5 instruments for babies and kids

In this Tuesday Tune-In, I want to answer a question I get asked all the time: Which instruments are best to introduce to your baby?

As you know, I’m all about making music with your baby.  As you read this list, keep in mind that my intention is not only for you to buy these instruments and let your baby explore them but for you to have fun too.

If you do it right, these instruments will eventually have an association to togetherness and bonding with your baby.

Important note: As you go out to buy instruments for your baby and children, keep in mind that they need to sound somewhat good. Many of the toy instruments out there just don’t sound good. To me, those will not end up inspiring our babies to make music. Try to find instruments that inspire even you to sit and play with them.

As I say in my classes all the time: “The more our babies see us enjoying music and engaging in music, the more they will want to do it too.”


5 instruments I recommend for babies:

*I am not affiliated with any of these brands. They’re just instruments that I’ve found to be well made and sound decent.


  1. Drums:

As you know, I love drumming with little ones. If you’ve been in my classes for older babies, you know that we often dive into drum circles and learn drumming rhythms and styles from other cultures. For years, I’ve been looking for drums that don’t take up too much space and still sound good. I finally found them. These nested Frame Drums are perfect for pulling out and having a family drum circle and then being able to store them away.   

As another option, these Djembes sound great and store easily in different sizes.


  1. Harmonicas 

I love using harmonicas with babies and kids. Harmonicas are built in one key. So, if you are playing a song on the speakers or on the guitar, you can easily play a song in the key of your harmonica. When you buy it, check out what key it is in. It often says it on the harmonica itself.

It will take some time for your baby to learn how to blow into it. Keep showing them yourself, and have fun making music while you are doing so. Sometimes it helps to blow on their cheek and then blow into the harmonica in order to illustrate the concept of blowing.

As with anything, you can find extremely cheap harmonicas that are made poorly and don’t sound good. Try to find one that has somewhat of a good sound. These colorful, plastic Harmonicas can take a beating and have a decent sound. They will fall apart eventually but I’ve found that it takes a while.


  1. Shakers

This easy-to-hold instrument is so great to teach your baby rhythm. They fit in little hands and are a fun shape to put in little mouths. There are very cheap shakers out there that don’t sound great to me and can bust open, spreading small beads everywhere. Clearly, I avoid those. But I’ve found some that work perfectly.

These colorful plastic Shakers have a great sound and don’t fall apart easily. These fruit-shaped Shakers are fun and sound good, too – although it may be a bit confusing for your baby. If you are looking for slightly larger wooden shakers, you can find those as well. Often they don’t have as good of a sound but they are a little bit safer because they are larger and don’t fit in a mouth.

Note: All of these instruments will say 3+ on them. That doesn’t mean that your baby can’t use them, it just means that she/he should be supervised when they do.


  1. Glockenspiels

This is an arrangement of metal bars laid out in a scale (often in C) that sound like bells. It resembles a piano or small xylophone and is often the first instrument to be slapped onto a toy. If you’re going to get one, you’ll need to invest a little bit in one that sounds good. These can be so fun for babies to play with.

Again, most of them are not recommended for babies under three because they can be taken apart. But if you play with your baby and make sure she is not getting into trouble it should be fine.

I like this Glockenspiel set because you can use as bells separately and as a scale. If your child is older, there is this Glockenspiels with musical note boards, and this one. Both seem great although although I have not had the chance to try them yet.


  1. Uke

Once again, you can find some very cheap ukuleles out there and they sound pretty awful and fall apart in a day. I’m sure you’ve had that experience already. So it’s worth investing a bit more to get something that will last a bit longer. These first Ukuleles  come in all different colors, aren’t too expensive, sound good and are easy to tune.


So there is your list. I hope you feel inspired to expand your music corner at home.

Now, make me a promise: If you buy musical instruments for your baby, try not to just give them to her and hope that she becomes Mozart. Sit with her. Play with her. Make music with her. Let her feel the magic that comes from playing music together.



Which instrument have you tried and loved or hated? I want to hear your experience! COMMENT BELOW and let me know.

Something you got as a gift from a relative? Something that was an impulse buy? We learn from each other!


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