Best Music Toys

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

31 Models Considered
68 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
275 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best music toys

Last Updated October 2019

Music is one of the most powerful tools we have. It can elevate moods, sharpen focus, inspire, and even physically change the brain to foster growth and development. Incorporating music toys into your child's playtime can have such a powerful impact that the positive effects could last a lifetime.

The best music toys engage curiosity and encourage creativity, allowing your child to explore and grow at his or her own pace. They must be age-appropriate so there are no safety concerns and be challenging enough so your child doesn't lose interest too quickly. And don't forget, music toys need to be fun!

If you're ready to buy, we've listed a number of highly rated music toys in our shopping guide. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of music toys and how they can help your child excel in life.

Not only can music soothe the savage beast, it can also calm a cranky toddler.

Key considerations

Safety

The most important aspect of any toy for a young child is safety. Avoid toys with small parts, toxic materials, sharp edges, strings, threads, or ribbons. Ideally, a toy should be lightweight as well.

Appealing design

Colors, shapes, and themes all play a vital role in engaging your child's interest. If the music toy doesn't have something that makes it stand out from others scattered about the floor, it will not be used.

Complexity

Always choose a toy that is age-appropriate. A music toy that is too complex may quickly frustrate a child and cause it to be set aside until the child is old enough to better appreciate it. Conversely, a music toy that is too simplistic may never get the chance to be the favorite.

Active vs. passive

Do you want a music toy that requires the child to do something that directly results in a specific sound, tone, or song? Or would you prefer a toy that just plays full songs without the child needing to accomplish a specific task?

Variety

After a music toy captures a child's attention, it needs to be able to sustain that interest. A variety of sounds, tunes, and activities will help ensure that a music toy has a long and purposeful play life.

A box of sonic exploration

Melissa & Doug have put together a box full of adventure that encourages development, hand-eye coordination, and fun. The set is comprised of six different percussive musical instruments that each offer a unique sound, allowing your child to partake in a wide variety of stimulating sonic activities. Band-in-a-Box is best for children three and up, but parents can play the instruments to entertain toddlers as well.

Music toys by age

Babies develop at different rates. In most cases, being a little behind or a little ahead of the curve is nothing to be concerned about. For the purpose of helping you choose a music toy that keeps your child engaged and developing, here are some general guidelines to make you aware of your child's interests, abilities, and potential at different ages along with some examples of music toys that would be appropriate.

Birth to six months

During the earliest stages of development, babies aren't mobile, so they explore by observing and reaching out with their hands and feet. Your baby will turn her head toward a sound. The best kinds of music toys at this age are a rattle or an unbreakable mirror that also makes noise. A musical crib mobile to watch might also be a good idea, but as soon as your baby begins sitting up, the crib mobile has to go.

Six to 12 months

At this age, babies begin to further explore their world because they can roll over, scoot, and pull themselves up. Your baby will become more adept at using her fingers and will start to understand cause and effect, so a music toy needs a little more variety than a rattle. A plush sensory toy or a cube or another object with different musical features and buttons engages curiosity. A play mat that makes sounds or a musical ball that encourages movement are also examples of music toys that would be appropriate at this age.

12 to 24 months

From 12 to 24 months, development is phenomenal because your baby can now explore by walking and climbing. Imagination and creativity are on the rise, so toys that foster growth and development in these areas are a good idea. Toys with numerous dials, buttons, switches, and lids as well as a keyboard featuring a variety of sounds and songs can all be beneficial at this age. Books begin to be objects of fascination and exploration during this time, so it's the perfect opportunity to introduce ones that feature buttons that play songs and sound effects to enhance the story.

Two to three years

During these years, your toddler can engage in more complex activities that involve both hands. She enjoys dancing and begins to develop a more personal relationship with music. Music toys that involve a puzzle element or allow your child to combine and layer different sounds are excellent choices, and so are toys that play songs. Music toys that depend on physical actions, such as a xylophone or drum, are good, simple musical instruments that can be used with adult supervision. Children are more social at this age, so this is a great time to introduce music toys that involve playing together with parents or other children.

