The Best Music Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Last Updated on November 15, 2021 by admin

Shown in featured image: B. toys – Meowsic Toy Piano

Of the 30 kids listening to the lady with the guitar at the local bookstore, my son was the only one really breaking it down. Right up there in front. Loving life. The other parents were giggling at him. You’re durn right it was cute.

2-year-olds like music. Some more than others — but they can all appreciate it. (They’re just like us!) If you’re looking for a music toy for 2-year-olds who love to groove, you have plenty of options.

Toy Instruments for 2-Year-Olds

When most people think of musical gifts for toddlers, they think of instruments first. However, 2-year-olds don’t typically have the motor skills or development required to play songs or keep rhythm yet.

Especially early on in their third year, they just like the cause and effect that they can get by banging and clanging things around. For example, my 2-year-old (now almost 3) has had this xylophone since his first birthday and he has only ever hit it as hard as he could for a few minutes until the thrill of the noise wore off … and it was never more popular than hitting a bowl with a spoon.

That’s why I’d suggest sticking with very basic instruments for now and saving the keyboards and guitars for later. These are my favorite musical gift ideas for 2-year-olds:

Harmonicas and Simple Wind Instruments

Child's Harmonica - Musical Instruments for Toddlers
Blue Harmonica, $9

There have been times when the bribe of playing the harmonica was the only thing that would get my toddler to lie down for a diaper change.

I had access to a “real” harmonica at the time, but he also likes the kids’ version. He especially likes to pretend to be playing along while we listen to music.

Hape wooden harmonica, $15

Slide whistles are another simple, fun instrument for younger toddlers, and older 2-year-olds might be able to handle kazoos and even recorders.

Drums and Percussion Instruments

Handheld drum for toddlers - Music Toys for 2-Year-Olds
Remo Kids Percussion Lollipop Drum, $17

This lollipop drum has also been a big hit (see what I did there?) with my son. The handle allows 2-year-olds to hold it while they dance around, or march in circles around the house.

Another popular drum for toddlers is this floor tom, which comes with two mallets and has great reviews.  

Finally, you can opt for an entire set of smaller percussion instruments, such as triangles, tambourines, maracas, castanets and shakers. All should be easy for 2-year-olds to handle. I prefer the wooden percussion instruments to the plastic ones and found that they generally got more use in my house.

Percussion set, $19

There are also plenty of DIY instrument tutorials online that look pretty fun to do and might allow you to spend your money elsewhere.

Egg Shakers

HABA Wooden Egg Shakers, $35

I love the look of these wooden eggs. They’re designed to fit perfectly in little kids’ hands. I do wonder if they could become projectiles, but in the right hands and under the right circumstances, they’re such a lovely musical toy.

One fun note about this set of eggs from the German toy company HABA is that one of the eggs clicks when it’s twisted instead of being a shaker.


HABA Rain maker toy, $15

It might be a stretch to consider these “musical” toys, but at age 2, toddlers are just learning to recognize the abilities of different things to make different types of noise. The simple ability to flip the rainmaker back and forth helps a 2-year-old make those connections. Plus, the resulting sound and visuals can be interesting and even soothing.

Play Turntables

Hape Kids Portable Mix and Spin Studio, $40

There are lots of keyboard/turntable/microphone toys on the market, but only a few of them are actually marketed to the 1+ crowd instead of 3+. Plus, I really like the simple, streamlined look of this “portable mix and spin studio” from Hape. Kids can experiment with speeding up, slowing down, and modifying some pre-set rhythms. Plus, what 2-year-old doesn’t love pressing buttons?

Play Microphones

Hape Mighty Echo Microphone (Battery Free), $12

My brothers had cheap plastic echo microphones when we were little, and we loved them! They were great for role playing, if not music. Now, any toy that amplifies a toddler’s voice might get mixed reviews from parents craving quiet, but hey, if you’re going to get a musical toy, it’s going to make some noise! And these are much less annoying than the electrical amplifying voice changers.

Xylophones / Glockenspiels

Glockenspiel and harmonica set, $20

I have mixed feelings about toy xylophones. As I mentioned in the intro, my 2-year-old wasn’t ever super interested in the one we had. That said, I see that they’re still a very popular gift choice, and more musically inclined kids might get more out of them than my own did.

When the mallets are freestanding, they can get lost. But I feel that the models that come with the mallet attached to the instrument by a string are too limiting. Toy manufacturers are responsible for limiting the length of strings and ropes on toys, because they can become strangulation hazards. So, if you’re thinking of getting a xylophone toy that makes you feel nostalgic for your own childhood, consider that the rope might not be the same.

Music Players for 2-Year-Olds

Yoto Player, $110

I was inspired by this BabyCenter article about encouraging music to look into getting a music player for my almost-3-year-old’s Christmas present.

He liked listening to music, but rarely got to control what we listen to or explore new songs independently.

At the time (2015), MP3 players were the main format that kids’ audio players used, although some had Bluetooth and even CD. My 3-year-old is 8 now, but I wish I could have given him something like a Yoto Player.

These types of audio players give little ones the agency to choose their own songs and audiobooks by inserting cards. This seems to be a much less annoying alternative for music than smart speakers, which is what my now-5 and -8 year olds use to play music (and fart sounds!) on demand these days.

Musical Books / Sing Along Books for 2-Year-Olds

Music Books for 2-Year-Olds
Baby Beluga Board Book, $7 on Amazon

Try some books that encourage kids to learn songs and sing along. If your 2-year-old is like mine, they’ll always gravitate toward the musical books (or at least the ones that feature rhythm and rhyme) over the others.

Raffi has a whole line of “books to read” that includes classics like Baby Beluga, Down by the Bay, and more. My 2-year-old year LOVED this Frosty the Snowman book for a while, and still knows all the words. For other ideas, check out these cute board books for Old McDonald had a Farm, The Wheels on the Bus and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.