Spanish & English instruction featuring The BOCA BETH Program Sing Praise for Children CD
Introduction: We began this CD in 2007 as a way to share my new-found faith in Jesus Christ, accepting him as my Lord and Savior and walking my adult life with him by my side. I had been raised in the Catholic Church but never knew the Word of the Lord as I am learning it now. So I felt a strong moving in my heart and soul to write some bilingual Christian songs for children.
Someone recently told me that a dad had said, “My daughter knows her prayers in Spanish already. Why should I have her learn them in English?” To which the child care provider who was caring for his child replied, “Why not?” It’s so true. We need to expand not only the minds but the hearts of the children we are raising to enter this very global society in which they will travel as young adults.
So I share with you the start of what I hope will become a full length bilingual Christian music CD for children and adults around the world.
Sing Praise/Canta la alabanza This is a fun song to do a hand jive with a partner. In fact, BOCA the mascot character and I have done it many times, and it’s simple. On the places in the song where words are being sung the hand jive is done, when it’s instruments only have the children do a little dance in place as they wait for the words to begin again.
The hand jive is double to the front thighs, double to hand clap in front of you, double to hand clap to your partners hands up in front of you both, back to double in front of you clapping alone, back to double to the front thighs. As the song ends, so does the hand jive clapping, and as you get used to the timing you will see you can end with a high clap with your partner (as if throwing your hands up in celebration to God!).
God is My Friend/Dios es mi amigo Look in your local Christian store for children’s felt board pieces that depict Jesus and the little children (Matthew 19: 13-15) and use these on a felt board as you sing this song about God, and enjoy the young children speaking in both Spanish and English about their God. Allow the children to ad lib how they use the felt pieces of Jesus and the children. If you do not have access to felt board items, have the children draw a picture of how they see Jesus interacting with children as he walked on Earth
I Bless Thee Dear Lord/Te bendigo Señor This is a very slow song sung to the tune of “On Top of Ol’ Smokey” I always find it very soothing to play at rest time or when I want the children to bring the level down in the room. A suggestion of what to do activity-wise with this song is to have each child hold something special to them – a doll, a stuffed animal, and a picture of mommy, whatever is available that they feel close to. Have the child simply love on this item or express love towards it. Allow the child to sing to it, to swing it around slowly in the air as if dancing with it or to talk to it as the song plays.
Jesus Always Sees You/Jesús te ve siempre This is a fun one to act out with the children in circle time. I gather up some children’s toys in the middle, child-sized broom/dustpan and a pretend vacuum cleaner. We talk first about sharing and helping. I ask certain children to share the toys in the middle of circle time with those on the outside of the circle during the first chorus. I assign two children to pretend they are helping around their home with the broom and vacuum. I then have the remaining children who have not ‘acted’ yet during this song to pretend they are helping someone on the outside of the circle do something (tie their shoe, cross the street, get a paper off the floor). The children love switching roles and playing this upbeat song at Jesus again and again!
My Life With God/Mi vida con dios I begin this song talking about how great life is with God in it. We talk about all of the things we have (family, trees, pets, food, friends….). We talk about how clear the day seems when you really walk with Jesus on the path of life. I ask the children to paint a picture of their life with God and to include God in the picture as this song plays again and again! Funny how music can inspire such bright and happy pictures full of hope!
La cucaracha/The Cockroach One of the silliest songs us English-speaking people have been humming to ourselves is this traditional Latin American song that, should you see the original version, you would never, ever bring the song close to a child’s young ears! But this one is meant for silliness. We will soon have a template available for you to make many Styrofoam cockroaches to have in your home or preschool/early elementary school classroom to act this song out with. When those are not available it’s just as fun to sing having the children use their wiggling fingers as cockroaches. When we sing about the cockroach not being able to walk and not having something, ask the children to make the negative hand motion of waving their flat hands in front of them parallel to the ground. At the end of the chorus ask the children to pretend they are drinking a glass of lemonade that the poor little cockroach does not have to drink! It’s a funny translation, it’s literal, and the kids love it!