Where to start
Doesn’t it seem like every single toy company has their own line of musical instruments geared towards babies OR toddlers OR kids these days? As if babies and toddlers and kids can’t play the same instruments. It’s also pretty rare, in my opinion, to find a toy company that produces high quality musical instruments.
However, fear not, my friend! I’ve combed through the vast world of musical instruments to bring you my favorite, durable, pleasing to the ear, musical instruments for kids and babies. Plus, I also chose instruments that are high quality, budget friendly and made of natural materials whenever possible.
First, we’ll learn about rhythmic instruments, followed by pitched instruments. And while we’re at it, I’ll throw in various ideas on how to play each instrument, too!
2 Types of musical instruments
First let’s discuss rhythmic instruments. Rhythmic instruments, also called un-pitched instruments, essentially produce only one pitch (as opposed to multiple pitches like a piano).
These are timeless and classic choices for kids of any age, including babies. All that’s required are some tapping and shaking skills, and you’ll be off and running making music in no time. Under each picture below, I’ve also listed some creative options on how to play the instrument.
Tap on drum head with provided mallet stick; also tap on drum head with bare hands; use mallet to tap on side of drum or top edge; tap back of fingernails on drum head to make clicking sound. Babies and toddlers love drums!
Use provided stick to slide along back ridges of frog; slide up or slide down the back; use stick to tap on frog; notice different pitch on different sized frogs (big frog has lower, deeper pitch).
Ready to mesmerize your baby or toddler? Tilt drum around and watch beads roll; tilt slow vs fast; shake drum (gently); hold up and tap on drumhead with bare hand; swirl drum horizontally vs vertically.
Next up, we’ll learn about pitched instruments. Pitches instruments are different from rhythmic instruments for the fact that they’re able to produce many different pitches, or tones. (Remember the piano I mentioned earlier? Yep, that’s a pitched instrument because every key on the piano has a unique pitch, or frequency). These instruments require a little more technique, but I’ll show you some ways to make them accessible, even for babies and toddlers.
Grip with 2 hands and blow into mouth hole; try covering different holes with fingers to produce different pitches (toddlers can just blow without covering any holes and it'll still sound good, I promise).
Use provided mallets and tap on different metal bars; each bar should sound a different pitch; tap with one mallet or both; tap various rhythms; try to play a song by ear. Another fave musical instrument for babies and toddlers.
Use provided rubber mallets to tap on different 'tongues' on top of drum; try one mallet or two; transport yourself to an island getaway with these soothing sounds (there's no such thing as a "wrong note" with this). My personal favorite musical instrument for babies and toddlers.
As the name suggests, you (gently) whack these tubes on the ground or on your palm; notice the difference in pitch between the smallest tube and the largest; try tapping two tubes together (I like using 'C' and 'G').
Believe it or not, I do suggest a ukulele even for babies and toddlers; the adult can hold the uke flat on their lap while baby/toddler 'strums' along strings (aka slaps their hand around a bit); can also tap gently on the backside; try to pluck one string at a time.
Adult holds instrument and child blows into small mouthpiece while pressing keys (I don't recommend using the tube for littles as it's very hard to clean). Note, This instrument only works if you blow and press at the same time.
One of my most favorite musical instruments for babies and toddlers! Hold with two hands on the edges, blow into small holes - no such thing as a wrong note here. Perfect instrument for busy-bee toddlers.
Musical Instruments Summary
And there you have it, my top 20 unique, musical instruments for kids! We covered rhythmic instruments (also known as un-pitched instruments), as well as, pitched instruments (like the piano). I always recommend you offer some of each type of instrument for your kid to play. This will allow them the opportunity to begin to notice the differences and similarities, even if they can’t verbalize their findings, yet.
Wondering how to incorporate these instruments into your home? Create your own music zone! Check out our ultimate guide to creating your own music studio for young kids, right here! You’ll learn how to choose the perfect spot, what to include, how to keep the music station fresh and well loved for the long term, plus so much more.
Although these are durable and high-quality musical instruments for kids, they still aren’t indestructible. Always encourage your child to use care and gentle hands whenever they handle any instrument, to make sure it stays in good shape for as long as possible.
Now, I'd love to hear from you!
Leave a comment below and tell us which instrument you’d like to try next.
Which one might make an appearance at your next family jam session?
P.S. Looking to purchase these instruments?
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