While some children might take instantly to 'mainstream' instruments such as the violin or the recorder, others might need a more left-field approach to ignite a passion for music.


Luckily, with an ever expanding range of instruments on the market, finding one that captures your child's imagination is easier than ever. Here are our favourite ten musical instruments for children.

Best children's musical instruments

Band-in-a-Box set

Including a tambourine, cymbals, maracas and more, this brightly coloured, ten-piece instrument set from Melissa & Doug is a great introduction to percussive music-making for children aged 3 and over. Mostly made of wood and metal, it's a realistic take on the kind of instruments you would typically find in a band or orchestra. Plus, it comes with a handsome crate for keeping the instruments organised.

Wooden electric piano

Wooden on the outside, electric on the inside, this instrument by the French toymaker Djeco combines looks with practicality. Its beautiful fox and tree design makes a statement in the corner of any room, while its 11 white keys and 7 black keys cover all the basic notes of the scale, allowing small hands to master simple tunes quickly, especially since the keys are colour-coded with accompanying music sheets. A perfect gift for toddlers and preschoolers.

Buy from notonthehighstreet.com

Toy accordion

A bright and fun starter accordion to help children begin exploring melody and rhythm. With seven keys and three bass buttons, it's easy to play, and makes a surprisingly big sound for a fairly small instrument. Plus it's durable enough to withstand many crashes.

We also named the accordion one of the best musical toys for children to buy

Click n' Play Tox Saxophone

With its colourful sequence of keys, this click n'play saxophone and trumpet set makes it easy for kids aged 3+ to start learning - and the reproduced brass sound is pretty realistic! For those wanting to get struck straight in, each instrument comes with songs printed on the back of the box, colour-coded with the keys to keep things simple.

Electronic Drum Mat

Suitable for children and older beginners, this drum mat allows you to get stuck into beats and rhythms, with pads for snare, 3 toms, crash cymbal and ride cymbal, along with two foot pedals for High Hat and Bass Drum. In other words, it's a fully fledged drum kit, but it can also be rolled up and stored away. Plus, the record function allows you to play along with yourself.

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Personalised xylophone

Entice your child to start making music with an instrument that literally has their name on it. These pastel-coloured, personalised xylophones are lovingly put together and made to last. And if you like them there are also personalised acoustic guitars and maracas available from the same seller.

Buy from Etsy

Ukulele kit

Make, style and play your own ukulele with this kit, which includes everything you need to start crafting. Just follow the instructions, which come in paper and digital form, then go to the company website for some creative styling ideas.

Buy from notonthehighstreet

Sound frog

Carved from a piece of hardwood, this fun little instrument produces a sound similar to that of a croaking frog when you stroke its ribbed back with a stick. It's part of a whole series of unusual, hand-made instruments by the Berlin-based company Tokoindah, which specialises in using natural materials. Other items in its treasury include a kenari-seed rattle and a dance bracelet made of nutmeg.

Bath Water Flutes

Young children will love learning to tune these flutes by filling them to different levels with water. Then they can practise songs with an easy-to-follow, colour-coded music sheet. It's a quirky, enjoyable way both to train the musical ear and to introduce the concept of sight-reading.



These small, durable and easy-to-play mushroom and strawberry-shaped ocarinas are a lovely way to introduce young children to wind instruments. Plus, with the addition of a string, they double up as novelty necklaces.


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.