Learning with Canticos: Talk, Sing, Read, Write, and Play with Little Elephants/Elefantitos

Early Literacy
By Nuria Santamaría Wolfe


Here are some tips to help you maximize the learning and fun with the second title in the Canticos book series:  Little Elephants/Elefantitos - Based on a traditional Spanish counting song, this book features the popular song “Un Elefante Se Balanceaba...”.

In it, a growing number of elefantitos balance on a spiderweb, much to the annoyance of the spider. Counting with each additional elephant, children become familiar counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...until all the elephants fall down! Similar to “Monkeys Jumping on the Bed,” this song will have your little ones laughing along as they learn number association in this classic children’s song.

1. Talk

Use the book to talk about animals like elephants and spiders (their sizes and weights, the sounds they make, etc.) and numbers (counting up to 5, 10, etc.). This is a great book to teach little ones to count. Lift the flaps to reveal the name of each number in English and Spanish.

2. Sing

This song is so fun to sing! The repetitive lyrics lend themselves to singing faster and faster as more and more elephants climb onto the spider web and the anticipation grows. Will the spider web be able to hold one more elephant? The big ‘Oooops’ at the end is our big finale (and cue to start again).

Not a Spanish speaker? Don’t know the tune? No problem!

Check out the sing-along video here to see the lyrics and to hear the correct pronunciation.

3. Read

What’s more fun than reading a great story? Reading it twice in two languages.

Deluxe book: Read the story once in English. Flip the book and read it in Spanish. Open the book and stretch all pages open to see how the spider web connects across all spreads and: 1. Lay it flat on the floor to see the whole story at once or 2. Stand it up and connect the ends into a circle to sit inside and be surrounded by the story.

Board book: Pick one language to read the story through. Start again in the second language.

4. Write

Practice tracing or writing numbers, depending on your child's ability, using the number (“1”) or word (“one”). Ask: If you were the spider and an elephant climbed on your web, what would you do? Have your child write or draw the answer.

5. Play

Get little ones stomping their feet as if they were imitating elephants marching along to the beat of the song. As the song speeds up, they march faster and faster. Or ask them to practice their trumpeting as they raise one arm to the sky as if it were the long trunk of an elephant. Or practice building a spider web tapping the right index finger to the left thumb followed by the left index finger to the right thumb, switching them several times as in Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Find more resources in our Parents resource center here.

About the author

Nuria is an entrepreneur and mom raising two bilingual children. She joined forces with another mom, Susie Jaramillo, and founded Encantos – a family entertainment and education company for today’s multicultural families.

Together they launched Canticos – a bilingual baby and toddler brand with books, apps, and sing-along videos is the first brand from. Nuria serves as Executive Producer of Canticos digital shorts which are now available across Nick Jr.’s digital preschool platforms: on NickJr.com/Canticos, Nick Jr.’s YouTube page and on the Nick Jr. and NOGGIN apps.

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