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The Best Musical Toys and Instruments for Kids So They Can Rock Out

Get ready to shred.

If the prospect of one more child-led performance of Wheels on the Bus makes you want to tear your ears out, we feel your auditory pain. Yes, musical instruments for kids often require a serious investment in staples like earplugs. But a baby drum set or toy toddler guitar is also a clutch developmental toy. Music is a shared activity, and musical toys help foster social-emotional skills.

Kids learn to express their feelings through songs. They figure out how to cooperate, especially when they create a mock rock band. Babies and toddlers learn cause and effect when they hit a drum, and hear the resulting bang. In terms of motor skills, music helps kids develop muscles in their legs and arms when they hold guitars or dance around. And when they stomp or shimmy or shake, they learn about balance and gain an awareness of their bodies.

When choosing musical instruments for kids, use your common sense. Toddlers are just learning the fine art of hand-eye coordination and honing their motor skills, so get them stuff they can easily bang on because banging on stuff is fun. Older toddlers and pre-schoolers start to engage in pretend play, so set them up with a musical kit that lets them imagine they’re on a festival stage, or that they’re in a band with their friends. Most of all, get them toys that are well-made and age-appropriate. A guitar that looks dope but is complicated enough for Eddie Vedder will only be discouraging and will wind up in the corner.

The Best Musical Instruments for  Toddlers

Perfect for group play, this set includes a tunable ukulele, a tambourine, a clapper, a rattle, and a rainmaker.

When kids shake the tambourine, they hear a noise, thus learning cause and effect.

Because honestly, who doesn't need a blue ukelele in their life? This one is fully playable and easily tunable. It's made of wood, is thoroughly durable, and easy to tune and play. Young kids can figure out and master basic rhythm and strumming skills.

Unlike other bulkier drum kits, this one lays flat on the floor and is great for younger kids who are just becoming mobile. This drum helps kids learn hand-eye coordination and get their first taste of cause and effect when they realize that hitting the drum produces a sound.

What an absolutely brilliant way to introduce your child to both music and cause and effect: He pounds the ball with the hammer, the ball then hits the xylophone, and you hear magical musical sounds. It's all thoughtfully made out of bamboo as well.

The set includes a drum, xylophone, guiro wooden block, and a bell, plus two mallets for playtime duets. Because you know you'll want to join in. This instrument helps develop hand-eye coordination and a sense of rhythm. And because more than one kid can play, it helps wary toddlers learn how to share.

This might look like a wooden finger piano. But wait, there's more. This beautiful instrument can playback, record, and manipulate the tone and depth of any song your maestro creates.

If you're feeling a Springsteen vibe, arm your child with this wood harmonica, which features numbered notes to help beginners get started understanding music. This wood harmonica is the perfect size for little kid hands, with notes spaced out and easy enough for kids to play.

When your kid is ready to jam with friends, get this kit, which includes a tambourine, cymbals, maracas, a clacker, tone blocks, and a triangle, plus a sturdy wooden storage crate. It's a great set to foster sharing and cooperation.

Kids play this wooden instrument, and hear tones specifically created to appeal to them. And while doing so, they work on their motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It's made from maple and comes with one wooden mallet and one rubber-topped mallet.

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The Best Musical Instruments for  Kids

Kids build a pan flute, an ocean drum, and a box guitar. And then they play them. Pretty damn cool.

Both beautiful and beautifully functional, this wood guitar has a basswood body, a maple neck, great intonation, steel strings, and low string action. In other words, it's the perfect starter instrument.

Kids pluck the nylon strings to create melodies. The harp, meant for older kids with more dexterity, comes with a tuning wrench.

Budding pianists can learn and practice the scales with this voice-controlled piano. This 61-note compact keyboard comes with Alexa built-in, letting kids control most of the instrument's functionality using only voice commands.

You know how we mentioned earplugs earlier? Stock up. This drum kit has everything your percussionist could want: A bass drum with 4 lugs, a mounted tom with 4 lugs, a mounted snare with 4 lugs, a cymbal, and a pair of wood drum sticks, and a padded drum throne.

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