Top 11 Musical Instruments for Kids With Rhythm

Music teaches kids lots of skills. Learning to play music requires commitment and discipline and if you splash out on an instrument, you need to know your child is going to put time and effort into practicing their skills. Children can learn rhythm, beat, pattern recognition, and even math from music. Musical instruments for kids can also help to cultivate social skills while collaborating to make music together.

Parents rarely have to be convinced of the merits of teaching their children the alphabet or how to count, but adding music to their daily schedule can often be a stretch. But here’s the thing: there are SO many benefits to encouraging your child to learn to play music. But with so many musical instruments for kids how do you make the right pick?

To help you choose the right starter kit for your child, here is my list of the top musical instruments for kids.

What To Look For When Choosing The Best Musical Instruments For Kids 

Choose the right musical instrument for your child will encourage them to learn to play the musical instrument; it boosts the love for music. Choosing the wrong musical instrument has the opposite effect. These features will help parents decide what is best for their little ones. 

Your child’s age is crucial for picking the best musical toys; choose sturdy, age-appropriate instruments.  Young children don’t have the hand-eye coordination,  motor skills, or ability to play instruments that are right for older kids. 

  • Ages Under 2. Babies are too young to understand musical concepts; playing kids musical instruments means banging it for sound effects. The best musical instrument for kids so young is toy piano, little drums, xylophone, and maracas. 
  • Ages 2-4 Years.  The best musical instruments for toddlers are instruments that develop the foundations of music concepts. Instruments like the violin, piano, kalimba, and keyboard are excellent for kids in this age group that understand why they are learning to play a musical instrument. Very young kids enjoy shaking musical toys like rattles, bells, rain sticks, and tambourines.
  • Ages 5-6 Years. Children prefer instruments they don’t have to hold or lift, like the ukulele or guitar and other large string instruments. Great instruments for this age group are the piano, drums, and violin.

The child’s musical ability also influences the type of instrument. Musically inclined kids will prefer more complex instruments than children who use them as musical toys.

The child’s size determines what type of musical instrument they can handle. Smaller hands and height make it difficult to hold and play large instruments. 

Some musical instruments for kids, like a child-size violin, come in smaller sizes for easier handling. 

The child must be able to hold and play the instrument long enough to complete a half an hour practice session. Large woodwind and low brass instruments like the trombone, tuba, saxophone, concert harp, and Basson are too heavy for toddlers and small children.  

Children play musical instruments for the sound effects. If your child doesn’t like the sounds of the musical instruments, they won’t enjoy playing them.

Let your child decide what they want to play. Some kids will clearly show which musical instruments they prefer. Many music shops allow for a trial session where they introduce kids to different instruments. 

Musical Instruments for Kids Compared

Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard Piano With Stand
Check price at
Ehome Percussion Instruments With Storage Backpack
Check price at
Schylling Kids Accordion
Check price at
ohner 6 Piece Rhythm Instrument Set
Check price at
Click n’ Play Set of 2 Musical Wind Instruments for Kids
Check price at

The Best Instruments For Children Reviewed

Best Traditional Kids Musical Instrument: Kalimba Thumb Paino 17 Keys

The Kalimba Thumb Piano is an excellent beginner instrument for a kid or an adult. The traditional African Kalimba music is soothing and, based on logic, easy to learn. Have fun with your kid, accompany them on the guitar or sit back and relax listening to century-old sounds played by a modern kid.

Kids four years and older can play the kalimba; it doesn’t take hours to learn songs. Your kid can learn their first song within five minutes with the downloaded play guidance. The value for money purchase includes the Kalimba thumb piano, a tuning hammer, an instruction book, stickers, cleaning fabric, and the flannelette bag to keep the kalimba safe.

The thumb piano is handcrafted with high-quality material and ore steel bars. The polished smooth surfaces protect little fingers and soft nails. The natural air-dried wood, providing the ethereal timbre, matches with the natural wood grain. Keys embossed with letters and notes won’t fade or rub off like sticker notes finger pianos. A hand-rest curve design ensures hands are ergonomically correctly angled to play a song.

The Kalimba Thumb Piano comes with a 60-days unconditional return guarantee. It is an excellent gift for kids. Motivate your kid to play more songs with the free downloadable electronic songbook.

Best Keyboard Piano For Kids: Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard Piano With Stand

Designed for beginners and intermediate-level musicians, the Hamzer 61-Key Portable Electronic Keyboard Piano is one of the best musical instruments for any kid. Hamzer is known for its professional quality keyboards, and this keyboard piano is no exception.

Kids learn quickly to play songs with single and fingered chords. The built-in recorder with playback features will help budding musicians improve their vocal and playing skills. It’s not for babies, but for any child who dreams of playing music. The integrated learning system features 61 keys, excellent acoustics, and the option to play traditional piano or organ sounds. The transparent stickers will help to identify piano keys.

Expect great sound from the built-in speakers; it features 255 timbres, 255 rhythms, 61 keyboard percussions, and 24 demonstration songs. Play for an audience through the external speakers or practice privately with headphones. The purchase includes a microphone with a 4 feet cord, audio input, output, and headphones. The keyboard features single and fingered auto-bass chords, chord timbre selection, vibrato-sustain-ensemble effects, tempo adjustment, volume control, rhythm sync, and program/edit rhythms for the best sound and effects.

The lightweight piano with its stand and stool is easy to set up and transport to music lessons and venues. With the three-position adjustments, the stand is adjustable to your kid’s height. For extended play, plug in the US-standard 110-120 volt power adapter or power it with 6 AA batteries (not included).

