Introducing your little one to the musical aspect of play is great for early development — studies have shown that listening to and making music are
linked to speech and motor skills development. The best music toys for toddlers are interactive, educational, and engage kids’ senses with sounds that (hopefully) won’t overly annoy parents and guardians. They’re also durable, so you know they’ll last for many jam sessions to come.
Some toys can produce different sounds that range in tone, volume, and rhythms depending on how your child interacts with it.
Drum sets, maracas, and tambourines are just a few examples of classic music toys that focus on tone and rhythm and that teach cause and effect. Other educational toys also pair visual effects alongside musical ones — this can look like a piano that pops colorful balls into the air when you press its keys or a xylophone that plays different notes when you hit a ball over the keys with a hammer.
Another thing to keep in mind (for your sake) is how loud a
toddler toy is. Having the option to adjust a toy’s volume level can be a huge plus. Some music toys don’t have adjustable settings, though — in that case, check how other parents describe the sound level in their reviews to choose one that won’t irritate you.
As all toddler parents know, durability is important when shopping for any toys. Kids at this age can be pretty rough and tumble, which means you should opt for ones that will be able to survive multiple hits, scratches, and drops to the floor without ruining the toy’s key functions. Just remember to always supervise playtime to make sure they’re playing with the toys safely and prevent any accidents.
Whatever instruments your little musician is into, the options below are sure to bring out their creative side — and they might bring out your
child’s natural dance moves, too. 1 A Budget-Friendly Tambourine For Toddlers Best for kids: 12 months and up
wooden tambourine is made to stimulate motor development and auditory skills. A tiny metal tambourine is enclosed in the smooth wooden design, making it fun — and safe — for toddlers to shake, rattle, and roll. One reviewer described, “It is very well made [for my nephew], I don’t have to worry about pieces coming off and him choking on anything. I don’t even worry when he chews on it.”
While you can’t adjust the volume, one shopper wrote that it “makes enough sound but not as obnoxious as a [traditional] tambourine.” For the price, it’s a quality musical toy you can easily pack away for travel or in your purse to help stimulate your child while on the go.
One reviewer wrote: “This is such a fun little tambourine! As a former music teacher, I wanted something that my own kids could play with at home that also wouldn’t make me reach for Tylenol or want to rip my hair out. The sound is not overpowering but very dainty and still reminiscent of a tambourine. I love it for my baby and toddler. My 3 year old and 12 month old both thought it was awesome from the moment I opened the package.” 2 The Toy Piano That “Pops” With Stimulating Visuals Best for kids: 12 months and up
toy piano pops colorful balls into the air as kids press the keys, pairing actions and sounds to help kids learn cause and effect. You can choose between classical piano or silly sounds by pressing the buttons near the top of the keyboard. It’s made with hard plastic and real wood — one reviewer noted that their toddler had “thrown and dropped this piano countless times and the plastic dome hasn’t cracked and everything still works perfectly.” In addition to being durable, reviewers have described it as not annoying. A shopper pointed out that you can’t control the volume but added, “I also don't think we need it. We're not bothered by the sound level.” The toy was described as “remarkably un-annoying” by another reviewer. One reviewer wrote: “Bought this for my young grandson but his older sisters like it too. In fact I caught several adults including myself having fun sorting the colors. It’s awesome that the sound can be cut off if needed (for saintly and more quiet moments.)” 3 A 10-Piece Musical Instrument Set For Toddlers Best for kids: 3 years and up
musical instrument set from Melissa & Doug includes everything from cymbals to clackers, plus a wooden crate to keep it all organized. Each instrument allows kids to explore different tones, volumes, and rhythms — and with so many instruments to choose from, other family members can join in on the action. It’s made with wood and metal materials for extra durability. One reviewer wrote: “My nephew loves it, and it has withstood a good amount of banging for months.” While the volume level will depend on how vigorously the child plays, reviewers have attested that the instruments aren’t “overly annoying” or too loud. One reviewer wrote: “Very nice quality. A great buy for the money. My 20 month old hands out an instrument to each family member and we all play an instrument with her. This set gets played with almost every day.” 4 This Bluetooth Boom Box With A Microphone Best for kids: 3 years and up
If you have a singer on your hands, a portable
Bluetooth boom box is a natural fit. It comes with 24 preloaded songs your older toddler can perform along with the attached microphone, but you can also store up to 16 hours of music onto the device using the USB port on the back or stream your child’s favorite songs via Bluetooth.
