*Some of the links below are affiliate links—meaning that I receive a small commission (at no cost to you) for any purchases made through them. For my full disclosure policy, click here.
Back when my first was just an infant, I started collecting children’s music in Spanish. Trapped in a tiny apartment during a cold Milwaukee winter, I spent hours perusing the internet, hunting down bilingual parenting blogs and their recommendations for good Spanish-language artists. Once I found an album that I liked, I would play it for my son all day long—in the morning while we ate breakfast, during bath-time, or (especially) in the long hours before my husband arrived home from work each night. Although the temperature outside was often well below zero, inside our home was warm and festive, the atmosphere set by the wonderful music we had discovered.
Over the years, our family’s Spanish music collection has grown as I’ve sought to increase my sons’ daily exposure to the language, introduce them to Latin American culture, and maintain my own Spanish language skills. We’ve also recently begun to add to our Portuguese collection, since I’ve started teaching that language to my sons as well. Music has been one of the most powerful tools that we have used as non-native speakers raising multilingual children, and for that reason, I’m excited to share my recommendations for where you can find high-quality foreign language music to support your own homeschool language learning.
My recommendation is simple: hands down, our family’s favorite resource for finding foreign language music is Amazon Music Unlimited. Month after month, this low-cost subscription—less than two fancy coffees—proves itself invaluable to our homeschool. Here are four reasons why we love it so much:
- It is incredibly convenient—and even more so now that we’ve paired it with an Amazon Echo. For the first few years, we listened to all of our music with this inexpensive bluetooth speaker (which I love and highly recommend), and I appreciated that I could carry it around my house and even take it outside. The Echo, however, has taken our listening to another level. I love that I can use it to program playlists—which really helps make music a natural part of our homeschool day—and that I can control it with simple voice commands, which means that I’m not constantly fiddling with my phone when we want to listen to something new. Finally, because you can listen to Amazon Music Unlimited offline, we can also take it with us on-the-go and listen to it during car rides.
- Amazon Music Unlimited has helped me discover new artists that have become family favorites. Amazon’s recommendations bar has introduced us to new music that we wouldn’t have otherwise discovered—and allowed us to enjoy that music without spending thousands of dollars on it. Because we use music in many areas in our homeschool, I estimate that we have saved at least $1,000 by using Amazon Music Unlimited instead of buying individual albums. Which brings me to my next point...
- It’s multi-purpose: we use our Amazon Music Unlimited subscription for many other areas of homeschool learning. I currently use Amazon Music Unlimited for composer study and hymn study, and we also like to use it to casually listen to Spanish-language Christian music—killing two birds with one stone, as they say. My older son uses our subscription for elaborate imaginative play—he’ll listen to the score for Pirates of the Caribbean, for example (which he has definitely NOT seen), while he enacts his own swashbuckling adventures. And of course, as you might expect, both my kids love to use it for impromptu dance parties.
- Amazon Music Unlimited has enabled our family to build an extensive music collection without cluttering our house with hundreds of CDs. Although we recently moved out of our tiny apartment, our new home is still a relatively small space, and we simply don’t have room to house physical copies of all the music that we listen to. So I appreciate that I can store our music digitally, since it saves us space (and cleaning/organizing time for me!).
If you’d like to try Amazon Music Unlimited for yourself, you can sign up for a free trial here. And if you’re studying foreign languages at home, it really is worth a try. With this tool and a few simple strategies that I’ve developed, you can easily make music a key part of your homeschool language study.
Now, if you’re studying Spanish or Portuguese, like many members of our Language Learning At Home Facebook community, you’ll definitelywant to check out the music that we’ve used with our boys. I promise that this music is not only kid-approved, but mom-approved—I wouldn’t recommend anything that I wouldn’t willingly listen to myself. And by the way, if you’re studying another language, Amazon Music Unlimited can help you find great recommendations—click here for highly rated French children’s music and popular children’s music in Chinese.
Spanish Language and Bilingual Children’s Music
Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés (123 Andrés): This is the debut album of the group known as 123Andrés, comprised of Andrés Salguero and his wife, Christina. Combining Andrés's musical expertise and Christina's background in education, this delightful bilingual album teaches children basic greetings in Spanish, color vocabulary, and even action verbs and commands. Your children, of course, won’t realize that they’re learning all of this—they’ll just enjoy the incredibly fun music, which represents traditions from all across Latin America: from salsa to bachata to mariachi.
Arriba Abajo (123 Andrés): This second bilingual album by Andrés won a Latin Grammy, and once you listen to it, you’ll know why! The songs featured on this album exposure children to even more Latin styles of music, including danzón and the cha cha cha, using them to teach the parts of the body, basic counting skills, and the days of the week in Spanish (and more!). Andrés writes his music to appeal to both children and adults, so if you’re learning Spanish alongside your kids, this is definitely one album to use in your home!
