The snow is almost gone here in Wisconsin, and many of us are talking and singing about the change of seasons with our kids. Los pollitos is a traditional song that fits in well if you are talking about spring, hens, eggs and chicks.
Los Pollitos Vocabulary
I like to sing this song in class because it has lots of useful vocabulary. It describes how a hen takes care of her chicks, and children learn the phrases tener hambre (to be hungry) and tener frío (to be cold). It also uses the common verbs decir, buscar, dar and dormir in a context where children can easily understand them.
The song starts Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío (The chicks say peep, peep, peep). This is an opportunity to talk about other animal sounds, so that kids can get more practice with the verb decir and with animal vocabulary. Using the structure ¿Qué dice el/la…..?, I show kids a cut-out or picture of an animal. This way I am sure that they associate the word they hear with the image and the animal sound they make.
You can also talk about how animal sounds are a little different in different languages. These are some of the sounds that farm animals make in Spanish:
caballo (horse) – jiiiiiii, iiiiou
cabra (goat) – bee bee
cerdo (pig): – oinc-oinc
gallina (hen) – coc co co coc
gallo (rooster) – kikirikí
gato (cat) – miau
oveja (sheep): bee, mee
pato (duck): cuac cuac
perro (dog): guau guau
vaca (cow): mu
Because the song is traditional, there are versions with slightly different lyrics. I teach a very common version with these words:
Los pollitos dicen pío, pío, pío
Cuando tienen hambre, cuando tienen frío.
La gallina busca el maíz y el trigo.
Les da la comida y les presta abrigo.
Bajo sus dos alas, acurrucaditos
Hasta el otro día, duermen los pollitos.
Here is a video with the lyrics on the screen and illustrations to support the meaning of the words.
Story-Coloring Books of Two Traditional Songs
You can purchase a download of the illustrations from the video to make a book and use as coloring pages. The download also includes other activities for the song and another coloring-story book Debajo de un botón. Get Los Pollitos and Debajo de un Botón here.