If you’re looking for ways to keep the Spanish language and Latin culture alive in your children, filling your home or car with Spanish and bilingual music may help pique their interests and build their Spanish vocabulary in a fun and natural way. There are actually tons of Spanish language children’s albums to choose from.
Of course, you can always make a point to continue playing Latin music like salsa, merengue and Latin pop in your home on a regular basis, but kids love music made just for them—from traditional kinder rhymes to Latin rock-inspired tunes, many artists have created full-length albums that’ll help teach your kids colors, numbers, letters and much more in Spanish.
There are even an array of classic songs that have been translated from English, songs that chronicle the Latino and immigrant experiences and songs that are just plain fun. Many of these artists also have accompanying YouTube channels that little kids go absolutely bonkers for. Here are 16 songs your little one is sure to love.
In early April 2018, children’s artists Elizabeth Mitchell and Suni Paz are set to realease Tu Eres Mi Flor, a collection of classic American folk songs with simple repetitive lyrics that have been adapted and translated for the Spanish speaking and bilingual audience. The use of Spanish guitar rhythms and other traditional Latin American instruments, turn tunes like You Are My Sunshine (Tu Eres Mi Sol) and Row, Row, Row Your Boat (Rema, Rema, Rema El Bote) into something new and fun for children to enjoy and learn from.
In Mexican-born Sonia de los Santos’s Mi Viaje she uses her delicate vocals and pretty melodies to chronicle her experience growing up in Mexico and later emigrating to the United States. Her use of both old songs like This Land is Your Land (Esta Es Tu Tierra) and new songs like Monterrey, makes the important connection between remembering your roots and learning how to be a part of a new community.
Grammy-nominated children’s artist 123 Andres uses traditional Latin rhythms to guide children through learning colors, numbers, letters and more in his bilingual album Uno, Dos, Tres Andres en Espanol y en Ingles, but a highlight of this acclaimed album are the songs that feature messages of love, inclusion and acceptance like Hello Friend and Mi Padre Fue Un Trabajador Migrante.
In his 2016 album Arriba Abajo, 123 Andres takes more of a cultural turn with a collection of easy-to-sing-along original songs that are super-fun for children to dance and jump to. Again, there are songs in both English and Spanish, most of which draw inspiration from countries throughout both North America and South America. 123 Andres is also set to release an album of bedtime songs later in 2018.
Juan-Luis Orozco has been making children’s music for a long time and has over a dozen albums under his belt. One of our favorites is Come Bien!, which is all about different foods. The album features the English and Spanish versions of 15 different songs that build an interest in food and eating by describing a complete sensory experience. Some of Orozco’s songs will help children become more mindful about what they’re eating and others are dedicated entirely to favorite foods like chocolate and tortillas.
Putamayo’s Latin Dreamland is a gorgeous collection of Spanish-language lullabies from artists representing many countries throughout Latin America. The album features both old and new tracks, some with vocals and others completely instrumental—all utterly mellow, making the album ideal to incorporate into your kids’ bedtime routine.
On the other end of the musical spectrum is Putamayo’s Latin Playground, which is absolutely bursting with Latin dance music from various countries, including classic songs like Guantanamera and Bomba Le Le. It’s a great way to expose your children to traditional Latin sounds and get them moving to music that’s equally appealing to both children and adults.
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band are the first American act to ever win a Latin Grammy, and it’s for good reason. The band is fronted by Lucky Diaz and his wife Alisha Gaddis, who create imaginative, modern rock-and-roll inspired music for children. The Grammy-winnning Fantastico! is the band’s first bilingual album, and features translations of some of their earlier English tracks as well as some original Spanish-language songs.
After the success of Fantastico!, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band released a second bilingual album entitled Adelante which features the same up-tempo rockin’ musical style, with songs that have more of a learning component like Cuantos Tacos and ABC Adelante along with a few perfect party hits like Cha Cha Cha and Pinata Attack. Also be sure to check out the band’s YouTube page—my kids are obsessed.
There is so much to love about Moona Luna’s Panorama, from the concept of a trip through South America to the lead singer’s absolutely gorgeous vocals, the album is something that parents and children can truly enjoy together. It features songs in both English and Spanish, with lyrics focused on family bonding and the joys of experiencing new things. In fact, it’s the perfect family road trip album!
Another Latin Grammy winner, Mister G has been making beloved bilingual children’s music for years. We love Mundo Verde because it’s fun to dance to and features musical styles from throughout Latin America including salsa, merengue, bomba and more, but it also sends a wonderful message about appreciating and caring for the world around us. There are songs dedicated to the stars, el coqui and bees, among others.
Mister G’s Chocolalala is a great learning album with songs that are a bit slowed down compared to those on Mundo Verde. The tracks focus more on teaching some basics like colors and numbers, as well as some other important concepts like kindness and patience. It even ends with a beautiful lullaby.
In Colombian singer Nathalia’s Cuando Era Pequeña, she drew on her own childhood experiences to create a truly bilingual album that kids of all ages can relate to. There are songs about everything from listening to a rainstorm to struggles with learning math. Nathalia’s popstar voice and intriguing mid-tempo beats make for the type of songs that will be stuck in everyone’s head after one listen.
Salsa for babies! No really, that’s what Salsa for Kittens and Puppies really is—classic kids’ songs like Wheels on the Bus and Old McDonald set to salsa rhythms. It’s really fun to hear some of these timeless preschool tunes sung to music that we can relate to from a cultural perspective. Plus, there are a few original Latin kids songs like Bailar Rapido and and La Rana in there as well.
Joel Valle’s Mi Guittari is a series of gentle, guitar-based learning songs that are ideal for teaching toddlers and young kids some Spanish vocabulary. Tracks include an ABC song, a song about body parts, one about the days of the week and one about the months of the year among many others. The lyrics are sung very clearly and slowly which makes it easy for children to pick up the vocabulary and actually learn as they listen.
This Spanglish Sing-a-Long album is another great tool for teaching kids some Spanish-language basics. The songs are actually a folksy country music style, and the vocalist seems to be talking more than singing. The album is completely in Spanglish which is both fun and funny to listen to. That said, the unusual style makes it pretty easy for kids to pick up on new vocabulary, so if you’re hoping for something that will help teach your kids Spanish, this is a good one.