It is never too early to introduce a child to music and the numerous positive effects that come along with it. Musical instruments can play a significant role in a child’s development in various ways, such as cognitive, emotional, social and physical development.
One of the best and easiest instruments for toddlers to start with is a single drum or drum set. All that they need to do is use their hands or sticks and start making noise!
There are a few different types of drums that are great for toddlers, so let’s take a look at some of the top wood, electronic and hand drums for toddlers, as well as why you should introduce your child to musical instruments.
Music plays a very important role in the development of children, helping with their cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth.
Exposure to music at a young age can help in various positive ways, such as:
Additionally, playing musical instruments, such as hand drums, can improve a child’s sense of timing, rhythm, and coordination, while stimulating their senses and promoting sensory development.
The following are some of our top picks broken down into wood drums, electronic drums and hand drums.
Some of the key features of wood drums for toddlers are their size, weight, durability and safety.
If it’s only a single drum, the size is usually small enough that a toddler can carry it around and make noise in any part of your living space. With the drum being made from wood, you can expect the sound to be more ‘natural’ than a plastic or electronic drum.
A common type of wood that is used for children’s drums is ‘rubberwood’. It is less prone to shrinkage when treated and can be easily formed, making it a great and durable option for toys, as well as furniture.
The Tap-Along Sounder Timbal Drum is a great example of a real wood drum due to its realistic looking shell. A nice added bonus to this drum is the straps that let the drum stay attached to the child, freeing up their hands so that they can march to the beat of their own drum (and follow you around the entire house).
This drum is double-sided so that the little drummer can bang on either side and the sound it makes is similar to that of a tambourine, moreso than a traditional drum.
The sticks are also optional for this drum. It’s entirely possible for a toddler to make tons of noise with just their hands in case one of the sticks breaks or gets lost.
This drum set is great for improving hand-eye coordination with more surfaces to hit and the coated rubber drumheads make for a more realistic experience.
This drum set is meant to be played with sticks for the best results, simply due to the included guiro and metallic cymbal.
Not only are electronic drums great at making noise, they also offer different modes and methods of learning and development. Many electronic kits can be used to produce different sounds such as numbers, letters or animals.
There are even some electronic drum sets available with different colored drum heads which can be part of the different pre-programmed modes, for matching sounds with colors, as one example.
Bright colors and unique sounds can also be a great way to improve sensory development.
When someone mentions electronic drums, my immediate thought goes to some of the electronic drum sets produced by companies like Alesis or Roland. Those drum sets have a higher price tag and are recommended for kids older than those in the toddler age-range.
If your toddler expresses interest in the drums and wants to continue playing as they get older, my previous article goes over the costs of both acoustic and electronic drums and can help you get an idea of how much different drum sets cost.
For a great starter drum set, you can’t beat this affordable option. With four different colored drum pads, a carrying handle for easy transport and pre-programmed drum solos to bang along with, the KC Electronic Drum Set is perfect for just simply making a whole-lotta-noise!
The drum pads can be programmed to make different types of drum sounds and the volume control is great for when you need to dial down the chaos.
As with all the drum sets mentioned in this article, this kit is great for a child’s development, but the bright colors of the drum pads on this drum set in particular are exceptionally good at helping a toddler master their colors while improving cognitive abilities.
The VTech Kidibeats Drum Set has three plastic drum pads and a cymbal with unique LED lights, plus four different modes of play for diverse methods of sensory development and help with learning letters, numbers and patterns.
While the little one can make all the noise they want in ‘Free Play’ mode, they can also change the sound of the drums to letters or numbers for an intuitive learning experience.
The Follow-Along mode is great for cognitive development, making this drum set a great option for not only making noise, but is also a great education tool.
If jamming to farm animals and numbers with light-up drums wasn’t exciting enough, the My Real Jam Drum Set lets you sync with any bluetooth device to play along to any song using the built-in speaker.
This kit has two cymbals and is designed to look a little closer to a real drum set than other electronic drum sets for toddlers.
The packaging that this drum set comes in can also double as a traveling case for the drums. While some electronic drum sets have carrying handles or are small enough to travel with, none of them offer a protective case.
