Updated on September 4, 2020 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:
7 Best Toddler Music Toys Everyone Will Love
(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 – $$$)
Why it’s great: This brightly colored studio encourages creativity in your toddler with a keyboard and buttons to explore a variety of sounds: drums, scratch disc and whammy bar. The keyboard lights up to teach children to follow along on the 40+ songs and sound effects that are included.
This studio comes with a real microphone and voice changer and allows your child to record and playback their own music. Overall, your child will love the variety of entertainment.
Keep in mind: Younger toddlers may lose interest with all the activities on the board, but it is a toy they will grow to love as they develop their motor skills. It comes with 3 AA batteries for demo use and regular AA batteries are recommended for regular use.
Good for: Children 3-6 years
(Middle of the Road – $$)
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 batter life.
Good for: Children 2-5 years
4. Stoie’s International Wooden Music Set for Toddlers & Kids – Eco Friendly Musical Set with a cotton storage bag
(High Quality – $$$)
Why it’s great: This 13-piece set will ignite a love of playing music as they experiment with each instrument made of durable, great quality wood. You and your child will never grow tired of playing instruments such as: tambourine, castanet, hand drum, hand bells, maracas, flute, wooden block stick, wood sounder and chime bar. This set also comes with a storage bag. You will love the quality of this set of instruments that will last well beyond the toddler years.
Keep in mind: While this instrument set is for 3 years and up, supervision is suggested as 2 of the instruments have small parts they could be tempted to put in their mouth. No batteries are needed.
Good for: Children 3 years and up.
(Great variety – $$$)
Why it’s great: What toddler doesn’t love colorful buttons to push! This activity table will introduce music while teaching them gross and fine motor skills, numbers, shapes, and colors. It is colorful, interactive, and entertaining. Your toddler will explore sounds, songs, and instruments for hours. If your child is not yet pulling up, remove the legs and allow him to play with the buttons and enjoy the bright lights and music. This musical table promises hours of entertainment with or without your assistance. There are 70+ songs including oldie but goodies like Old MacDonald and Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Keep in mind: For those babies just pulling up, supervision is encouraged to avoid tipping the table over. 3 AAA batteries are included.
Good for: 6-36 months
(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
(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
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!