Three and up

At this age, musical instruments and complex musical concepts can start to be introduced. A child may begin to learn piano or violin by imitation, but an instrument such as a recorder, which involves specific fingerings to produce different pitches, can be learned as early as preschool.

DID YOU KNOW?

A positive musical experience at a young age can stay with an individual throughout his or her entire life, offering greater self-confidence and a sense of belonging and providing a safe haven in stressful situations.

DID YOU KNOW?

Although there are numerous positive developmental benefits offered by music, it is important to be vigilant and watch your child for any adverse effects. It is possible, for instance, for some types of music to be unsettling and cause anxiety in a young child.

DID YOU KNOW?

In some studies, music was believed to be responsible for helping premature babies gain weight.

Music toy prices

Inexpensive

If you're looking at spending about $10 or $15, you will get a toy with a small variety of options — a few buttons to press, a few sounds, and maybe some flashing lights.

Mid-range

From $15 to $25, you will start to see musical instruments, and the toys are a little more complicated with specific sounds being related to specific actions (e.g., press the cat to hear a meow).

Expensive

From $25 to $50 (and above), the toys become increasingly complex to operate (while still remaining age-appropriate) to encourage development and growth. Additionally, there may be many more activities to explore on these music toys.

An engaging toddler treat

The Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes is sized for a toddler's hands, making it easy for him to grab the handle and take it wherever his wanderlust leads. It features seven classical tunes that your child can advance with a large colorful button. The flashing lights and spinning rings offer additional means of entertainment, and the pleasant tone keeps parents content as well.

How sound and music affect your baby

When your baby is playing with a music toy, not only is she learning by doing, but she is also being affected by the notes, rhythms, and sounds that the toy makes. Here are some elements of sound and music that you need to carefully consider when choosing a music toy for your child.

  • Soothing sounds: Music toys that feature smooth, soothing sounds can reduce stress and even lull your baby to sleep.

  • Simple, upbeat melodies: Music toys that feature bright, happy songs can elevate your child's mood and enhance his or her playing experience.

  • Startling noises: When it comes to babies, an unexpected sound is not fun. In fact, it can add stress to your child's playtime. Play toy instruments gently for baby.

  • Variety: Routines can give a child a sense of comfort and security, but variety allows her to explore and develop. Look for a music toy that offers a variety of songs and sounds.

Other products we considered

Entertainment is subjective. What keeps one toddler engaged and developing might not be complex enough to hold an advanced learner's interest. The following musical toys require something a little more from your child, whether it's advanced hand-eye coordination or the ability to think creatively and explore sonic textures.

Liberty Imports’ Rainbow Xylophone Piano Bridge combines a colorful xylophone with drums and a bell in an imaginative world that encourages exploration. The toy even comes with music so your child can learn to play songs. WolVol’s Kids’ Musical Activity Cube is an incredibly stimulating safety-tested toy that features a plethora of activities for your child. With engaging lights, sounds, moving parts, and pictures, this toy has a great deal to offer. B. Toys’ B. Symphony Musical Toy Orchestra can introduce your child to the world of arranging. There are 15 songs with 13 instrumental parts that your child can layer (up to six at a time) to create an original musical arrangement of a classic song.

Your baby's first musical toy doesn't have to be musical. Initially, anything, whether it is animal sounds or other noises, will do the trick.

FAQ

Q. How early should I start introducing music into my baby's life?

A. While still in the womb, after just 16 weeks, a baby begins to respond to sounds. At 24 weeks, rhythm and pitch can affect your baby's heart rate. This is why playing music while your child is still in the womb can have such a profound effect.

Q. What's the best age to introduce musical toys?

A. The toddler years are the most impactful time to introduce your child to music. At as early as 15 months, your child can start relating sounds with actions, the two crucial elements needed to play a musical instrument. A musical toy introduced at this critical age can help a toddler develop creativity, language, memory, and emotional intelligence.

Q. What can I do to help?

A. The best thing you can do is simply integrate musical activities into your child's daily routine. Sing quiet songs before bedtime and listen to more kinetic music during the day. Watch to see what engages your toddler and explore. Many great musical artists recall a childhood filled with songs and music.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director

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