Many reviewers have appreciated that the boom box is lightweight and gives kids control over their own music choices. One reviewer wrote that it’s “durably built without being heavy.” It features a volume control dial, and you can connect headphones to it for an even quieter experience.
One reviewer wrote: “Bought this for my 10 mo old. It didn't take her long to figure out how to turn it on and off, how to press play, and eventually how to fast forward to the next song. She is now almost 2 and carries it all over the house.” 5 The Fan-Favorite Xylophone That Kids Can Play Two Ways Best for kids: 12 months and up
Clocking more than 12,000 ratings on Amazon, this popular
colorful xylophone lets your toddler explore different sounds by pounding a wooden hammer on balls that fall onto the keys below it. You can even pull the entire xylophone out from underneath and let them bang on the keys directly. While some musically inclined shoppers have noted that the last couple of notes are technically out of tune, the majority of the reviewers didn’t seem to mind.
Along with encouraging musical development, this toy is great for teaching cause and effect and developing hand-eye coordination and arm movement as they focus their efforts on hitting the balls. One reviewer wrote, “The wooden construction is solid and looks and feels like it will last for years to come.” It’s made with solid wood that includes water-based paint and nontoxic finishes.
One reviewer wrote: “When I ordered this product I didn't realize it would become a daily part of out lives. My Great grandson absolutely loves this toy. I love the fact that it is sturdy, the balls are large enough not to present a choking hazard, and the xylophone is a great first musical instrument tool. he loves to take the little hammer and beat the balls until they roll down onto the xylophone...Its not a quiet toy, but it's not overly noisy either. Another plus. Kudos to the creator!” 6 This Electronic Drum Set For Toddlers Best for kids: 6 months and up
electronic drum set features colorful animal characters and “magic touch” technology, which plays musical notes when your child taps the different characters. The set offers two modes of play: Your toddler can either create their own rhythms and beats or play along to one of the preloaded classical songs (including pieces by Mozart and Beethoven). One reviewer wrote, “Babies and young toddlers love causation, so this is the perfect little toy for them. Hit the drum and things happen!”
The toy is made from a sleek-looking wood and plastic, and one reviewer described it as “very durable and well made.” It also has volume control, which allows you to adjust the sounds as needed.
One reviewer wrote: “My son LOVES this Magic Touch drum! I have bought this several times as birthday gifts for our [friends'] children & they love it too! Great quality, well made and stands up to my toddler tossing it all over the place. The music has great sound & it has a volume control! Highly recommend!” 7 These Light-Up Maracas Featuring English & Spanish Modes Best for kids: 6 months and up
Check out these
light-up LeapFrog maracas, which introduce songs, numbers, and colors in both English and Spanish. It has colorful beads for rattling and electronic buttons that allow your toddler to explore different sounds from six other musical instruments. It’s the perfect size for little hands to grasp and shake, allowing them to build their fine motor skills as they jam out to different sounds. Shoppers have noted that these colorful maracas are durable, and one reviewer called them “not too annoying or loud.” One reviewer wrote: “I bought two for 1-year-olds as gifts and my 2 and 4 year old liked it so much, I bought an extra set! Super fun and educational!” 8 A Light-Up Guitar That’s Shaped Like An Avocado Best for kids: 6 months and up
Toddlers can strum the ball (or pit) at the center of this
avocado toy guitar or push the light-up buttons on the neck to initiate different riffs and songs. It’s small in size, which means your toddler can easily grip, practice coordination, and develop fine motor skills as they stimulate their sight and hearing skills.
Best of all, it holds up to the toughest of play. One reviewer wrote, “My 10 month old nephew LOVES it. He kept banging it on the floor and it never even so much as cracked!!” There’s no switch to adjust the volume on this toy, and some reviewers have noted that it is loud. On the other hand, some shoppers have reported it’s “not super annoying” and “actually sounds pleasant” compared to some other musical toys.
