Have you ever been to a baby and toddler playgroup and heard the absolute din of a bunch of uncoordinated miniature people bashing drums, hitting xylophones, shaking maracas and blowing into recorders? Babies and toddlers love musical instruments, but parents are often cursing the relative who buys a kids drum set! If you can, you should endure the cacophony, because musical instruments are actually really good for development even from a very young age.
Benefits of Musical Instruments for Babies
Babies love to grasp new things, play with them, shake them and make noises. Musical instruments give baby motivation – he wants to reach that thing, he wants to pick it up, he wants to shake it and he loves what happens! By achieving his goal, he feels a sense of accomplishment and you’ll most likely see a big smile or a cheeky grin (and for once, it won’t be wind!), whilst his fine motor skills are being enhanced too.
Baby safe toys are toys which do not have any moving parts and have been listed as safe for your age range. You can find toys that make noises safe from newborns up, even if they don’t resemble a traditional music instrument but will still have many benefits for babies.
Good musical instruments for babies include:
- Egg shakers
- Hand shakers and rattles
- Wrist shakers
- Baby safe bells
- Toys which make a noise by pushing buttons
Benefits of Musical Instruments for Toddlers
Once babies start hitting the 12 month+ mark you’ll find a much bigger range of musical instruments they can start to play, including drums, shakers, maracas, recorders, pipes, flutes and more. You’ll find toddlers want to clap their hands, stamp their feet, hum, sing (and shout) along with music. I’ve no doubt that by the time your child is a toddler they already have favourite songs and may have started dancing. Music brings joy, but playing a musical instrument has a lot more benefits for toddlers than that!
Playing a musical instrument benefits toddlers and children by:
- Increasing their motor skills and coordination
- Improves memory
- Creating a bond between parents and children
- Helping form bonds and friendships with other children
- Can help create a routine, preparing them for structured play at pre-school
- Uses energy and burns calories, helping to keep them healthy
- Helps with sensory development
- Singing helps vocabulary and speech
- Lifts their mood or can soothe them when upset
As your child grows, there are some even more amazing benefits of children playing an instrument and some early experience will set a good foundation for continuing and choosing a real instrument once in school.
So no matter how annoying the noises may be and how much you’re begging for a bit of peace and quiet after 3 minutes, you should definitely have a range of musical instruments to help your kids work on their pitch and hearing, their fine motor skills, their ability to work with others and motivation and happiness overall. Keep the musical toys in a special box and bring them out for 30 minutes of music play, this will make using them special and help focus (although we all know how hard it is to get a toddler to focus) and will avoid you having to listen to the noises all day as well.
To start you I’d recommend this Toddlers Musical Instruments Kit on Amazon. It includes a Xylophone, triangle, cymbal, recorder, egg shakers, wrist shakers and maracas. All packed away into a backpack to take to playgroup and start baby’s first band! It might drive you a little insane so get it out for 30 minutes at a time, maximum – but the benefits to your little one will be worth it.