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 11 drum and percussion toys both kids and parents love.
Best Toddler Drum Sets For All Ages
(Best value — $)
Why it’s great: This set comes with a variety of 10 percussive instrument toys, which 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 smaller 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 introduction to a realistic kit — $$)
Why it’s great: This is a great kit because it is a realistic setup that includes a kick drum pedal, and it’s simple to assemble. Toddlers will love the light up features, as well as the programmed melodies and songs. The kit features multiple types of percussive sounds with volume control making it ideal for apartments or if a parent works from home and needs the noise level under control. It also has a microphone, so your child can sing along as they play.
Keep in mind: Although this set is recommended for 3 and up, it is on the smaller side and a younger toddler would also have fun with it. They might need a little extra help and supervision though.
Good for: Toddlers aged 3 years and older or slightly younger with supervision.
(Most realistic kit — $$$)
Why it’s great: This is just like a real drum set, but in a smaller size made just for toddlers and young kids. It has a real bass drum, tom, snare, and cymbal and comes with wooden drum sticks. It even has the foot pedal for the bass drum. If you’re looking for the most realistic drum kit to get your child started, this is the one for you. The stool that comes with it is also adjustable for height. This kit comes in 6 different colors, so you’re sure to find one that your toddler will love.
Keep in mind: This is best for slightly older toddlers who may already have some experience with drumming. It’ll be a little complicated for children younger than 3.
Good for: Kids ages 3-6 years old.
(Best portable set — $)
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 a great start for teaching young toddlers how to play the drums. Plus, it’s small and light, which means your child can easily carry this from room to room. Or you can take it with you to the park or any other outing where a noisy toy won’t be a problem. It has LED lights and demo songs for extra fun. And it also features a microphone, so your toddler can sing along. It also allows you to adjust the volume, which is a great perk for a drum set!
Keep in mind: This is a very small and simple set, which makes it great for younger toddlers, but may not interest them as much as they get older.
Good for: Recommended for toddlers 36 months and older, but reasonably safe for slightly younger toddlers who are ready for more of a challenge.
(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. Each piece is brightly colored and they all have different textures, so your child will also be getting a great sensory experience. It’s a perfect 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: 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.
(Most features — $$$)
Why it’s great: This whole set is not only very realistic, it adds on a bunch of extra features for hours of endless fun. All the drums light up along with the rhythm of the music and your child will have a blast singing along in the included microphone. You can connect your phone, iPad, or any other compatible device and it comes with 4 different connection ports. This drum set can be played on its own or powered up with a charger or batteries for different music modes and flashing lights. The stool is a sturdier setup than most, which is perfect for younger kids. As an added perk, there’s a spot to plug in headphones, so your child can play all they want with only minimal noise for the rest of the household.
Keep in mind: You’ll definitely need to help your child a little more with all the added features until they get the hang of it.
Good for: Toddlers ages 3 and up that are ready for a real drum set.
(Best introduction to hand drumming — $)
Why it’s great: This kit features 4 modes of play and batteries are included. It lights up and also plays melodies, in addition to being lightweight. It also encourages development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Bongos are an excellent introduction to drumming because of their simplicity and intuitive appeal. Kids can use their hands exclusively; no sticks required.
Keep in mind: This drum plays its own music and makes sounds, but it doesn’t really sound like a real drum.
Good for: Toddlers 12 months and older.
(Best interaction and learning — $$)
Why it’s great: Styled as an adorable elephant, this set features 4 game modes and 4 drum styles. Your toddler will 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: This is a whole interactive toy, not just a drum set, so be prepared for a lot of talking and singing along.
Good for: Toddlers 18 months to 4 years.
(Most eco-friendly — $$)
Why it’s great: This percussion set is completely handmade from all natural materials, including real wood, non-toxic varnish, and pigskin. The instruments are beautifully crafted and durable, but lightweight. It comes with 6 different instruments to give your child a variety of musical sounds. This set is a great introduction to different percussion instruments and is durable enough to last throughout your toddler’s childhood.
Keep in mind: Because these are fashioned from real wood, you need to keep them away from water and direct sunlight. You can clean them with a quick wipe down if needed.
Good for: Kids of all ages starting at 12 months.
(Best for younger toddlers — $)
Why it’s great: This drum set has 18 pre-programmed songs, 4 types of instrument sounds and 3 drum beat modes that inspire continued interaction. Kids will also learn animals, colors, and numbers with graphics and games. Young children can easily use their hands for everything, but it does also come with drumsticks. The xylophone feature is more like a keyboard and requires no banging anyway, so it’s a great option for toddlers who are just starting to show interest in making music.
Keep in mind: The drumsticks can pose a safety issue for younger toddlers, but there’s easy storage for them on the back until you feel your child is ready to handle them properly.
Good for: Recommended for toddlers 24 months and up, but could easily be used by a younger toddler with supervision.
(Best wooden set — $$)
Why it’s great: This is a great beginner set that’s made from all natural wood. The bright and fun paint is non-toxic as well, making this set completely safe for your child to use. This set has it’s own unique look and comes with drums, a cymbal, drumsticks, and a rhythm maker. It’s the perfect size for young toddlers to sit on the floor and play, so you won’t have to worry about them falling off a stool. Plus, Hape makes other instruments, so you can collect them all to create a band!
Keep in mind: This set is smaller and lower to the ground as it’s specifically made for your child to sit on the floor and play.
Good for: Kids ages 3 and up, but like a lot of the others, it could be used by younger children with supervision.
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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