7 Best Musical Instruments for Kids of 2023

Excited multiethnic kids playing musical instruments near happy teacher.

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  • Musical instruments benefit children of all ages, from babies to big kids. 
  • It’s never too early to introduce music to your baby. 
  • Listening to music and playing a musical instrument benefits cognitive development, increases academic achievement, and teaches patience and perseverance. 
  • There are some great musical instruments for kids that will grab your child’s interests and keep their small hands busy. 

One of the earliest and easiest things you can do for your baby’s development is to introduce them to music. Even very young babies respond to music, which has many benefits. Listening to music and playing instruments improves cognition, memory, literacy, and numeracy and teaches children about patience, perseverance, and respect for other cultures. 

However, you don’t need a grand piano to introduce kids to music. There are so many cute and clever musical toys and instruments for kids to help them find their favorite groove. We’ve found some of the most adorable, kid-friendly, and fun musical instruments for kids of 2023. Check them out! 

Best Choice
Boxiki kids Musical Instruments Set of 16 PCS - Toddler Educational & Musical Percussion for Kids - with Tambourine, Maracas & Castanets & More to Fine Motor Skills - 3+ Years Olds
Best First Guitar
KidKraft Lil' Symphony Wooden Play Guitar, Kids Musical Instrument Toy, Gift for Ages 3+
Best First Drum Set
Mendini By Cecilio Kids Drum Set - Junior Kit w/ 4 Drums (Bass, Tom, Snare, Cymbal), Drumsticks, Drum Throne - Beginner Drum Sets & Musical Instruments
Boxiki Kids Musical Instrument Set
KidKraft Lil’ Symphony Wooden Play Guitar
Mendini by Cecilio Kids Drum Set
$39.99
Price not available
$93.99
Best Choice
Boxiki kids Musical Instruments Set of 16 PCS - Toddler Educational & Musical Percussion for Kids - with Tambourine, Maracas & Castanets & More to Fine Motor Skills - 3+ Years Olds
Boxiki Kids Musical Instrument Set
$39.99
Best First Guitar
KidKraft Lil' Symphony Wooden Play Guitar, Kids Musical Instrument Toy, Gift for Ages 3+
KidKraft Lil’ Symphony Wooden Play Guitar
Price not available
Best First Drum Set
Mendini By Cecilio Kids Drum Set - Junior Kit w/ 4 Drums (Bass, Tom, Snare, Cymbal), Drumsticks, Drum Throne - Beginner Drum Sets & Musical Instruments
Mendini by Cecilio Kids Drum Set
$93.99

Our Choice: Boxiki Kids Musical Instrument Set

Boxiki Kids Musical Instrument Set
  • ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY — Give your child the gift of music! These music learning toys provide your little one with a unique way to express their creativity and musicality; Inspire them to sing, play and learn with this engaging wooden instrument set!
  • STIMULATE EARLY DEVELOPMENT Exposure to music helps your child develop hand-eye-coordination, an alert sense of musicality, and an active and eager mind; So let the sleigh bells ring and the wooden maracas spin with these child development toys!
  • DEVELOP RHYTHM & MUSICALITY Little hands and voices are eager for music! Introduce songs and instruments, or let them play their own tunes; This musical play set is a fun way to develop your child’s musicality while enjoying quality time together
  • COMPLETE WOODEN INSTRUMENT SET Designed for little hands, this toy set includes percussion eggs, wood maracas, rhythm sticks, bells, castanets and more; It’s everything you need to introduce your child to the wonderful world of music!
Pros 
Cons
  • Great variety of instruments to explore
  • Made of natural wood and non-toxic
  • Noisy

The 16-piece Boxiki Kids Musical Instrument Set includes a kid-size tambourine, maracas, castanets, wrist bells, and other hand percussion instruments for a ton of fun playing solo or with friends. 

All the pieces are made of natural wood and are non-toxic, with no small dangerous parts. It also comes with a handy carrier bag for easy storage. 

