Thursday, May 26, 2011

World Music Class: Games and Music of Mexico and South America

Since my kids are learning a bit about the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas we decided to jump to South America with our world music class.  We are enjoying music, geography and games from Mexico and South America.

Here's what we're covered with our friends the past couple of weeks:

*We all sing hello and each child chooses a movement for the rest of the group to follow.

*I pull out the guitar and we sing two or three folk songs/kids songs together.  This session we're doing On Top of Old Smokey, On Top of Spaghetti, and Yankee Doodle. That's because we're learning la Cucaracha on the glockenspiel and it is a protest song similar in vein to Yankee Doodle.

*We have a rhythm sheet I made and we clap out the rhythm for la Cucaracha

*Then we all take a turn playing la Cucaracha on the glockenspiel (I have the notes written out, but not the musical notation. We haven't covered that yet.)

*We always cover a bit of geography in our class--and start off with the continent song (to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Europe, Asia, Af-ri-ca
North America, South America
Then there is Antarctica
Don't forget Australia
Seven continents, Seven continents

(See how to make your own continent pin map here.)
The kids all know it now, but I still like to review it each class. Also, the kids from the three-year old music class usually join in for the first part of class before they lose interest and go play, so ED is starting to know the continents too!

We are learning the countries and capitals of South America with the help of this video.  The kids try to sing along as best they can.  I have the capitals and countries written out, but the kids are only five so don't read well. We just fumble along best we can!

Caracas, Venezuela
Bogata, Columbia
Quito Ecuador
Lima, Peru
La Paz, Bolivia
Asuncion, Paraguay
Santiago, Chile
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Montevideo, Uruguay
Brasilia, Brazil

I got the South American country flags (free) from Montessori Materials.

*South American cookie map project: Instead of the same ole pin map, we made a South America cookie (one per child) with five country flags (just five from the song), chocolate chip Andes Mountains and one long, blue piece of Amazon spaghetti for the river!

South America Cookie Pin Map
 *We did the Mexican Hat Dance and the kids practiced dancing with their heels touching the floor. They did an impressive job. Even our 3-yr old friend managed to do it!

*We have been acting out the story of Don Gato (a Mexican folk tale); we've been acting it out with instruments. Next week I may use the book Señor Don Gato : a traditional song, which I borrowed from the library.

*We also might sing the song (sheet music here) and the lyrics in English and Spanish can be found at or by searching the web. A youtube version (with cute video) can be found here.

*We played a cute Mexican circle game called A Guanchilopostle where one child is in the middle, the rest hold hands and circle round him/her. On the chorus, the one in the middle dances while the others clap. Then he/she closes his/her eyes to choose another to be in the middle. Lyrics, MP3 recording can be found at

*The Toad and Mosquitoes -- El Sapo Game (Mexico)
The mosquitoes hold hands and circle the toad. They change directions every verse. When the song comes to an end, the toad tries to catch one of the mosquitoes.

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Amazing project!!! Love EVERYTHING!! That Sapo game sounds like "Papa Caliente"!! Thanks so much for share this beautiful work!!!

  2. I just googled something and came across your blog, and I immediately started following. I am going to look around a bit more. I love to incorporate both music and geography into our days, you have so many good ideas in this post!