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. It has a great rhythm for jumping!
Spanish rhymes like these are a good way for beginning learners to produce the language. Chanting a rhyme, kids will use vocabulary and structures that they understand, but would not be able to use in conversation. Spanish rhymes also let kids use more language, speaking in full sentences rather than giving one or two word answers. Short answers are perfectly normal in conversation, but they do not give beginning learners much practice.
Chanting these traditional Spanish rhymes kids learn the rhythm of the language. They are great for choosing who will be it or who will start a game. They are also fun to say and good language practice.
Spanish Rhyme – Manzanita del Perú
Listen to an mp3 of Manzanita del Perú
Manzanita del Perú, / Little apple from Perú,
¿cuántos años tienes tú? / how old are you?
Todavía no lo sé, / I still don’t know.
pero pronto lo sabré. / But I will know soon.
¡Y 1, y 2, y 3, y 4, y 5, / and 1, and 2, and 3, and 4, and 5,
y 6, y 7, y 8, y 9, y 10! / and 6, and 7, and 8, and 9 and 10!
Spanish Rhyme – En un café
Listen to an mp3 of En un café
En un café / In a café
se rifa un pez / they’re raffling a fish
al que le toque / off to the one who gets
el número diez. / number ten.
Uno, dos, tres / One, two, three
cuatro, cinco, seis, / four, five, six
siete, ocho, nueve / seven, eight, nine
y diez. / and ten.
In another version, a cat (un gato) is being raffled off and in that case, kids count to four (cuatro).
En un café
se rifa un gato,
al que le toque
el número cuatro,
uno, dos, tres y cuatro.
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