Teaching (and maintaining!) a second language to your child is easy when you incorporate music in your daily routine. It’s also a fabulous way to introduce your child to culture and prepare him or her for living in our global society. Below are seven excellent Spanish – or bilingual – albums created just for kids.
El Doble de Amigos by Sol y Canto
Recorded by the talented Pan-Latin group, Sol y Canto, El Doble de Amigos is a lively collection of bilingual children’s songs set to Latin rhythms. Parents may recognize the traditional songs like Chequi morena and Barquito de papel that are mixed in with some of the band’s original songs. A truly bilingual album, the musicians move quickly back and forth between Spanish and English with perfect ease. Guaranteed to make your child dance, it is the perfect way to help to boost your kid’s bilingualism and appreciation of Latin culture.
Canciones en Español by Music with Sara
For Spanish-only music that is still fun and easy for kids to learn, check out Music with Sara. Her versions of the selected Latin American children’s songs are original and creative. I especially love how the voices of other children singing are included, as it encourages any child listening to the album to sing along. Sara’s melodies are short and easy for kids to remember, and they can easily relate to the subjects of her songs. The best part? Her songs are available for immediate download.
Canciones para ninos, con solo voces by Ensamble Rincón
This is certainly one of the best a cappella albums for children that I’ve heard in Spanish. The songs are fun and full of rhythm. With titles like La Rana Cubana, Caracol, and Tres Hipopotamos, your child is sure to be fascinated with the stories that each song tells. You can listen to samples of each song by clicking the link above. Available as a MP3 album only.
Latin Playground by Putumayo
This award-winning album is an eclectic collection of music from across the Americas. Latin Playground introduces culture and language through popular songs like Guantanamera, Cielito Lindo, and many others. Their new and improved version includes five new songs. Parents might especially appreciate how they can download the song lyrics, as well as a teaching guide and map to extend the learning opportunity.
LinaLuna by Lina Luna
Older children may prefer the more modern music of LinaLuna. Her Latin Pop style features positive messages for children set to a lively beat. The songs are in Spanish only and focus on child-themed subjects like planeta Tierra (Planet Earth), el sol (The Sun), and el mar (The Sea), to name a few. It is available as both an Audio CD or MP3.
Latin Lullaby by Various Artists
A collection of new and classic lullabies from Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Cuba, and Argentina. Sung by a number of talented musicians including folksinger Tish Hinojosa and Cuban opera diva Clara Alonso. This soothing album features many tunes frequently sung by mothers across Latin America to put their babies to bed. Available as both an audio CD and MP3.
De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs by José-Luis Orozco
And, of course, we cannot neglect to mention the album of musician, José-Luis Orozco. It is one of the best collections of children’s songs in Spanish on the market and features many of the traditional nursery rhymes familiar to children all over Latin America. El Coqui, Caballito blanco, Los pollitos, and (of course!) De colores are just some of the titles included in this album. Available both as an audio CD and MP3.
Monica Olivera Hazelton, NBC Latino contributor and the founder and publisher of MommyMaestra.com, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by LATISM.