Manzanita del Perú

Manzanita del Perú,
¿cuántos años tienes tú?
Todavía no lo sé,
pero pronto lo sabré.
¡Y 1, y 2, y 3!
(y 4, y 5, y 6, y 7, y 8, y 9, y 10!)

En un café

En un café
se rifa un pez
al que le toque
el número tres (diez).
Uno, dos, y tres!
(cuatro, cinco, seis,
siete, ocho, nueve y diez!)

In this version, a cat (un gato) is being raffled off, and kids count to four (cuatro).

En un café

En un café
se rifa un gato,
al que le toque
el número cuatro,
uno, dos, tres y cuatro.

Una araña

Una araña en su casita,
con su hijo teje y teje,
soy más listo que toditos,
y desde ahora soy el jefe.

A la vuelta de mi casa

A la vuelta de mi casa,
Me encontré con Pinocho,
Y me dijo que contara
hasta ocho.
Pin, uno, pin, dos,
pin, tres, pin, cuatro,
pin, cinco, pin, seis,
pin, siete, pin, ocho…

La gallina Francolina

La gallina Francolina
puso un huevo en la cocina.
puso uno, puso dos,
puso tres, puso cuatro,
puso cinco, puso seis,
puso siete, puso ocho,
puso un pan de bizcocho.

Pito, pito, colorito

Pito, pito, colorito.
¿Dónde vas tú tan bonito?
A la acera verdadera.
Pin, pan, pun, fuera.

La casa de Francisco

Todos cuentan hasta cinco
en la casa de Francisco
uno, dos, tres, cuatro y cinco.

As I mentioned, I include De tin marín here because it is traditional. I do not teach it in my classes, but it is undoubtedly the most common Spanish choosing rhyme in Latin America. The first two lines are nonsense words.

De tin marín

De tin marín, de dos pingüé,
cúcara mácara, títere fue.
Yo no fui, fue Teté,
Pégale, pégale, que ella fue.

Photo Credit: twid Flickr via Compfight cc

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