May 22

Movie Classics We Grew up Watching in Spanish

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

A few months ago, when I found out about the NYC Children's International Film Festival (or perhaps it was during one of the many snow days here in New Jersey!), I started to think back to what movies or television shows I saw as a child in Spanish.

Very fuzzy memories... the character "Chapulin Colorado" of Mexico? The shows did not appeal to me at the time. But now I have children of my own and I would like them to see movies/TV shows from other parts of the world. I ask myself, how many Disney or mega-production company-fueled movies can I stomach?

I searched the Internet—strangely, in this New Age where we seem to list, post, and pin seemingly everything, I found nothing! So, I decided to informally poll the teachers here at Jump! Immersion School. I caught them off guard during drop-off and at pick-up, but then they started to remember. The list I have compiled is at the end of this post—it is a work in progress, so input is gladly accepted!

Parents, many of these movies can be found on sites like YouTube. Others exist on parallel Spanish-speaking sites. I would simply caveat that you should either review the movies (at least visually) or sit with your child during the first 10 minutes. (When I was trolling through YouTube for "Heidi," I found an "anime" version that looked a bit too violent for my taste.)

It would also be wise to give a short introductory speech or disclaimer to your child to remind him/her that certain phrases or actions were appropriate in times past, but opinions change. This would be particularly beneficial when watching "clean" but "slapstick" comedy shows. Something akin to "Benny Hill"or "Mr. Bean" for the Anglophiles. Parents will differ, but whenever time allows, I prefer to watch movies with my children, to share my insights in real time (a.k.a damage control).

Learning Language through Movies... and Songs too!

Seeing "authentic" movies is but one example of an activity to supplement learning language and finding a way to link your child's study to native students in other countries. I personally have a daydream from time to time, of watching my children at a park or resort overseas making new friends in Spanish, but also picking up the country-specific ties—be it songs, poems, books, or perhaps even an action hero.

If you want more information, Jump! Immersion School envelopes your child with songs, poems and subject matter from the native-speaking teachers' countries of origin. You might hear children practicing tongue-twisters in Spanish at recess or singing "Happy Birthday" as they do in Mexico. It is a beautiful thing... come see!

María Chucena techaba su choza
y un techador que por allí pasaba le dijo:
"María Chucena, ¿techas tu choza
o techas la ajena?"

"Ni techo mi choza ni techo la ajena,
que techo la choza de María Chucena."


Movie Classics We* Grew up Watching in Spanish

Teachers Country Movie or TV show
Specials Colombia
  • El Chavo (Mexico)
  • Chapulin Colorado
  • Abeja Maya
  • Jose Miel (the friend of Abeja Maya, a spin off)
  • Candy
Pre-K4 Mexico
  • El Chavo
  • Chapulin Colorado
  • Candy
  • Capulina (the stage name for actor Gaspar Henaine)
  • Marcelino, Pan y Vino (a Lenten story; an orphan meets God in the attic)
Kinder Colombia
  • Abeja Maya
  • El Viento en los Sauces (The Wind in the Willows)
  • Topoyiyo or Topollillo
Admin Director Peru
  • Candy
  • Heidi
  • Marco or Marcos (friend of Heidi, spin off)
  • La Niña con la Mochilla Azul, a Spanish movie by Pedro Fernandez
  • Topoyiyo or Topollillo
  • The show of Tio Johnny (his signature was drinking a glass of milk at the end, with a cow mooing)
  • The show of Yola Polastri, a great singer
Spanish Programs Director Costa Rica
  • La Ballena Josefina
  • La Casa de la Pradera (Ah--Little House on the Prairie!)
  • Mujercitas (Little Women, what a classic!)
  • Heidi
  • Pequeño Poni (or Pequeño Pony)
  • Gems
  • Abeja Maya
  • Marcelino, Pan y Vino (the Lenten story)

Spain Under Construction--check back shortly!

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*We are the teachers and staff at Jump! Immersion School!


Be sure to also check out our list of
movies and TV shows children watch in Mandarin Chinese!