This is a great set for the family to use together to play along with your favorite songs or for kids to have fun with on a play date. Playing in a group not only helps with fine motor skills and learning cause and effect, but it also teaches turn-taking and other social skills. 

For ages three and up, this is the perfect set for introducing young kids to rhythm instruments. However, be prepared for a lot of noise from this set of 16 as your kids explore the different pieces. 

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Best Musical Bath Toy: Alex Toys Rub a Dub Water Flutes

Alex Toys Rub a Dub Water Flutes
  • Make music in the tub
  • Parents’ Magazine Best Toys of the Year
  • iParenting Media Award and NAPPA Gold Seal Award winner
  • Includes 5 flutes, flute holder and waterproof song sheets
Pros 
Cons 
  • Educational bath toy
  • Comes with waterproof music
  • Award-winning
  • Difficult to keep clean
  • Small children may get frustrated

Alex Toys Rub a Dub Water Flutes are a brilliant combination of bath toy and musical instrument that also teaches kids about the science of water and sound. 

Fill each flute with water to a particular level to achieve the notes. Then, follow the included waterproof music to play songs. Kids love the combination of water and music that they can play themselves at bathtime.  

It’s easy to see why this toy won the Parents’ Magazine Best Toys of the Year, among other awards. 

Be warned that this is not the easiest bath toy to keep clean. You’ll want to take it out of the tub every time to dry between uses to avoid mold. Also, younger kids may get frustrated with filling the flutes precisely to play the notes. 

However, this toy makes a great educational gift that parents are impressed with and that kids adore. 

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Best for Newborns: Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes

Sale
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
  • A best-selling favorite with thousands of 5 star ratings and over 30 million sold worldwide and counting
  • The Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes inspires a lifelong love of music with hours of entertainment
  • Baby can switch between 10 total melodies and the lights dance with the melodies
  • Volume control is music to mom & dad’s ears; easy to wipe down and clean
Pros 
Cons 
  • Introduces music to babies from three months and up
  • Plays real music that’s soft and soothing
  • Inexpensive and durable
  • The tunes will get repetitive for parents and caregivers

I’ve been giving Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes as a baby gift for years, ever since I first discovered it for my kids. It’s always a guaranteed hit. 

This small gadget introduces babies as young as three months to ten different classical music tunes. The tiny screen lights up with different colors along with the melodies, which is stimulating for your baby without being overwhelming. 

Toddlers will continue to play with it as they grow because it’s easy to hold and use, and the beads on the handle add interest. Luckily, it also comes with volume control, unlike most electronic toys, which is a big plus for parents. 

This is the perfect first musical toy for very young babies, and you’ll be surprised at how long your kids will love it. 

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Best First Drum Set: Mendini by Cecilio Kids Drum Set

Sale
Mendini by Cecilio Kids Drum Set
  • Great Kids Drum Sets: These are great starter drums for kids to learn on. Smaller sized genuine hardwood shells and triple flanged hoops make this the perfect first set for a younger player. It includes everything needed to get off to a great start.
  • High Quality, Great Sound: The drum kit for kids not only looks shiny, vibrantly colored and glittery, but the kids drums are durably made. They are strong to sustain continuous play while producing a great sound
  • Drum Set Includes: The kid drum set comes with 1 bass drum (8”x13”, 4 lugs, bass drum foot pedal), 1 mounted tom drum (6”x8”, 4 lugs), 1 mounted snare drum (4”x10”, 4 lugs) and 1 cymbal (8” with cymbal arm)
  • Included classes and Music Accessories: In addition to the kids musical instruments, the drum kit comes with 40 Melodics classes with redeem code, a pair of wooden kids drumsticks so the playing can start right after setup. It also includes a round padded drum throne with adjustable height.
Pros 
Cons
  • Good price for the quality
  • A real instrument at the right size for kids
  • Will be outgrown quickly if your child pursues the drums
  • Parents and caregivers will need to tolerate a lot of sound

If your little one is showing an interest in percussion, the Mendini by Cecilio Kids Drum Set is the perfect instrument.

