toys and entertainment

The best musical instruments for little ones

Our top picks of musical instruments for babies and toddlers

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Why buy them?

Letting babies and toddlers get their hands on a musical instrument might create a bit of a racket, but did you know that it can help with their sensory development, build coordination and also let them start to express themselves (sometimes very loudly!).
There are baby and toddler music classes you can take them to, or just singing along to the radio jingling some bells can be just as fun!

What to spend

Many basic instruments designed for babies and toddlers will cost less than £10, with most ringing in for under £20. You can also buy several instruments in a set, which bumps the price up a bit, but means your child can experiment with a range of different sounds.

What to look for

Smooth easy-to-use handles that are easy for babies and young toddlers to grasp and bright and engaging colours.

Fox xylophone 2501. Fox Xylophone, £18, Skip Hop

Suitable for children aged 12 months and over, this xylophone also does double duty as a pull-along toy. It’s got a chunky mallet ideal for little hands to bash the notes with, that also can be used as the pull-along handle. We also like the friendly fox-design face.

Wooden maracas 2502. Wooden Maracas, £5.25, Wooden Toy Shop

Available in a choice of four different colours, yellow, pink, green and blue, these well-priced maracas will make any singing session go with a bang (or should that be a shake?). They’re designed to be grasped by a toddlers small hands and you get two in every set.

Baby Einstein Magic Touch Drums 2503. Magic drum, £19.99, Baby Einstein

Your baby can tap each of the characters to make a different sound, with a useful handle for little hands to hold. Choose between Drum Mode and Melody Mode so you baby can play along with music or make up their own tunes. And the best thing? Unlike normal drums there’s a volume control button!

Halilit Baby Tambourine 2504. Tambourine, £8.99, Halilit

How clever is this? A specially-designed tambourine for babies and young children that has the jingles sealed off in clear plastic, so they can see and hear them but not touch them - so no trapped fingers! Available in four different colours, there’s also a textured handle for an easier grip.

John Lewis My First Piano 2505. My First Piano, £15, John Lewis

An easy-to-use piano for budding musicians that can have them playing simple tunes almost straight away. It comes with six different song cards, so your child can follow the colours on the notes to play the tune. There’s also a built-in xylophone for added fun. It’s suitable for children aged 18 months and over.

The best musical instruments for little ones