The next time you’re at a family get together or having a backyard barbecue and you notice that little musician dancing away to one of your favorite songs, get this drum set out, connect the bluetooth and let the little superstar dazzle the audience.
Hand drums are a popular choice for young children and offer several benefits.
For those who do not have access to a more robust drum set or don’t want to worry about batteries or any kind of complicated instructions, hand drums are portable and simple.
All that a child needs to do is pick up the drum and start tapping or beating on it to make music.
While hand drums are great at developing rhythm skills, they also have a unique sound and texture that can stimulate a child’s senses, promoting sensory development.
Another benefit for development is that hand drums can be played in groups or with other people, helping toddlers work on their social, communication and teamwork skills.
This pair of soft bongos is a perfect introductory instrument for toddlers. The Melissa and Doug K’s Kids Bongo Drums can play music to jam along with, standard bongo mode that only makes sound when tapping on the drums, but they are also usable when the bongos are ‘off’.
Even though this set of bongos has an electronic component, they are still great to use without the audio being activated.
A nice added bonus to promote grasping and sensory development are the knotted fringes around the edges of the bongos. The bright colors and different textures offer multiple ways to interact with this set of drums, keeping the child engaged.
The Montessori Spinning Drum is a highly interactive instrument that may be better suited for toddlers on the younger side (between 6-12 months and a great addition to tummy time), but is still great for making noise like any other hand drum.
This type of hand drum can also be played with the feet by kicking the drums or with the hands, causing them to spin which creates a beautiful pattern as well as a soothing noise, as described on the supplier’s website. Motor and sensory skills are a big factor with this type of drum.
The variety of sounds that this drum can produce while being one of the easiest ‘pick up and play’ instruments makes this drum one of the best listed in this article. The ease of holding the drum makes it perfect for using the mallet that comes with the drum, but it is also possible to use fingers, fists and even fingernails to make all kinds of sounds.
The drum shell is made from Remo’s Acousticon shell material and the drumhead comes pre-tuned, ready to use straight out of the box. With a name like Remo behind the product, you can expect the quality to be top-notch.
Before you purchase a drum for your young one you need to consider the following:
For reliable and easy-to-use drums, my recommendation would be to start with hand drums. This will give children the opportunity to try a percussion instrument without having to worry about instructions or any kind of setup.
While electronic drums may have more variety in the sounds they can produce, you would always be at the mercy of batteries and the risk of the product breaking in some way.
If you notice the little musician is taking a liking to some of your music on your favorite playlist, then I recommend the My Real Jam Drum Set. Connect this drum set to your bluetooth device and let that little drummer jam away to their heart’s content.
Those of you who want their toddler to get the full experience of a real drum set, the PlanToys Drum Set is the only drum set on this list with a bass drum and kick pedal. This wood drum set will make your little one feel like a real rock star and the wood material will make for a nice natural sound that won’t be too ear-piercing.
Most of the drums listed in this article are quite affordable but it is important to keep in mind that any drum set for toddlers with a low price tag is generally lesser in quality.
Wood drum sets and hand drums will have the best quality and the key is finding a balance between price and quality.
My top recommendation is the Kids Make Music Hand Drum. Remo produces quality products, the price is affordable, it can make a variety of different sounds without relying on electronics and can promote sensory development in multiple ways.
In conclusion, finding the right drum for your toddler can be a fun and rewarding experience!
Introducing your child to the world of music at a young age can help them develop important skills such as creativity, coordination, and rhythm. Whether you opt for a simple hand drum, wood drum or electronic drum set, there are plenty of great options available that are both entertaining and educational.
With the right drum in hand, your toddler can begin to explore the joys of making music and discover a passion that could last a lifetime.
Music runs in Kyle's family and he discovered his talent for drumming at an early age. He has performed with various bands in Ontario, Canada and the US, and even had the opportunity to open for popular acts like Protest The Hero and Belvedere.
In 2021 Kyle won a local competition and returned to the stage after the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in 2022. Now Kyle is focusing on learning the technical side of drumming with the goal of becoming a teacher in the future.
AboutDrumming.com is run by a group of drum teachers, drumming professionals and hobbyists. We love all things drums, and when not drumming we spend our time adding more awesome content to this website!
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