This isn’t just a toy drum or a pretend instrument; it’s the real thing but made for kids’ tiny hands. It has good sound quality, and the four-piece set is an excellent way for any little drummer to get started. It also comes in exciting glittery colors. 

You’ll want to get your child learning some beats or playing along to songs because, without some guidance, they’ll get frustrated and abandon it. You’ll also need a designated space in the house for it. 

If your kids continue learning the drums, they’ll probably need to move onto a new set pretty quickly. However, little beginners will enjoy playing these drums. A great choice! 

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Best First Guitar: KidKraft Lil’ Symphony Wooden Play Guitar

KidKraft Lil’ Symphony Wooden Play Guitar
  • MADE OF WOOD: Crafted of long-lasting, premium and sustainable materials plus child-safe paints for a durable toy that can be passed down from kid to kid.
  • REALLY PLAYS: Strum the strings and it really plays music, giving kids a great introduction to the guitar and musical instrument learning.
  • ADJUSTABLE: Strings can be adjusted for the right tension, adding another realistic feature to this wooden musical instrument.
  • PERFORM FOR AN AUDIENCE: Colorful guitar is performance-ready—entertain a crowd of family, friends or stuffed animals.
Pros 
Cons
  • Six strings like a real guitar
  • Can be tuned and played, unlike other toy guitars
  • Doesn’t come with a strap so can be difficult for a little one to hold

This KidKraft Lil’ Symphony Wooden Play Guitar is much more like an adult guitar than a toy which makes it a brilliant introduction to the instrument. 

It has six metal strings like a real guitar, so kids get an actual guitar sound. Toy guitars with nylon strings don’t give the same satisfying sound. It can be tuned like a real guitar too. No pretending here!

On the downside, it doesn’t have a strap, so it can be a little tricky for kids to handle since they often like to play standing up. All in all, though, this is a nice way to introduce guitar to your kids. 

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Best Starter Piano: Melissa & Doug Learn-To-Play Piano

Sale
Melissa & Doug Learn-To-Play Piano
  • BRIGHTLY-PAINTED WOODEN PIANO: The Melissa & Doug Learn-to-Play Piano is an upright wooden piano that features 25 keys and 2 full octaves.
  • SOLID WOOD CONSTRUCTION: Our toy piano for children is built with solid wood construction. Its high-quality materials and superior construction ensure safety and durability.
  • EASY TO PLAY: The Melissa & Doug Learn-to-Play Piano is easy to play and comes with an illustrated songbook (English lyrics).
  • GIFT FOR KIDS 3 TO 5 YEARS: This piano makes a great gift for kids ages 3 to 5. Add the Melissa & Doug Caterpillar Xylophone Musical Toy to round out the musical play experience and give kids another engaging option for screen-free fun.
Pros 
Cons
  • Working piano with 25 keys and two octaves
  • Includes songbook
  • Expensive
  • Outgrown quickly

The Melissa & Doug Learn-To-Play Piano is a beautiful little gem of a toy instrument. It’s made of brightly painted wood and solidly built to withstand toddler musical experimentation. 

It has 25 keys covering two octaves, with the name of the note over each key so your child really can learn some piano basics. It also comes with a songbook, so you can pick out some tunes. 

This is an excellent instrument for children ages three to five. However, it’s also an expensive toy, and you may find that older children will lose interest in it quickly. So think about the age and ability of the child it’s going to before you buy.  

This makes a beautiful gift, and compared to its electronic competitors, it also makes some nicer sounds for mom and dad’s ears too. 

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Best Musical Toy: Fisher Price Think and Learn Rocktopus

Sale
Fisher Price Think and Learn Rocktopus
  • 15 musical instruments, 5 musical styles, 3 ways to play—1 rocking toy!
  • 3 play modes: Math, Music, and Game
  • Rocktopus responds to everymusical instrument as kids insert or tap them, helping guide them through game play
  • Kids are in control of their musical creations! Add or subtract instruments, control the tempo & add sound effects
Pros 
Cons
  • Introduces 15 instruments
  • Very responsive to children and satisfying for them
  • Connects music and math
  • No storage for the multiple small pieces
  • Can be overstimulating for some children

Although this isn’t an instrument, the Fisher Price Think and Learn Rocktopus gives your kiddos a great introduction to 15 instruments and five musical styles with three different ways to play music. 

