MY KINDERGARTEN SPANISH STUDENTS are a wiggly bunch, and as much as they love to sing José Feliciano's song 'Feliz navidad' during December, adding another layer with musical instruments really focuses them, and provides an additional cultural component to the song. I do confess: I got this idea from our Music teacher, the magnificent Mr. Dyer, tweaked it a little to ensure I could do it entirely in Spanish, and ¡Ta-chán! The fun ensues!
START BY GATHERING TOGETHER a bunch of instruments from Spanish speaking countries (beg, borrow or steal!)- your school music teacher is a great resource, as are many gen ed teachers who have a stray maraca hanging about. Over the years, I have collected quite a collection, taking advantage of yard sales, Good Will, and others, but work with what you have.
PUT THE INSTRUMENTS OUT in the middle of your circle or in front of your students so they can see them and take a minute to point out various ones and where they are from. Here are the ones I have:
NEXT, HAND OUT AN INSTRUMENT to each kiddo. I find this avoids bickering over certain instruments if I hand them out, rather than having kids choose for themselves. Establish a 1...2, 1..2...3 rhythm with the instruments- this is what they will "play" during the song (feliz- two syllables, hence 1...2, and navidad- three syllables, hence 1..2..3). Next, practice the rhythm saying 'feliz navidad' as you practice.
HIT THE MUSIC AND BEGIN PLAYING FELIZ NAVIDAD... each time José Feliciano sings the words 'feliz navidad' have the students play the rhythm. When not playing the instruments, have your students hold them quietly in their laps (I put up my hand in a 'stop/ alto' gesture so they know when to stop- this is also great to help them with self control, so you are also building social skills :) ). My kiddos love this! Each class I redistribute the instruments so they get to play a variety over the course of a couple of weeks. Have fun!
HERE IS A QUICK VIDEO OF THE RHYTHM (please forgive my singing voice!):