Updated on January 13, 2021 by Lyric Fergusson
There is nothing sweeter than watching a child discover music. As they grow and develop, music helps them build coordination, develop vocabulary and improve literacy skills. Research shows that infants recognize the melody of a song long before they understand the words, and as they grow music education enhances fine motor skills, not to mention silly songs just make them laugh!
Whether banging on drums, strumming a toy guitar or singing into a microphone, here are the 7 best toddler music toys I recommend:
11 Best Toddler Music Toys Everyone Will Love
(Highest quality & eco-friendly — $$)
Why it’s great: This 13-piece set will ignite a love of playing music as they experiment with each instrument made of durable, great quality wood. You and your child will never grow tired of playing instruments such as: tambourine, castanet, hand drum, hand bells, maracas, flute, wooden block stick, wood sounder and chime bar. This set also comes with a storage bag. You will love the quality of this set of instruments that will last well beyond the toddler years.
Keep in mind: While this instrument set is for 3 years and up, supervision is suggested as 2 of the instruments have small parts they could be tempted to put in their mouth. No batteries are needed.
Good for: Children 3 years and up.
(Great value — $)
Why it’s great: This instrument will encourage development of fine motor skills, as well as creativity. Your child can begin in freestyle mode and will hear chords with each strum. Switch it over to play along mode and each strum will match the tune. There are 30+ melodies to play along with. She will learn new beats and will fall in love with entertaining herself and you as she gains confidence in her abilities. There is a convenient volume control button so she won’t disturb the neighbors with her jam!
Keep in mind: This instrument is only wood in the center where the frog is located, which allows for easy clean up. This ukulele is designed for children 12 months and up and will be entertaining for years to come. 3 AA demo batteries included.
Good for: 12+ months.
(Best budget option — $)
Why it’s great: Toddlers will love beating on this drum set! It has 3 drum pads and a cymbal, each with a unique sound. Your child will love playing along with the 9 melodies: rock, dance and pop. This is not only a drum set, but a learning toy because it also teaches them letters and numbers. This drum set is equipped with volume settings, to every parent’s relief! The price is reasonable and would make a great gift for others as well.
Keep in mind: This set is small in size, but perfect for those small hands and drum sticks! 3 AA batteries for demo are included, use new batteries for regular use.
Good for: Children 2-5 years.
(Most activities — $$$)
Why it’s great: This brightly colored studio encourages creativity in your toddler with a keyboard and buttons to explore a variety of sounds: drums, scratch disc and whammy bar. The keyboard lights up to teach children to follow along on the 40+ songs and sound effects that are included.
This studio comes with a real microphone and voice changer and allows your child to record and playback their own music. Overall, your child will love the variety of entertainment.
Keep in mind: Younger toddlers may lose interest with all the activities on the board, but it is a toy they will grow to love as they develop their motor skills. It comes with 3 AA batteries for demo use and regular AA batteries are recommended for regular use.
Good for: Children 3-6 years.
(Most unique — $$$)
Why it’s great: This toy is innovative and unique. It allows your child to experience all the different types of instruments. Your child will learn to recognize the style and sounds that each instrument can make. And they’ll have a blast doing it! Your child will also be able to record the music they make and you can download the free app to create music videos. It also teaches children rhythm and beginner math concepts such as addition and subtraction, as well as counting and creating patterns. There’s also a follow along game that promotes listening and attention skills.
Keep in mind: A younger child could play with this one, but it might be a bit complicated and is better for kids 3 and up.
Good for: Children ages 3-6 years.
(Fun to learn — $$)
Why it’s great: This piano made of safe and durable materials is easy to wipe down and clean. There are 3 sheets of music with 6 different songs made of sturdy cardstock. Each sheet music is inserted into the piano and children can learn to play the keys by choosing the coordinating color from the sheet music. Your toddler may prefer freestyling or learn to play classic pieces, either way they will enjoy the real piano sounds they create.
Keep in mind: As with most toys, supervision is encouraged when children as young as 6 months are playing with this piano. 3 AA batteries are included.
Good for: 6+ months.
(Most educational — $$)
Why it’s great: While this is an active wall toy, it is educational and fun for your toddler. Your toddler will begin letter recognition and will squeal with excitement when they touch a letter and are rewarded with music! They will learn to dance around and sing with familiar songs such as ABC song, Bingo, Five Little Monkeys, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, and If You’re Happy and You know it! They won’t even realize they are learning as they play. Another great aspect of this interactive toy is that you won’t have to worry about stepping on it in the dark! It attaches to the wall and you’re done!
