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Monday, April 8th, 2013

Learn Latin American Children’s Music Through Chocolate

Kids and chocolate image via shutterstock

Have you ever heard of a molinillo? A molinillo is a traditional Mexican wood whisk.


courtesy: Scott Phillips


It is primarily used in the preparation of hot beverages, like hot chocolate. The molinillo is held between the palms and rotated by rubbing the palms together, the rotation creates the froth in the drink.


courtesy: chroniclebooks


You might ask now what does a molinillo have to do with music. Well, let me explain.


I am currently teaching a session of classes on music and movement from Latin America. As an introduction to music from Mexico I ask the children if they know where chocolate comes from. After hearing their creative ideas, I explain to them that chocolate comes from a bean that grows in a pod on the cacao tree. As I show them a picture of a cacao pod I also explain that in Mexico, children often enjoy hot chocolate for breakfast and prepare it by whisking the milk with a molinillo. The first time I demonstrate the use of a molinillo, the children are very curious and can’t wait to have a turn. I then pass around to each child a tone block (which resembles a cup) and the matching stick (which resembles a molinillo). After exploring the properties of the instrument we begin chanting:


Uno, dos, tres, cho,

Uno, dos, tres, co,

Uno, dos, tres, la,

Uno, dos, tres, te,

Bate, bate chocolate!


When we are done we smell the aroma, we blow the hot chocolate to cool it down and then we finally enjoy our drink, delicioso!


With this simple Mexican nursery rhyme, preschool children learn a cultural tradition, how to count in Spanish, how to keep a steady beat and a lot more!


If you want to learn more Latin American chocolate songs, jam along to “Chocolate” an Ecuadorian song found in the Putumayo Latin Playground CD or to try this Peruvian rhyme:


La mariposa en la cocina

Hace chocolate

Para su vecina


Now go and make a cup of hot chocolate with your children and don’t forget to always make a cup for your neighbor. Salud!

© 2013, Viola Pellegrini. All rights reserved.

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Viola Pellegrini, born and raised in Florence (Italy), holds a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development from Mills College. She has received extensive training in music education from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has attended teacher trainings in both Suzuki Method and Orff. She has also taught preschool for seven years and has been a private music instructor for the past ten years. Viola currently teaches multicultural music and movement to young children and families. She hopes to inspire children to develop a lifelong enjoyment and appreciation for music and cultures from around the world. Viola plays violin, piano, guitar and recorder, and is constantly adding new instruments to her repertoire. In addition to English, she is fluent in Italian and German, and is working on her Spanish. In her free time she enjoys attending music and dance events, cooking, practicing yoga and traveling the world with her husband.

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1 Comment
  1. CommentsIsabel   |  Monday, 08 April 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Check out Putomayo’s Music from the Chocolate Lands!

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