Great music gifts for kids

Birthdays, Children’s Day, Christmas or no occasion at all – kid’s love getting presents. And parents love giving them to their little ones and seeing those big happy smiles on their faces. That’s why today I want to show you some ideas for great quality gifts for kids of different age groups. And yes – you guessed correctly. They’re going to be all musical instruments!

There are many, many reasons why a music instrument is a good idea for a gift – and if you follow this blog I probably don’t have to encourage you to introduce music to your child’s life… because you’re already doing that. BUT what kind of instruments should you choose considering your kid’s age, a huge price gap between different toy instruments and your own fear of giving your baby something he’s not yet ready for – since manufacturers often protect themselves from potential lawsuits by adding a “3+” sign on the label? That’s what I’m going to talk about today.

Let’s start with prices.

Toy instruments for kids – the cheaper, the better?

When it comes to prices, there are a few options. You can choose an instrument produced by a well-known and respected company, safe and equipped with all the quality assurance certifications… and of course quite an expensive one. These would often be wooden toys produced by companies with not so broad but very solid product offering. I recommend brands like Goki, Bigjigs, Plan Toys, Pintoy. They don’t offer many toy instruments to choose from and the prices are quite high… but so is the quality.

On the other hand, maybe you’ll decide there’s no reason to overpay for a certain instrument. That’s ok, too. For sure you can find some music toys for less than 10 dollars – or you can even check my DIY projects and build some instruments for kids by yourself with close to no money spent. And of course there are many other options between those extremes.

But the most important thing is to know what instruments are best suited for your child’s current cognitive development – then prices and safety reasons become much clearer. So here are my ideas for music toys for 3 age groups: infants under 12 months, toddlers between 1-3 years old and kids between 3-5.

Music toys for infants (0-12 months)

With the youngest kids it’s good to focus on small percussion instruments. Of course if it’s you who’s going to do the playing FOR the baby – then you can choose whatever you want, including piano and violin… But if it’s supposed to be a toy for a baby musician, go with small and light percussion instruments – easy to grab with a little infant’s hand but big enough not to fit in child’s mouth, and preferably without any loose elements that could fall off. That means you probably should leave tambourines and guiros for now…

When to start? As soon as your baby learns to grab things! Most of the producers, even when it comes to the most expensive and certified brands, protect themselves by putting age restrictions on the box – for example that the product should not be used by kids under 3 years old (sometimes under 1). But the toy instruments I’m suggesting are made of safe materials, non-toxic paints and they don’t’ contain any small parts that the child could swallow – so there’s no need to worry about that.

Wooden maracas

If you want to know more about maracas and learn how make one by yourself, check out my DIY project. But when it comes to infants, it might be a good idea to invest in something solid and safe. Beautiful wooden maracas for children are available in prices ranging from $6 to $40 and more – and frankly, I’m not sure where this difference comes from.

Egg shakers

Egg shakers are a great alternative for maracas – and in my opinion they’re better fitted for a little infant’s hand! They’re usually made of plastic and are available for about $8.

Wooden clackers

My favorite is a crocodile-shaped castanet from Pintoy (about $5 for one castanet). But you can find very similar clap-claps shaped as serpent and crocodile also from Goki (about $18 for a pair). These music toys are not very expensive, especially considering the brand.

Tulip bell clacker

It’s called a bell, but there are no metal elements in it. The toy is made entirely of plastic, it’s light, perfect for little baby hands and produces really adorable sounds. Price is adorable, too – you can get one just for $2.

Music gifts for toddlers (1-3 years old)

In this age group, considering child’s manual abilities, it’s good to introduce percussion instruments for kids that can produce different tones, such as:

Xylophone

Prices for this great instrument range from $3 for simpler models up to $23 and more for brand products (e.g. Plan Toy).

Wooden castanets

Perfect to improve small motor skills. They’re adorable and available in many different shapes and colors. They’re also affordable, even when it comes to brand products (around $5).

Wooden flute or whistle

Blowing is not exactly an obvious skill for an infant (although I’ve seen some babies in my class who were able to blow long before they reached the age of 12 months!). Flutes are available in various prices, ranging from $4 to $20. At this age it’s all about blowing. It’s much too soon for actually playing the flute and using fingers to cover small holes and produce many different sounds. So instead of a flute a wooden whistle would probably be more than enough. You can get a pretty whistle for $4-10.

Tambourine

Here you can choose between brand instrument (e.g. Goki for $18) or you can go with a cheaper alternative – prices start from $3. I think there’s no reason to overpay for this one, since we have both versions at home and, frankly, I don’t see any difference neither in quality of sounds, nor the design and structure.

 

Instruments for kids of 3-5 years

At this age children would welcome a little challenge – like learning to get various pitches out of an instrument. Great music gifts for kids 3-5 years old would be for example:

Guiro

This is an extraordinary wooden percussion instrument. Price gap is huge when it comes to this one, but I wouldn’t recommend to overpay – an instrument for around $5 will be quite enough.

Harmonica

You can get a simple harmonica for around $6.

Triangle

There’s something about triangles that little girls really love. You can get one for approximately $3-4, and there’s absolutely no reason to buy a more expensive product.

Banjo / a small guitar

Here it gets a bit tricky – there are some beautiful toy banjos and small guitars for kids and they’re not exactly cheap. The problem is that some of these music toys have strings made of plastic – and that doesn’t really sound good. They’re more of a toy than actual instrument. If you’re ready to spend $40-50 on a toy banjo, reconsider – you can get an actual ukulele for the same amount of money. It would be a good choice – ukuleles can be colorful and they’re small enough so preschoolers can handle them. And what’s more important, it’s a real instrument that your kid could play even when he gets older.

And since we’ve already got to more expensive instruments for kids that can take us to another level of sounds, here are some more ideas:

Boomwhackers (prices starting from $30)

Diatonic bells – little bells that make sounds when you press a button on them (around $40 for a set)

Round chime bars ($50-100)

As you can see there’s a lot to choose from – when it comes to gifts for kids you can get many different toy instruments for each age group and price range. The decision is yours – I hope you’ll find this article helpful and get your kid a perfect musical gift!