Learning a musical instrument opens up new worlds for children. As the granddaughter of a professional musician, music has played an important role in my life since I was a very young child. And this is a gift I am excited to share with my children, as well. The musical toys from our Hottest Holiday Toys Awards allow the child to create his own rhythms and melodies, rather than simply play a song at the push of a button. Even infants enjoy simple drums and egg shakers as they discover cause and effect and their growing coordination and control over their environment. Older kids benefit from learning and making-up simple songs. Music gets kids thinking and moving and grooving. Most of all, music is the type of fun you feel from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes.
|Guitar Heroes will jam and rock out with this guitar from First Act Discovery ($30). With a smaller scale, lighter weight, more pliable strings, and protective plastic covers over the sharp machine heads, children learning proper posture and hand position with less frustration.|
|The family that plays music together has fun together. The Sun, Moon, Star Drum from Jamtown ($29) now has a DVD with the fun ways this instrument can teach rhythm and cooperation.|
|My daughter enjoys playing her Toy Upright Piano by Melissa & Doug (Kazoo Toys – $50). If we did not have a real piano, I probably would have sprung for the Grand Piano by Melissa & Doug (Kazoo Toys – $119). Both come with song books so your child can learn to play simple tunes.|
|This trio of musical instruments, castanets, guiro, and maracas, from Plan Toys (Kangaroo Boo – $4-7) is making a re-appearance from our 2008 list because we haven’t seen anything quite like them anywhere else. Sure to keep your kiddos shaking, grooving, and rocking to the beat. Like all Plan Toys creations, these are kid-safe and eco-friendly. Perfect stocking-stuffers!|
|If you have older kids who are ready to play melodies but you are not ready yet to invest in an instrument, a Kids’ Ocarina (STL Ocarina, $9 and up) is a great starter instrument. A simple wind instrument, the Ocarina is an easy way to learn about pitch and musical notation. And you can bring it everywhere you go! Choose plastic ocarinas for the youngest musicians or any of the fun designs, like this Orca Ocarina, for older kids, preteens, and teens.|
- Kazoo Toys Coupon Code: $25 off $100 or more (coupon code: 251002009); $10 off $50 or more (coupon code: 10502009); $40 off $200 or more
(coupon code: 402002009) (Expires 12/20/09)