Monday, May 09, 2011

real French kids dancing to real French songs!

Confession: I'm a little leery of YouTube.  There are so many choices for videos to watch that it sometimes paralyzes me!  Plus, some clips look like they're innocuous songs or cartoons but end up depicting things I never, ever, ever wanted to see T'choupi or Caillou engaging in.  And yet I know that it's an amazing resource for language learners, so a year or so ago I started seeking out materials in French for children.  Griffin now has his favorites, so I want to gather them here on my blog with my comments!

Take these four videos, for example.  They feature a man and woman (and he has a dreamy voice!) singing traditional songs while a small group of children dance and act them out.  The videos are a mix of live action and animation with very simple drawings, which makes them just charming!  Based on my questions to the mamans at French playgroup and the fact that only one of  songs appears on any of Griffin's CDs, it seems like some of the songs are less well-known in France; YouTube is the only source I have for them.

Here's the one you probably know already: Sur le pont d'Avignon.  I love how earnest the kids look as they carry out the choreography and that they're actually dancing on the bridge!

Passe, passe, passera boasts a lovely melody, although I'm not crazy about the refrain that requires the participants to whack the kid in the middle.  I would guess that the dance moves for this one are pretty standard--the kids make a bridge for the others to duck under until one of them is caught, and then they circle around the culprit.

Next we have a French song about Spain!  You might complain that the elements featured--mountains, ocean, bulls--are stereotypes.  But it's a song, not a thesis, and it was my son's first exposure to Spain, and now he can find it on a map and tell me about the toreadors.  This song is Dans mon pays d'Espagne.  (Ole!)

And finally, a song that we used recently in our transportation-themed storytime: Dans le pre s'en va le train.  Again, the children are just adorable as they act out both the passengers on the train and the people doing the train dance as they hold onto each other's shoulders and chug-chug-chug through the countryside.

Up next: the always-whimsical Alain Le Lait!  What are your favorite French YouTube videos?


  1. Merci voudrais chanter avec Rainbow en francais.

  2. We know Passe, passe, passera but I haven't heard of the others! I know there's a train song they sing in Petit Section but I don't know if it's that one. The videos are cute - Youtube is great for language learning.

  3. @CR--Oui, chante en francais avec lui!

    @PMF--Oooh, if it turns out to be another train song, Griffin would love to hear it! Would you please let me know?

  4. There's a great channel on youtube called "comptines" that has a bunch of traditional French songs with cartoons. They also have the lyrics on screen as well (like karaoke), which is nice for me to more easily learn the songs! Here's the link:

  5. Yes, Griffin and I love those! We also have a book with illustrated comptines that came with a DVD of some of them--apparently it's part of a series.