La Luna (123 Andrés): This new album of Spanish language lullabies from Andrés features songs that vary from the whimsical to the haunting. Xavi’s favorite song is “Benjamin,” about a pirate who sails the seven seas collecting new words—like “astrolabio” and “ineffable”—as his treasures. It beautifully captures the fascination and delight that young children have with language. My personal favorite is “La Montaña," which I’ve had on repeat for the past few weeks—it is just so stunningly beautiful, I can’t stop listening to it (even when my kids aren’t around). Children of any age and adults will appreciate this enchanting album.
Learn Spanish with Cri Cri (Francisco Gabilondo Soler): Cri Cri—a cricket character created by Francisco Gabilondo Soler in the 1940’s—has been a staple of Mexican children’s music for the last sixty years or so. This collection of his songs includes such classics as “El Ratón Vaquero” (The Cowboy Rat) and “El Comal y La Olla” (The Comal and the Pot). Children who have some prior exposure to Spanish will appreciate the humorous narratives that feature strongly in many of these songs—they’re just so fun to follow along with! That said, and despite the fact that Cri Cri is such an important part of Mexican culture, I do feel obligated to note that there are two songs on this album that display a less-than-enlighted perspective on race, so if your children understand Spanish well, I would be sure to discuss with them the content of “El Negrito bailarín” and “Negrito Sandía,” or skip the songs entirely.
Caramba Kids (José Luis Orozco): José Luis Orozco is basically the Raffi of Spanish children’s music—and his traditional folk melodies have been entertaining kids for decades! Some of his top hits are collected on this album that’s available for streaming, and they are songs that I regularly sing to my kids throughout the day.
From Here to There (Nathalia): This bilingual album of children’s music features songs that will appeal highly to toddlers and preschoolers while also teaching them basic Spanish vocabulary. Most of the songs are written in a mix of Spanish and English, so even families who are just starting their Spanish study can appreciate it! Nathalia has a folksy, chill sound to her music, and I love to use this album to help my boys calm down after a busy afternoon of chasing each other throughout the house. We also like Nathalia’s other album, Dream a Little (Sueña un poquito), for its fun, danceable lyrics that teach kids about everything from the solar system to ecosystems.
Mi Viaje: De Nuevo León to the New York Island (Sonia de los Santos): I love this album for how it teaches children about the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world, introducing them to classic songs from all corners of the Americas—from Mexico to New York to the Dominican Republic. Sonia has a beautiful voice, and has featured many other talented musicians on this album; together, they perform various styles of music with all sorts of different instruments. This album would pair incredibly well with a geography study of Latin America, as your children could learn about many different Hispanophone countries simply by listening to it!
Spanish Language Children’s Christian Music
Cantos Bíblicos con Acción (Cedarmont Kids Music): This album could best be described as “Spanish Sunday School songs,” and young children especially enjoy it! It incorporates a lot of action songs, which are especially wonderful for helping kids to learn new words, since they engage a number of kids’ senses at once. Our family also enjoys the many other Spanish language offerings by Cedarmont kids, including hymns in Spanish and children’s praise songs (both available for streaming as well).
Ruido Alegre (Hillsong en español): My four-year-old loves this album of danceable praise music—it’s so catchy that it will get any kid off their feet! Moreover, it provides a good model for kids to praise the Lord and his great creation. I admit that the music itself is a bit too synthesized for my personal tastes, but it’s totally easy to listen to (just maybe not on endless repeat).
Pequeños Héroes (Generación 12 Kids): This album by the Spanish language children’s group Generación 12 (named after the 12 apostles) celebrates the heroes of the Bible, with songs about David, Joseph, and Noah, among others. The style of their music is best described as “rock en español,” and many of the songs on this album have a live performance component, making them sound like you're bringing a concert into your very own home.
Portuguese Language Children’s Music
Roda de Cantigas (Zé Zuca): Joyful children’s songs in Brazilian Portuguese fill this album by the late, renowned musician and performer José Carlos de Souza, also known as Zé Zuca. The subtitle of this album calls these “songs for dancing and singing” and you will definitely be tempted to do both while listening to this music! As a family who has just started our Portuguese learning journey, I deeply appreciate that the lyrics on this album are so easy to understand and sing along with—you can tell that Zé Zuca took great care to make this music a teaching tool.
Cantigas de roda e música infantil (A Superstar de cantigas de roda): This collection of traditional children’s songs in Portuguese is sure to delight young children—and you’lllikely recognize a lot of them as well! Many are Portuguese versions of songs that American children are already familiar with, such as “The Wheels on the Bus” and “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” which makes this a very easy album to use to teach your kids Portuguese.
Aquarela—Traditional Songs for Children in Brazilian Portuguese (Paulinho Garcia and Friends): The wonderful acoustic songs on this album (some of which are sung a cappella) will lend a calming influence to your homeschool. We love to listen to this music during dinnertime—it’s so sophisticated (but totally kid-appropriate) that it makes me feel like I’m enjoying a fresh air concert in Brazil! This is another album that I listen to even when my kids aren’t around—it’s just that good!
I hope that you enjoy these recommendations—they really are our family favorites! And by the way, if something here doesn’t sound like it suits your style, be sure to check out my resource library for more. I’ve got additional music that is sold only as CDs there!
If you have some great music that you’re using to learn languages in your homeschool, please leave your recommendations here, or join us over on Facebook to share!