The Tot Gift Guide: Musical toys
Music has a range of developmental benefits for young children. These marvelous musical toys make wonderful gifts and are the perfect introduction to the world of melodies.
From a very young age, children are captivated by music. The sound of mommy singing a lullaby brings a first smile to a newborn’s face while big brother rocks out to the Muppets in the living room. There’s no doubt that music is fun and uplifting for little ones, but did you know it has a range of intellectual, socio-emotional and physiological benefits as well? Let’s take a look at all the ways in which music can help your child’s development.
Intellectual benefits of music
While manufacturers of certain “smart baby” products will have you believe that listening to classical music will boost your baby’s intelligence – known as the “Mozart effect” – leading researchers in the field say it’s not so simple. Any intellectual benefits children might reap exist only when they learn to play an instrument (as opposed to just listening to music), and there’s no solid proof that learning to play actually makes them smarter. It’s much more likely to be a correlation – that is, there’s a higher chance that intelligent people will engage in and excel at learning to play music. But even if Symphony No. 40 in G minor won’t turn your child into a genius overnight, there are still plenty of cognitive benefits associated with music training. Numerous studies have found it improves spatial reasoning, problem-solving and the use of logic in new situations. It can also enhance creativity, particularly in relation to music.
Children who learn to play an instrument show evidence of higher self-esteem and are less likely to internalize their problems than their non-musical peers. They’ve also been shown to have a greater level of emotional intelligence. In adolescence, simply listening to music (as opposed to playing it) has a range of social and emotional benefits. Several studies have concluded that music plays a big role in teenagers’ development of self-identity. They turn to music when they’re feeling troubled and use it as a mood regulator. It also helps them maintain a sense of belonging and community.
Physiological benefits Learning to play an instrument enhances fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Several studies have also found that physical education programs that integrate music and movement improve children’s motor performance. When an element of rhythm is involved, their performance on tasks such as leaping, skipping and jumping progresses beyond that of children whose PE program doesn’t have a musical component.
6 musical toys to give as gifts
Ready to introduce your little one to the magical world of music? With these top-notch musical toy gifts, they’ll be making beautiful melodies for years to come.
- Xylophone: Help your child develop their hand-eye coordination, critical thinking and self-expression with Brio’s Musical Xylophone. They’ll love the bright colors, lovely sounds and clever storage compartment for the music stick! From 18 months.
- Shakers: Brio’s Musical Shakers prove that a toy doesn’t need all sorts of bells and whistles to be entertaining. Each brightly colored shaker makes a different sound and is easy for small hands to hold. They’re made from 100% FSC-certified beech wood and free from PVC, lead and phthalates. From 6 months.
- Drum: All of Plan Toys’ playthings are made sustainably from organic rubber wood and non-toxic inks and dyes. This eye-catching Big Drum is no exception! Featuring an adjustable lanyard and a pair of drumsticks, it will provide your tiny drummer with hours of music-making fun. Ages 3 and up.
- Musical band: This beautiful Musical Band set is not only made from high-quality materials that are in line with Plan Toys’ sustainable philosophy, it will also stimulate your child’s imagination and promote their physical and intellectual development. The five-piece set includes two drums of different sizes, a pair of drumsticks, a cymbal and a guiro. Ages 3 and up.
- Guitar: Your aspiring musician will fall in love with Hape’s Vibrant Guitar thanks to its striking classic wood design available in two bright colors and its robust sound. You’ll love that it’s easy for little hands to use and it promotes musical creativity, dexterity and hand-eye coordination. High-quality materials and non-toxic finishes make it a safe and durable toy that will last for years to come. Ages 4 and up.
- Grand piano: Hape’s small-scale Happy Grand Piano is made from sustainably sourced wood and child-safe finishes – and the result is a statement piece that will stand out in your child’s playroom. It comes complete with a lid that can be raised and lowered, thirty keys, a miniature bench and an incorporated music stand. Beethoven would be jealous! Ages 3 and up.