Kids insert the instrument pegs into the Rocktopus, and it responds, guiding them through making music, doing math, or playing a game. 

Parents say that their kids can’t get enough of this toy because something different happens every time they use it. In addition, kids get a lot of satisfaction out of actually making music independently with the Rocktopus. 

Although it’s a great toy, it may not be for every kid. With so many bright colors, lights, sounds and multiple pieces to keep track of, some kids may find it overwhelming to use. However, for kids interested in music, this toy definitely rocks. 

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Why Playing Musical Instruments is Beneficial for Kids 

Playing musical instruments with your child is fun for them and a nice bonding activity for both of you. However, playing with musical toys, experimenting with instruments, and listening to different types of music also has a lot of other benefits for children from an early age:

Benefits of Musical Instruments for Babies 

It’s never too early to introduce music to your baby. The benefits of playing different kinds of music and introducing basic musical toys include: 

  • Better communication skills. 
  • Fine motor skill development. 
  • Cognitive skill development. 
  • Stress reduction. 
  • Better emotional regulation.
  • Can help with calming down for better sleep.  

Benefits of Musical Instruments for Toddlers

Toddlers love music, instruments, singing and dancing. The toddler years are a great time for children to explore musical instruments and express themselves through music. There are many benefits to musical instruments for toddlers, including: 

  • Exercising fine motor skills. 
  • Encouraging language, creativity, and expression. 
  • Enhancing skills they will later use for literacy and numeracy. 
  • Exposure to different cultures and languages. 
  • Improving listening skills
  • Improving social skills. 

Benefits of Musical Instruments for Big Kids

When it comes to school-age children learning an instrument, it doesn’t matter whether or not they’re Mozart. There are so many ways that learning a musical instrument benefits big kids: 

  • Increasing neural connections in the brain. 
  • Increasing focus, memory, and hand-eye coordination
  • Teaching perseverance, patience, and commitment. 
  • Growing appreciation for other cultures. 
  • Providing an outlet for self-expression. 
  • Improving self-esteem. 

Even if your child doesn’t end up playing an instrument at an advanced level or continue playing into adulthood, they still get all of the above benefits just from having the opportunity to learn. 

Choosing the Best Musical Instruments for Your Kid

When it comes to choosing the best musical toys or musical instruments for your child, there are a few things to consider before you buy. 

It’s helpful to think about your child’s age, ability and interest level. For example, how long will this instrument or musical toy really keep their attention? 

Another big consideration is your tolerance for some noisy experimentation. However, some noise is inevitable if you want your child to play an instrument. When it comes to electronic musical toys with sound effects, look for volume control options.  

Age 
What to Look For 
For Babies 
  • Rattles and shakers they can easily grasp.
  • Instruments made of non-toxic, safe materials that it’s okay for them to mouth.
  • Simple hand drums for older babies.
  • Toys they can get a sound out of without getting frustrated.
For Toddlers 
  • Mini keyboard, toy guitar, ukulele, maracas, tambourines, bells, simple wind instruments.
  • Instruments from different cultures.
  • Instruments made of safe, non-toxic materials that don’t splinter or pinch.
  • Instruments that comfortably fit in small hands.
  • Musical instruments that they can get to work easily and produce sound without frustration.
For Big Kids 
  • Ask your child what instrument they are interested in learning.
  • Watch videos or go to a live performance featuring that instrument.
  • Have a taster lesson or find an app that teaches beginners.
  • Try a smaller electronic keyboard or drum set if they’re starting to learn and you’re not ready to invest in the real thing.
  • Try the recorder as an easy first instrument.
  • Look into DJ sound board or drum machine for mixing sounds to introduce your child to music and rhythm in a different way.
Best Musical Instruments for Kids


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