Every parent knows how tricky it can be hitting that narrow landing strip between educational and fun, and finding a gift for your kids that fits it perfectly...


If you need inspiration for more family and friends check out our best gifts for classical music lovers

Here is our guide to ten of the best music-themed gifts for children this Christmas.

Music gift ideas for kids

This karaoke microphone, which comes in a range of colours, is likely to find favour with children of all ages. My four-year-old has had hours of fun testing out the ghostly echo function with repeat renditions of 'Let it Go' from Frozen. But older children will also be seduced by the compact, user-friendly design. Just switch it on, connect via Bluetooth to your phone, then search for favourite songs on YouTube or your phone to unleash the full singalong potential of this nifty, surprisingly inexpensive, little device.

The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker

This beautiful book is the first in a series by illustrator Jessica Courtney-Tickle and the writer/musician Katy Flint, introducing children to the stories behind some of the most famous pieces of classical music, accompanied by musical excerpts and charming illustrations (later editions include Swan Lake, The Four Seasons in One Day, Sleeping Beauty, The Carnival of the Animals, The Magic Flute and In the Hall of the Mountain King).
Just touch the button on each page to hear the music, then flip to the back page to get a child-friendly musical analysis, as well as a little glossary of musical terms and a mini-biography of Tchaikovsky. Lovingly put together, and gloriously old-world, it's a book to treasure.

Rangebow Piano Musical Mat

Children can live the dream of playing the piano with their hands and feet, thanks to this musical mat, which has the added benefit of being water-resistant and washable - once all the electronics have been removed.

Choose between eight different instrument sounds (piano/violin/accordion/trumpet/vibraphone/oboe/guitar or flute) and five different modes, including demo, record and playback to have even more fun. It's big enough for parents and kids to play side-by-side. Plus - here's one for you, parents - it turns off automatically.

A Toniebox

These are very popular right now, and with good reason: not only are they a gateway to a huge world of audiobooks, music and educational resources, but children love playing with the little figurines. About those figurines though: they're so easy to lose, but try not to. They're £14.99 a pop!

Among the musical offerings are Peter and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals, Swan Lake, The Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel and The Nutcracker. And if that's not enough, you can record your own musical stories and upload them onto a blank Creative Tonie.

Winnie the Pooh Music Box

Very young children will be mesmerised by this old-fashioned wooden music box, which features Pooh Bear and Piglet figurines spinning to the tune of a well-known lullaby. My local GP surgery used to keep one of these in every consultation room, just to distract the youngest patients during routine vaccinations. And it worked a treat. Buy one of these and sample the hypnotic power for yourself.

Listen to the Music from around the World

This durable board book - part of the Listen to the... series from Nosy Crow - takes 0-2 year-olds on a whirlwind tour of global music, from bagpipes to bongoes, via flamenco guitar, Hawaiian guitar, harmonica and Chinese violin.
The illustrations are bright and fun with buttons that even the tiniest fingers will find easy to press. Other books in the series include Listen to the Classical Music, Listen to the Nutcracker, Listen to the Dance Music, Listen to the Carnival of the Animals and Listen to the Music by Mozart.

A Ukulele

Small, robust and relatively easy to learn, a ukulele is a great alternative to the guitar for fledgling musicians. And, given that it has four strings, it's the perfect stepping-stone instrument for children hoping eventually to move on to the violin. Ukuleles have long been victims of their reputation. But with its sleek black finish, this model, which is suitable for ages 3 and over, proves that they can be both smart and stylish. Carry bag included.

Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube

This educational toy teaches children how instrumental sounds combine to create orchestral works - in this case eight masterpieces by Mozart. It includes harp, violin, French horn, piano and flute sounds, which can be played individually or in any combination simply by pressing the sides of the cube. The result is an opportunity to lay out the nuts and bolts of an orchestra, and to discover the joy of 'composing' music - one of those gifts that manages to engage both children and adults alike.

Electronic Keyboard

At £149, this is one of the costlier Christmas gift options, but this electronic keyboard comes with everything you could possibly need to get going, including a bench, music rest, stand, and headphones, while the keyboard itself includes 200 voices, 128 rhythms and 10 built-in songs, with vibrato and pitch blend effects.

You can connect the keyboard to your USB devices to play along to favourite songs. Plus, the package includes six months of free online music lessons with Gigajam.

Instruments of the Orchestra Jigsaw Puzzle


There's no excuse for failing to distinguish your cor anglais from your clarinet, once you've completed this 1000-piece jigsaw, themed around the various musical instruments found in a modern-day orchestra. Recommended for ages 12 and over, this will see the whole family through Boxing Day and beyond.


Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.