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Music has always been a huge part of my life, both in my childhood and now in my own home! My husband is incredibly gifted and our house is usually labeled a storehouse for all the musical instruments he owns. When we moved to our new house after grad school, the first item to be all set up in our home was his drum kit! While I played piano and flute as a kid, singing is my favorite musical pastime. With all the guitars, drum kits, accordions, pianos…all kinds of musical instruments in our home, we wanted to make sure our son had some developmentally appropriate musical instruments of his own. Thus began the search for some of our favorite instruments for Max today!
Why are Musical Instruments Important for Young Children?
Music bleeds its way into every area of children’s development. Early exposure to music leads to understanding different sounds and meanings of words. Hearing and practicing different beats and rhythms unlock future mathematical mysteries. Dancing to music builds large motor skills and self control. Music triggers emotions, sharpening our memory skills. Using musical instruments encourages body and brain to work together. Holding an instrument and playing it builds fine motor strength and concentration. The benefits are endless for using musical instruments with young children!
All these valuable benefits music has in child development, perhaps the greatest is that music brings JOY! While I was teaching preschool, I brought out instruments daily, even multiple times in a day, because I knew that whatever kind of day it had been, music could set things right again. Music has a big impact on children and adults alike because of its uncanny ability to help us remember things. Songs I heard as a kid still get stuck in my head as I play them over and over again, remembering every word. What a great impact music has on our kid’s development! What are we waiting for?! Let’s get them some instruments!!
This Hape drum is Max’s FAVORITE instrument!!! He plays on it constantly! The drum set includes two drumsticks, a wooden clapper, a drum, a cymbal, a xylophone, and a guiro (those wooden notches that are rubbed by a drumstick to make a ratchet sound). The wooden pegs the kit sits on are sturdy, but flexible as the front leg folds out so you can play the drum set laying flat or at an angle. All of the materials and artwork is non-toxic and easy to clean.
I had never heard of Hape Preschool Music before, but I am quickly falling in love with their products! As I acquire more of their instruments, I would say that they are better quality than Melissa and Doug wooden instruments with comparable prices. Hape has many instrument options for kids! Drums are my husband’s first musical love, and he approved of this first drum kit for Max!
I know, I know…more Hape instruments. I am telling you, they are AWESOME!! While we already had a clapper from Max’s Hape drum kit, it was his FAVORITE toy and he brought it everywhere. I know it was bound to happen, but we lost it, at an Applebee’s somewhere. So we bought this set to replace the clapper, and got a new guiro to boot. Max isn’t super into the guiro yet, but he loves using a drumstick on anything to make noise! The clapper will be a favorite forever, until it gets lost again…
Wrist Bells and Sleigh Bells for kids
Wrist bells can be strapped on gently to an ankle or wrist, or held onto with your hand. These bells are my favorite for kids because they are durable and give room for free expression while listening to music, dancing, or creating your own beat. While being supervised, babies enjoy having these wrapped around their hands or feet while they kick and move, creating a cause and effect activity for them. Toddlers love having these bells strapped to their feet, so they can stomp around the room, listening to the sounds they make.
We also love using our First Act sleigh bells, which have been discontinued–so sad! But they are very similar to the sleigh bells in this musical instrument set. Max loves shaking them and using them as drumsticks on everything. Let’s face it, he turns everything into a drumstick…he LOVES making awesome noises!
Egg shakers are a musical STAPLE in our house. These beautiful instruments make such a soft, pleasant noise that they are the best toy to bring to a restaurant, in the car, to a family event. The small egg shape is easy for infants to hold once they are able to grasp, and when they realize they are making the sound…they will NEVER stop shaking! Egg shakers are my favorite percussion instruments to play following directions games and songs with.
The Meinl egg shakers are my favorite brand. They are incredibly durable and have never broken open on us. We buy this brand because my husband uses them for his musical needs too. It’s important to us and we LOVE for Max to be able to use real materials if available, rather than a kid version. Another type that I have loved are these bean egg shakers. I used to get these for my classroom for all kinds of rhythm and hand-eye coordination activities! They have a beautiful sound and work perfectly!
Max loves our tambourine by Melissa & Doug! He taps it with his hand, or bangs it on the floor, or uses a drumstick to hit the top of the tambourine. Tambourines help children to hear and imitate a steady beat within a song or rhyme. These musical instruments are a little bigger and require bilateral coordination; the working of both hands and both sides of the brain together. This particular tambourine is often lopped in with other percussion instruments by Melissa & Doug in a special Band Box, including crash cymbals, maracas, a triangle chime, a clapper, and tone blocks. While I have used each one of those fabulously designed instruments in my classrooms, the one we are enjoying in our home right now is the tambourine.
Ok, Ok…these are not technically musical instruments, these dancing scarves do wonders in teaching young kids about music, following directions, hand-eye coordination, large and fine motor movement…the possibilities are endless. These scarves are an inexpensive way to incorporate some colorful fun in your child’s musical learning!
What are some of your kid’s favorite instruments? What kind of music do you share with your kids?
Some of our favorites…