Keep in mind: It may be a little smaller than expected, 24”x16”, but it’s the perfect size for your little one. 3 AA batteries are included. Auto shut off helps preserve battery life.
Good for: Children 2-5 years.
(Most creative — $$$)
Why it’s great: This toy has everything your child will need to become a true musician. The stool allows them to sit down and relax while they play their piano. They will have the option of playing on their own or adding music in the background. Your child will also be able to change the noise the keys make, from piano or violin, to drums or trumpet. Plus, there’s a microphone so they can sing along as they play. It also has a record option, which allows your child to record and playback the songs that they create.
Keep in mind: This one is a little more complicated and is better for older toddlers ages 3 and up.
Good for: Children ages 3+.
(Most portable — $$)
Why it’s great: This toy has so many options that your child will be busy for hours. The best part is that it has a nice handle on top, so your toddler can carry this around wherever they go. It’s small and light enough that even a younger toddler should be able to take it with them. Your toddler will be able to play music, and can even sing along with the included microphone. Each of the five sides has a different instrument or toy that your child can explore and play with. You can adjust the volume and it even comes with a headset, so your child can listen all they want without affecting everyone else in the room.
Keep in mind: This one requires 4 batteries and they’re not included, so you’ll have to purchase those separately.
Good for: Children ages 1+.
(Best first instrument — $$)
Why it’s great: This wooden toy will let your child discover different types of instruments and begin to make music. It has a xylophone, a drum and drumsticks, a cymbal, a guiro, and a clapper. Your toddler will delight in all the different sounds they can make with this toy. The bright colored art will attract your child’s attention and with so many options, your child will be playing for hours. The wood and finish is non-toxic and easy to wipe clean. It’s also very light and easy to move from room to room. The legs fold up for easy storage or so your child can use this on their lap.
Keep in mind: While the drumsticks have a home, they are not attached so they could get lost.
Good for: Children ages 1+.
(Most entertaining — $$$$)
Why it’s great: Your little one will love spinning around in this exersaucer. They’ll be able to play the piano with their fingers up top or by walking across the keys on the mat. The piano mat can also be removed, so they can play with it separately on the floor. The seat can even be removed, so as your child gets older, they can still play with the rest of the toys. Your child can play music, bang the drums, or strum the guitar. The seat will spin 360 degrees, so they’ll be able to turn and reach all the toys. This entertainer has plenty of toys to keep your child busy for long periods of time. It encourages gross and fine motor skills, as well as promoting creativity.
Keep in mind: The seat does not bounce on this one, so if you’re looking for a bouncer, you’ll need to buy one separately.
Good for: Kids ages 1 month to 3 years.
FAQs about toddler music toys
1. How early should I introduce music to my child?
Infants recognize the melodies of songs long before they understand the words. Introducing music by singing a lullaby or nursery rhymes is a good start. As your baby grows and develops, you can continue instilling a love for music through singing and providing toys that encourage developing fine motor skills through music.
2. How can music provide structure in a child’s day?
Music can be used to indicate playtime, sleep time, or different moments of the day. Children learn by repetition and using familiar tunes to sing with them as they move to different activities will help them relate the song with that particular activity.
3. What benefits do musical toys have for toddlers?
Research shows strong connections between rhythm skills and pre=reading abilities. Music helps build coordination, enhance fine motor skills, and develop vocabulary. Not to mention the bond that is developed between parent and child as they play and sing.
4. What are ways I can encourage a love of music for my toddler?
There are many opportunities to include music in your child’s day. But 4 easy ways to start are: Sing to them, Play music in the background throughout their day, Teach them to whistle, and Provide musical toys that give them hands-on fun.
5. Should I choose a musical toy with instrumental music or with lyrics
Honestly, either is fine for your toddler. Younger toddlers may not be talking yet, but they soon will be and lyrics may help that process along. Older toddlers will quickly learn the lyrics through repetition. Instrumental music for any age promotes expression and activity as they dance and move to the rhythm.
Music brings joy to children and adults alike and there is nothing like the feeling you get when you see your child experience something new for the first time. The choices are endless when it comes to choosing a musical toy for your toddler. Consider your child’s age. Are they a young toddler? Or an older toddler? Are they mobile? You may also consider whether your child enjoys buttons and bright lights, or do they enjoy physically creating noise.
The musical toys reviewed here for you are appropriate for both younger and older toddlers. Your job now is to choose the one you feel will appeal the most to your child. Be encouraged to allow the time you spend with your toddler with this new toy to be both a bonding and fun experience!
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