The Best Music Toys for 2-Year-Olds

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 a 2-year-old who loves 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:

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

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

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

Drums and Percussion
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, maracas, castanets and shakers. All are easy for 2-year-olds to handle. This set from Rhythm Toys looks nice. Note to parents: There are also plenty of DIY instrument tutorials online that look pretty fun to do and might allow you to spend your money elsewhere.

Music Players and Music for 2-Year-Olds

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 likes listening to music, but rarely gets to control what we listen to or explore new songs independently. A music player like this loaded up with a variety of options might give him that chance. With the addition of the microphones, I hope it will will be fun toy for years.

I opted for a player that uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone or tablet, but you can find options with CD players, too.

If you don’t want a player or its not in your budget, consider an album. There are so many music options, but here are the ones I liked while I was looking and will buy eventually:

A few more resources for kids music:

Musical 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.