Best Set Of Percussion Instruments: Ehome Percussion Instruments With Storage Backpack

The Ehome 15 piece rhythm instrument set is a complete rhythm band in an easy-to-carry bag. These 15 instruments are perfect to get your little ones moving, grooving and marching to the beat in their own head. These child-sized instruments are awesome for group play-dates – with 15 to choose from, everyone will be able to play. They also help build up motor skill development, hand-eye coordination and creative expression for your young tyke.

Best Musical Toys For Elementary Schoolers: Fun Fiddle Kids Violin by Lil Virtuoso

Fun Fiddle Violin musical instruments for toddlers

The Fun Fiddle Violin is an easy-to-use electronic violin that plays seven beautiful classical pieces by Bach, Paganini and Mozart. This cool junior violin will instill a love of music in your child and teach them the basics of bowing and musical notes. They can also create original melodies by pressing the buttons and using one of three activity modes.

Great Musical Toys For Coordination: Schylling Kids Accordion

Schylling Kids Accordion

The Schylling kids accordion looks and sounds just like the real thing. It’s a finely crafted wooden musical toy that’s easy to play, but full instructions are included. This accordion has seven keys, a buckle and strap for the bellows, an air valve, harmonic and bass. Kids will be able to play simple tunes, which will stand them in good stead if they decide to take up accordion playing later in life.

Best Musical Instrument Set For Rhythm: Hohner 6 Piece Rhythm Instrument Set

Hohner 6 Piece Rhythm Instrument Set

The Hohner 6 piece rhythm instrument set is a complete rhythm band in a box. When your child opens up the box, they will find a tambourine, triangle with striker, rhythm sticks, cymbals with two mallets, a wood sounder and mallet, and a nylon wrist bell. Also included in the set are age-appropriate sing and play activity cards for kids to try out their musical skills. It’s a great set for making music at home!

Best Blowing Instruments For Kids: Click n’ Play Set of 2 Musical Wind Instruments for Kids

Best saxaphone for Kids to play

Children aged 3 years and above will have lots of fun learning to make music with this Click n’ Play set of two wind instruments, which features a toy saxophone and trumpet. Each instrument produces realistic musical notes and the keys are color-coded, so kids can learn to play the songs printed on the box. The set is an ideal introduction to learning how to play musical instruments.

Best Musical Sounds For Multiple Kids B. Toys Parum Pum Pum Drum Eight-Piece Drum Kit

B. Toys Parum Pum Pum Drum musical instruments for kids

The B. Toys Parum Pum Pum Drum eight-piece drum kit is perfect for toddlers and younger kids. It comes with silly centipede drumsticks, busy bee maracas, a clacker, jingle bell ants, a caterpillar tambourine, and shaka-shaka eggs. These drums have a carry handle to make it easy for small hands to walk around marching to their own musical rhythm.

Best Drum Set For Motor Skills Development: VTech KidiBeats Drum Set

Top Drum Set For Kids To Play WIth

The VTech KidiBeats drum set is the perfect sensory development toy for younger children. There are three drum pads and a cymbal, each with a distinctive sound, plus two drum sticks. Toddlers aged 2-5 years can play using letters, numbers, or follow-along systems. Or they can just have fun with a ‘free play’ session.No need for an additional padded drum throne; toddlers play seated on the floor or standing when elevated.

Best Classical Musical Instrument: Glockenspiel Xylophone Musical Instrument

best xylophone for children

Glockenspiel xylophones are a classic musical instruments for kids and even very young kids will love to have a go at making music on one of these wonderfully simple toys. This xylophone comes with two wooden mallets and a color coded songbook, so your child will be able to start playing simple tunes immediately.

Great Kids Toy To Sing And Play Songs: Hape Kid’s Wooden Toy Ukulele

Fun kids blue uke

The Hape Early Melodies ukulele is a nice, sturdy ukulele for young children. This is the perfect tool to teach kids all about basic rhythm and strumming. The instrument can be tuned very easily, so you don’t have to listen to hideous out-of-tune music. Buy your budding Beethoven a ukulele and she can have fun developing her natural musical talent.

Best Guitar For Young Rock Stars: Little Tikes PopTunes Guitar

Fun pre-k Guitar

If your child wants to become a rock guitarist, the Little Tikes PopTunes guitar should get them on the road to success from an early age. This fun musical toy is made from translucent grey plastic and features red and blue LED lights. Kids can play pre-sent tunes or practice their rock ‘n roll riffs on the strings. There is even a special effects ‘whammy bar’!

Best Drum Sounds For Preschoolers: Plan Toy Solid Wood Drum

Plan Toy Solid Wood Drum

The Plan Toy solid wood drum is a simple toy, but one that is bound to become a firm favorite in any musical household. Give your child this toy as a gift and let them learn all about rhythm through play. The drum is kid-friendly enough for toddlers and pre-school children and when struck with the rubber-tipped drumstick, it emits a pleasant melodic sound.

As the name implies, it comes with a wooden drum and a child-sized drum stick the perfect size for kids and toddlers alike. It’s one of our favorite instruments for kids due to it’s longevity; this drum should last long enough for your grandchildren to play with it.

Beautiful Instrument For Country Musick Fans: Clearly Colorful Translucent Harmonica by Hohner

Clearly Colorful Translucent Harmonica by Hohner

If you’re looking for an inexpensive musical stocking filler or party favor, look no further. These cute plastic harmonicas are available in assorted different colors and come with a protective plastic sheath. They are a fantastic first musical instrument for younger kids and despite the cheap price tag, the scale is accurate and they are a great learning tool for musically minded children.

We have tried to include the best musical instruments for kids, from wannabe rock stars to classical musicians, but if you have any great recommendations, let us know your tips in the comments below.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, fred_v.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.