Updated on October 14, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Toddlers love music, and percussion toys are an excellent way to encourage development. Making their own sounds is not only fun for children, but also builds fine motor skills and stimulates creativity. Depending on the toy, some instruments are suitable for toddlers before they even learn to walk. Others are great for older toddlers ready for more of a challenge. Here are 7 drum and percussion toys both kids and parents love.
Best Toddler Drum Sets For All Ages
(Best Value – $)
Why it’s great: A variety of 10 percussive instrument toys creates opportunities for interaction with others. It’s a great idea to stream music for your toddler so they can add their own sounds, getting a feel for rhythm and timing. This particular set is also FDA approved, being chemical-free and tends to be durable. It comes with a convenient carrying case for storage as well.
Keep in mind: There are some small and precarious parts, such as a metal stick used for playing the triangle. Thus, the set is better for older toddlers or used under supervision. If you’re worried, the B. Toys set is similar and has fewer reports of small parts.
Good for: Recommended for toddlers 3 and up, but should be fine for younger ones under careful supervision and with small parts withheld.
(Most Trusted Brand Quality – $$)
Why it’s great: Sturdy and durable, this set of 7 percussion items stores easily inside the large drum. With a variety of ways to make sound, this toy is ideal for toddlers of all ages. It’s a great way for kids to interact together, it’s portable, and a portion of sales from B. Toys go to a nonprofit charity. The brand has a reputation for quality, making the Drumroll Please kit a safe bet.
Keep in mind: Some parents have complained that the whistle doesn’t work very well, but this may come as a relief to many adults. The large drum can be used to climb, so make sure to supervise younger toddlers while they jam.
Good for: Recommended for toddlers 18 months and up, but appropriate for younger babies under supervision.
(Best Introduction to Hand Drumming – $)
Why it’s great: This kit features 4 modes of play and batteries are included. It lights up and also plays melodies, in addition to being lightweight and encouraging development of fine motor skills through touch. Bongos are an excellent introduction to drumming because of their simplicity and intuitive appeal. Kids can use their hands exclusively; no sticks required.
Keep in mind: According to reviews, some sounds are not entirely percussive or musical and can be annoying to parents. Again, be certain to keep a close eye on kids while they play as this product could potentially be used as a stool to climb.
Good for: Toddlers 12 months and older.
(Best Introduction to a Realistic Kit – $$)
Why it’s great: With 5 modes of play, this drum set offers a variety of activities for optimal creativity. It’s a realistic setup, which is ideal for parents who are musicians themselves and want to actually start teaching their child how to play from a young age. LED lights and a microphone for singing along to demo songs offers extra fun. Adjustable volume is an added plus.
Keep in mind: This kit can be a bit too loud, even with volume controls. If you live in an apartment or work from home, this particular item might not be ideal. The cymbal attachments are said to be easily broken, perhaps making the set more ideal for older toddlers who can be more gentle with their toys.
Good for: Recommended for toddlers 36 months and older, but reasonably safe for slightly younger toddlers who are ready for more of a challenge.
(Best Interaction and Learning – $$$)
Why it’s great: Styled as an adorable elephant, this set features 4 game modes and 4 drum styles. Toddlers have tons of fun using either hands or sticks to create rhythms and learn. It’s small and intuitive, so it’s ideal for younger children. Vtech has an excellent reputation as a brand, making their toys exceptionally popular due to fun, educational features and cute designs.
Keep in mind: The toy talks and encourages interaction. Some parents find this irritating, but it could be an exciting feature for little ones. Most Vtech toys do have a voice element, inviting kids to play and motivating activity. So if you have Vtech brand toys and don’t find this feature unappealing, you probably won’t have an issue with this drum set.
Good for: Toddlers 18 months to 4 years.
(Best Variety of Multi-Function Activities – $$)
Why it’s great: 18 pre-programmed songs, 4 types of instrument sounds and 3 drum beat modes inspire continued interaction. Kids will also learn animals, colors, and numbers with graphics and games. Young children can use their hands if the sticks present a safety issue (the xylophone feature is more like a keyboard and requires no banging), so it’s a great option for toddlers of all ages.
Keep in mind: Some durability issues have been reported, so if your child tends to be rough with their toys this may not be the best option. Additionally, there is no volume adjustment setting.
Good for: Manufacturer recommends the toy for toddlers 24 months and up, but specifies that the sticks are not suitable for younger children should you choose to purchase earlier.
(Most Realistic Kit for Older Toddlers – $$$)
Why it’s great: Parents who are musicians love this realistic setup because it includes a kick drum pedal, and it’s simple to assemble. Toddlers will love the light up features, as well as the programmed melodies and songs. The kit features multiple types of percussive sounds with volume control making it ideal for apartments or if a parent works from home and needs the noise level under control.
Keep in mind: There have been some reports of faulty parts, but in those rare cases the company has been responsive about addressing concerns and sending replacements if needed. Additionally, the set and stool are a little small. If your toddler is older or you’re looking to purchase a drum set that can be used long-term, you might consider something else.
Good for: Toddlers aged 3 years and older.
FAQ’s About Toddler Drum Sets
1. When can a child learn to play the drums?
Depending on the toy, babies as young as 6 months can enjoy percussive play. Younger babies and toddlers could be ready for instrument sets that include items such as tambourines, bells, and maracas. Starting at about 12 months (though some children might be ready earlier or later), some of the more realistic drum kits become more intuitive and fun. Just be sure to supervise carefully if the toy includes drum sticks or small parts and your kids are prone to sticking toys in their mouths.
2. How do I teach my toddler to play the drums?
Most of a toddler’s musical abilities will develop organically, with time and practice. There are a few ways you can encourage skill development, though, like playing music while your child interacts with the toy so a connection can be made with rhythm and time. You can also demonstrate how percussion is played, count beats, and show your toddler videos of live musicians they can emulate. While younger children may not be ready for lessons or to grasp the concepts of music theory, there’s plenty of ways you can help them develop musical ability from a young age.
3. How can instrument sets help fine motor skills?
Instruments are used in almost every preschool, kindergarten, and Montessori institution for this very reason. Exploring music from a young age helps the brain develop a connection between cause and effect. As children continue to practice, accuracy of motion and timing improve. Particularly with instruments like drum sets and xylophones, using a tool to create sound requires practicing coordination. These are abilities that ultimately aid other areas of life where fine motor skills will be used, such as using utensils to eat or brushing teeth. Providing kids with a variety of options to make music is one of the best ways to facilitate development in this particular area.
4. What are the benefits of music for toddlers?
There are so many reasons to provide your child with tools for musical play. Not only will they be learning something new, but it’s also a skill they can continue to develop their entire lives if they so choose. Children who explore music develop excellent fine motor skills, have the opportunity to express themselves creatively, learn to listen, and might even experience reduced stress as a result. Interactive creation of music also promotes empathy and team work. One of the greatest benefits, however, is that music is fun. With endless possibilities for what they can create, kids enjoy the interactive nature of instruments and being able to achieve something independently.
After choosing a drum set or percussion kit that is appropriate for your child, you’ll begin to see the enormous benefits of music in your toddler’s development. Instruments are creative, educational, and entertaining in so many wonderful ways. These products are not only loved by kids, but reviews consistently validate parents’ satisfaction.
When choosing the right percussion toy, be sure to ask yourself which type of set is ideal for your child’s age and abilities, as well as your own needs as a parent. Fortunately, there is a wide array of drum sets available at reasonable prices to meet any child’s needs, no matter what they may be.
Most importantly, enjoy the time you and your toddler spend being creative with music. With so many options available, you’re sure to find something that will be fun for both of you.
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