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Music is incredibly important for a baby's development.
There are multiple studies that demonstrate that musical experiences in babyhood and childhood accelerate brain development - particularly language acquisition and reading ability - and learning to play musical instruments can also improve mathematical learning and memory skills. Plus, exposing young babies to music in their early developmental stages helps them learn the sound and meanings of words, and dancing engages motor skills that are critical to movement. Music education, exposure, and experiences also advance child development by evolving emotional resilience, helping their intellectual, socio-emotional, motor, and language literacy.
Introducing your newborn to the wonder and joy of music, and encouraging them to engage with musical instruments for babies can therefore have a significant impact on the development of their minds and bodies.
We've done the work so that you can invest in the best musical toys for babies out there and get singing and dancing with your toddlers. If you need further musical inspiration, don't forget to check out our list of the best kids' keyboards, or perhaps the best karaoke machines are more your child's style? Who knows, someday they may be ready to challenge even Beyoncé's crown...
Our Top Choice
Glow & Discover Light Bar™ Activity Station - Baby Einstein
The glowing reviews for this product speak for themselves. This trumped our list as one of the best musical toys because it's not solely a musical toy, but instead has many uses and therefore stimulates your baby in multiple ways. There are three modes to engage your child's sense of sound: animals, colours, and xylophone, and the content can be heard in either English, Spanish or French, so is perfect for bilingual children and language discovery. It collapses for easy storage but also works for tummy time play, and the interactive toy bar lights up when your baby touches the colourful sections or spins the rattle drum.
- Price: £19.92
- Age: 3 months+
Best For Families On A Budget
Infantino Spin & Slide DJ Panda - Amazon
A toy for kids, but also for adults too, this is one of the more engaging musical toys and can be enjoyed by babies as young as six months. It boasts funky beats, two light-up turntable drums with rotating rims (to create the classic record scratch sound effect), crossfaders, pitch change sliders, and bright flashing buttons. Kids can create their own tunes by playing with the turntable buttons, and they even have their own headphones, for added swag. Don't forget your AA batteries.
- Price: £14.99
- Age: 6 months - 3 years
Best Drums For Babies
Kids Drum Set - Amazon
Could you have your own rhythmic genius? Find out with this drum set, featuring three drum pads, two cymbals, and a microphone. It has five different play modes, all of which have flashing lights, and there are four different sound effects and ten songs included in the set, plus three rhythm options for your toddler to learn and play along to. It's also super bright and sturdy, which you definitely need toy drums to be if it's going to be ready for the bashing and hammering of your baby!
- Price: £35.99
- Age: 3+
Best Set Of Musical Instruments For Toddlers
25piece Wooden Percussion Instruments Toys Set - Amazon
This is a supremely colourful 25-piece set of instruments, including a xylophone, rainbow bell, tambourine, and maracas; all of which come in a handy backpack for ease of storage and travel. Kids can learn how to express themselves in the music, learn to share and collaborate, gain hand-eye coordination, and practice imagination and creativity.
- Price: £25.99
- Age: 3+
Best Musical Toy For Dance Parties
Little Tikes Little Ocean Explorer's Stand N Dance Starfish - Argos
Maybe your baby isn't at a stage yet where they can host a party or disco, but this adaptive musical toy will be ready for them when they are. Babies who can sit up can press the colourful keyboard pads, whereas standing babies can hold onto the easy-grip handle and boogie along to the music. Once they're walking, they can then use their feet on the piano keys and use the ball drop slide, and chase the lights that dart around the toy. If you're looking for music toys for babies that inspire dancing, this is your dream product.
- Price: £20
- Age: 9 months+
Best Piano For Toddlers
Wooden Toy Electric Piano - Not On The High Street
This is expensive, but it's an investment, as it's one of the more stunningly decorated wooden musical instruments, and an ideal way to introduce toddlers and preschoolers to the wonders of the piano. Adorned with a delicate fox and tree design, it features 18 colour-coded piano keys covering all the basic scale notes so that your kids can learn to play along to the music book that's provided with the purchase. Who knows - you may be inspiring them to take up piano lessons, and someday they might be challenging Elton John's piano-playing prowess.
- Price: £85
- Age: 3+
Best Musical Toy For Younger Babies
Music Maker - Early Learning Centre
This rattle may be small, but it's mighty, helping to develop coordination and concentration skills, hand-eye coordination, and teaching cause and effect. It's great to be used by younger babies, who can shimmy and shake the sensory instrument to stimulate the four different triangle rattles. The colourful, chunky frames make this easy for small hands to grip, and the four shakers can be combined together into one big circular shaker, allowing a combination of different sounds, but are also perfectly fine to use individually and can easily be popped into a changing bag for on-the-go.
- Price: £15
- Age: 9 months+
Best Baby Musical Instrument That Takes Up The Least Space
Baby Percussion Mat - Early Learning Centre
This musical baby toy also ticks the boxes for slightly older toddlers, too. Younger babies can use the removable cushion to explore the keyboard mat with their hands from the comfort of their own tummies, and older siblings are free to kick, stomp, and even dance around the mat using their feet. The mat rewards movement with sound - you can hear a drum, piano, violin, and trumpet - helping to introduce children to different kinds of musical instruments and helping to boost hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills in the process. Even better, the mat also wipes clean in seconds, and folds away easily, so that it can be tucked in a cupboard somewhere.
- Price: £29.99
- Age: 6 months+
Best Musical Toy Book
Baby Musical Rhymes Book- V Tech
This little musical book assists with language acquisition and speech development, aiding the engagement of auditory skills in younger kids. It's made of up six wipe-clean, bright pages with more than 40 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases, including familiar nursery rhymes (expect to have the likes of Humpty Dumpty and Old MacDonald circling around your head after play). There are five colourful piano buttons, and the slide and push buttons encourage manual dexterity and imaginative discovery.
- Price: £16.99
- Age: 6 months - 3 years
Best Musical Toy For Imaginative Play
Musical Rainbow Tea Party - Leapfrog
It's time for tea with this 10-piece party set that's designed specifically to build social skills like sharing, taking turns, and patience whilst encouraging the imagination through role-play and creativity. The ritual of teatime is made magical by the light-up colourful teapot that also sings songs which teach manners and greetings - perfect for your kids to sing along with. In fact, there's over 50 songs, phrases, and tea party sounds, and even better, the teapot gives off a pretty realistic sound of gurgling tea that sloshes in its heart-shaped window.
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for the best baby musical instruments then why not take a look at the best baby playmats and play gyms, or for something different take a look at our best breast pumps for breastfeeding mums.
- Price: £25.80
- Age: 1 - 3 years
Alice grew up in London where she's now based, but she's happiest by the sea, or reading somewhere snuggled up with her 5 dogs. She has two younger sisters who keep her on her toes, and is passionate about all things art, literature, and culture - she's written a short collection of poems and continues to edit scripts for theatre, tv, and film on a freelance basis.