One reviewer wrote: “The guitar is super cute and plays kind of rockabilly music. We got it for my daughter when she was 9 months old and she took to it right away. It's one of her favorite toys and she can play with it for good chunks of time. One of the best impulse purchases I've made.” 9 This Giant Keyboard With 8 Instrumental Modes Best for kids: 3 years and up
If you’re looking for something to get your kid on their feet, try this
giant musical play mat, which allows your toddlers to dance out their own tune. Measuring about 6 feet across, it features four modes that allow for free-play, recording, playback, and demo. It also has the option to switch between eight instrumental sounds that range from piano and guitar to saxophone and trumpet.
According to one shopper, it’s an effective tool for teaching piano, as it can help with “ear training, interval training and note geography.” Because it’s made with a sturdy vinyl material, it holds up well — a reviewer noted that “it seems to be pretty durable as dozens of hyped [on] cake kids jumped all over it!” There’s also a volume control option, and the keyboard can be rolled up when it’s not in use.
One reviewer wrote: “Awesome toy, broad age range! [...] my son loves it. It is large and seems perfect from crawling to probably 6ish. It has several options for instrument types, prerecorded songs and volume.” 10 This Music Toy With Interchangeable Instrument Pods Best for kids: 3 years and up
Fisher-Price music toy is super customizable: It has 15 musical instruments to explore, five musical styles, and three play modes that dabble in math, music, and games. Toddlers can mix and match sounds by adding instrument pods to or subtracting them from the “Rocktopus” or create their own songs by playing with different tempos and sound effects.
Although this toy comes with many moving parts, it also offers a lot of interactive ways to help your little one learn about counting and rhythmic patterns. Many reviewers have agreed that it’s highly durable and easy on the ears. One reviewer wrote, “It is well made (not easy to break/take apart),” while another described, “It really helps that there are different volume levels.” Don’t be surprised if older kids — and adults — want to take turns riffing, too.
One reviewer wrote: “I got this for my boys for Christmas back in 2018. It’s one of the few toys that they still play with: I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old. They both love it and will spend hours playing with it every after having it for almost a year and a half. It’s also one of the toys that adults can enjoy with their kids.” 11 A Lightweight Ukulele Built For Practice Play Best for kids: 12 months and up
Baby Einstein ukulele has dozens of different melodies to play along with and is a great choice if you’re looking for something that actually strums and plays like — but isn’t as fragile as — the real thing. It has four strings and two modes of play: freestyle play or a feature that allows your child to strum along with a melodic chord in the background. There’s even a button you can press that plays songs all on its own.
Sturdy and well-made, this toy can handle it’s fair share of use, according to users. One shopper wrote, “This is the only toy guitar I could find which was suitable for a 16 month old that actually has strings. He is not gentle with it and it’s held up great so far.” You can toggle the electronic sounds to one of two volume levels, or you can turn the sound off and just make quieter sounds with the strings.
One reviewer wrote: “This toy is so much fun. The strings actually work meaning you can strum it and make your own music. It also has an option to play music that you can sing and play to. And if you are tired and can't stand it anymore you can turn it off and still quietly strum the strings and it still makes a little noise to keep children entertained. I really absolutely love this toy and highly recommend it to anyone who has a kid that [loves] music. It is a great first step to a real instrument.” 12 A Solid Wooden Drum For Toddlers Best for kids: 18 months and up
wooden drum comes with a rubber-tipped drumstick, and it generates different sounds depending on where on the drum’s face your child taps. Your toddler can explore different notes while developing their hand-eye coordination and strength. Many reviewers have appreciated that it is sturdy and lasts through rough play. One reviewer wrote, “It's been kicked across the den, rolled around and besides a few nicks in the paint it still holds a tune!” And shoppers have confirmed it makes a pleasant sound. “It’s easy to play and sounds great,” attested one reviewer. One reviewer wrote: “The drum has a nice sound. It’s wooden with a curved slot cut into the top. This gives the drum different tones. Parent[s] will not be hiding this drum.” Studies referenced: Miendlarzewska, E. A., & Trost, W. J. (2014). How musical training affects cognitive development: Rhythm, reward and other modulating variables. Frontiers in neuroscience. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3957486/. Zhao, T. C., & Kuhl, P. K. (2016). Musical intervention enhances infants' neural processing of temporal structure in music and speech. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4868410/.