Music is an essential part of the learning experience for toddlers. It engages their brains in a way that nothing else will, and studies have shown that music in early childhood can increase development. Instruments and musical toys for toddlers play an integral role in encouraging this growth.
Although they are wonderful for the little ones, I gotta warn you: Some of them may drive you crazy! But parents know how much joy it brings their toddlers and that it’s an important part of their growth and learning process.
I admit, sometimes the batteries don’t get replaced when they should, or the toys get “lost” for a while, or even disabled. That may or may not have happened 17 years ago with a certain Wiggles guitar that just wouldn’t stop playing the fruit salad song over and over and over and over…
Not all of these musical toys for toddlers will drive you crazy, though. You may share in your child’s joy when he or she discovers how much fun it is to make music by shaking a bell or pounding a drum. Or you may even find yourself dancing along with your little ones as they enjoy the tunes made by their toys.
Although the instruments come with a recommended age, most of these instruments and musical toys for toddlers most certainly would be appropriate for younger children as well, as long as there is no safety concern. Use your discretion to choose which are best for your toddler, and supervise play of younger ones.
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Musical Toys For 1 Year Olds
This xylophone can be pulled out and played on its own, or it can be placed below the pounding bench so the balls play the keys as they roll down the xylophone. Fun!
The Learning Journey Instruments: Baby Bongo Drums, Little Rock Star Guitar, and Little Piano Tunes
These three toy instruments are a fun way to introduce little ones to music and instrument sounds. They each contain preprogrammed melodies, a variety of sound effects, and also a free play mode so little ones can create their own music.
Toddlers can spin the turntable, press buttons, or flip switches to hear songs, learn colors or shapes, or even learn Spanish. With different levels of learning, this toy will grow with your little one.
Piano Keyboard 71” Play Mat
Oh my goodness, what toddler (or big kid, or grown up!) wouldn’t have a blast playing with this? With 24 different keys, little ones can experience they joy of making sounds on a piano—with their feet! Features an adjustable volume, eight different musical instrument sounds, and record and playback buttons.
Musical Toys For 2 Year Olds
I love this unique toy instrument! With 16 connecting tubes, toddlers can design and build their own instrument, and then play it for all to hear. What a great way for them to explore and learn how different configurations will create different sounds. The biggest complaint seems to be that the parts don’t fit together tightly enough, but many seem to love the toy despite that. They have even found other creative uses for it, such as a marble run or an auditory feedback phone.
Mini Band Wooden Percussion Instrument
This fun all-in-one instrument contains a xylophone, guiro, drum and drumsticks, clapper, and cymbal. I love how everything fits together to provide discovery of many different percussion instruments in one.
VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set
This little set plays nine different melodies for little ones to drum along. Kids can engage in free play, learn letters and numbers, or follow along.
Xylophone for Kids, with Bonus Harmonica
This classic toddler instrument comes with two bonus music cards, so older toddlers can play a few tunes following the color coded notes. The tone of these notes is a higher quality than you’d expect from a child’s xylophone, making it much more pleasant to listen to. This xylophone also comes with a child’s harmonica.
Musical Toys For 3 Year Olds
Remo brand drums are great for little ones. Our music class teacher brings them out now and then, and the kids love them! These durable, high quality drums are made to last and would make a great addition to any toddler’s instrument collection.
This unique musical learning toy looks like so much fun! It comes with 15 different “instruments” for children to learn. There are three ways to play: free play—inserting up to four instruments into the toy to mix different sounds; musical math mode—practicing addition, subtraction, and patterns through music; and game mode. There is even an app you can download to create music videos while you play!
B. Symphony Musical Toy Orchestra for Kids
This toy comes highly recommended by Tiffany, a mom and a bargain hunter who loves finding good deals and sharing them with others. Here is what she has to say:
“If you want to teach your children about music, this is one of the most amazing toys that we have! It plays different classical music songs, and each time you put an instrument in the center, it plays the part for that instrument! You can combine up to 5 instruments to hear different parts of a symphony.”
I’m so glad Tiffany introduced me to this toy. It would make a wonderful addition to any toddler’s musical toy collection. It also pairs great with the book Welcome to the Symphony, which I will talk about in more detail in my gift guide of books for toddlers.
Goodness, how my boys loved these types of toy instruments when they were little! And some of them still enjoy making music today. This 3-in-1 toy includes guitar, piano, and drums. Kids can play in freestyle or play along mode. Parents’ biggest concern seems to be that the battery compartment isn’t secured with a screw, so they can fall out easily, or crafty little ones can remove them.
KidKraft Lil Symphony Electric Guitar Toy
Here’s another one my boys would have loved back in the day! Little ones can enjoy making music on this toy guitar with two different ways to play. They can choose from one of two beats and tap the buttons to add different riffs, or they can play their own individual notes.
Childrens Instrument Set
Every toddler should have a collection of rhythm instruments to explore. This set contains ten different instruments (18 pieces). Be aware of a common complaint that the bells may come loose. For that reason, these instruments are not meant for for little ones who still put things in their mouth, except under the supervision of a parent.
Beyond Musical Toys for Toddlers
Though these are not instruments or musical toys for toddlers, I’d like to end with a highlight on Brite Music. This is another product that was recommended by my friend Tiffany:
“If you are looking for something to teach your children about values like honesty or dependability, then Brite Music is an excellent collection of stories and songs! While they might be a tad outdated (I listened to them when I was kid!), they still are extremely applicable. My kids love listening about Shiny Brite keeping her body machine healthy, and how the Safety Kids keep themselves safe from drugs, abuse, and other things that could hurt them.”
Brite Music has a music-by-the-month program for preschoolers. Items can also be purchased in sets. I asked Tiffany if this would also be appropriate for toddlers as well and she said, “It definitely applies to toddlers! My 2yo absolutely loves it, especially the “I Have a Song For You” series, the “Watch Me Sing” series, and the “Someone Special You” CD. We mostly use these as background listening during playtime and while we’re driving in the car.”
Don’t Miss the Rest of this Series
Musical toys for toddlers abound, and I have spent hours researching to find the best for you and your little one. With so many different instruments and musical toys for toddlers, I am certain you’ll be able to find something you and your little one can enjoy.
Do you have any of the toys listed here? Are there others you think should have been included? My readers and I would love to hear your thoughts. Please let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed this guide and would like more, be sure to check out the others in this series, below.
Start here with the ultimate guide: How to Choose the Best Gifts for Toddlers