When my firstborn turned one, my well-meaning (and kid-less) brother sent him a musical lawnmower for his birthday. As a newly minted walker, this seemed like the perfect toy for my son, right? Wrong. While the toy was great in one sense (he walked everywhere with it), the maniacal song it played echoed loudly throughout our home… and haunted our dreams.
Chances are, if you’ve got a toddler, you’ve got some of those cursed musical toys lurking in your toy chest. Maybe you’ve hidden them away. Maybe you’ve taken out the batteries and gently lied, “Oh no, it’s broken,” to your wide-eyed toddler. Whatever lengths you’ve gone to to avoid those Grinch-y “oh, the noise, noise, noise” moments, we completely understand. But parents, you can save those little white lies for the big stuff (like tooth fairies and water-filled spray bottles that kill monsters under the bed), because we've rounded up nine do-re-me-fa-so amazing toys that make music your kids love without giving you a perpetual headache.
Mozart Magic Cube
You can count on the calming sounds of classical music to seamlessly blend into the background of your family’s daily life with this toddler favorite. It rotates through eight different Mozart masterpieces, and tots can turn instruments on and off with the touch of a button. Want to isolate the French horns? Give it a push. Only up for the tickled ivories? Piano mode it is. Or your kids can listen to the whole kit and caboodle in orchestra mode. Add in a volume button and you’ve got a toy you’ll never fear giving to your 2-year-old. Play on!
Buy it at amazon.com, $20.08
Melissa & Doug Sound Puzzle
If your kids love The Wheels on the Bus, they’ll love the puzzle that sings it to them as they remove and replace pieces using the easy-to-grab knobs. What parents love is that each light-activated song section plays through (only) one time after being triggered. No loops here. And the volume is Goldilocks’ just-right. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out a potential downside. Missing (or left out) pieces can lead to unintentional serenades at ungodly hours when the early morning sun comes through the windows and sets off the incomplete puzzle. An unfortunately true story.
Buy it on amazon.com, $11.75
Fisher-Price Music Box Record Player
Even if you didn’t have this one as a kid, it’s easy to see why it’s a timeless favorite. Not only does it play kids' favorite nursery rhymes, it also looks like a relic they might find at a grandparent’s house. (What is that thing anyway?) As far as music players go, this one is easy for parents to tune out and simple enough for kids as young as 2 to use. They can spin their favorite records like wannabe DJs without (much) help from you. That’s what we call a win-win.
Buy it on amazon.com, $26.54
This one’s “big” (wink, wink) fun, whether your tot just started to walk or they’ve been doing it for a while. It combines music and movement—two things that top a toddler’s playlist. Plus, it boasts all the must-haves to keep parents sane, like volume control and an automatic power off. Your toddlers will love that it’s versatile, too—they can listen to demo songs, record their very own and play back anything that’s created. When it’s all done, this oversized musical mat rolls up for easy storage (hello, clean playroom!).
Buy it on amazon.com, $39.99
Dinosaur Bubble Blower
Lights, sounds, bubbles! That’s the way this captivatingly cute dino rolls (or doesn’t). He combines all the things toddlers love with easily managed elements that parents appreciate. First up, he’s an outside toy (as every bubble blower should be) so he sings for the birds and the trees. He’s also button-activated, so his lights and sounds aren’t always on and never last too long. In the end, he’s great for summers but can easily be stored away during the cooler months if you need a break from his mild tunes.
Buy it on amazon.com, $25.99
Stoie’s International Wooden Music Set
This eco-friendly toy, featuring simple instruments from around the globe, will have you pondering what it would take to start a family band. With nine instruments, there’s (probably) at least one for every person in the family. These music makers not only let kids get creative while they play, they also avoid those sing-songy riffs so many battery-powered toys are known for. But if we had one tip for this set, it would be to consider “disappearing” the flute early on. You're welcome.
Buy it on amazon.com, $29.98
VTech KidiBeats Drum Set
While we can’t promise this drum set won’t inspire louder (think: teenage) days, we can say it won’t leave your eardrums bleeding when your little rock star plays it. It features nine different melodies that change up often and includes 16 different drumbeat sounds. Kiddos can play on learning mode (the toy mixes drums beats and lights to counting and phonics) or they can switch to free play mode to get creative. Just remember, no Freebird.
Buy it on amazon.com, $15.91
Sing-with-Me Bluetooth Microphone
Every toddler wants to take center stage, and they can with this Bluetooth-enabled microphone. It comes with an illustrated songbook of 10 of your tot’s nursery rhyme faves (Row, Row, Row Your Boat never get olds, amirite?). And kids can sing with or without supporting lyrics for each song. Once your tot tires of these, connect the mic to your Bluetooth to access popular faves (warning: do not, under any circumstances, indicate the microphone can play Baby Shark). But the most important feature of all is the volume button. Keep it on low while your budding rock star practices. Save the loud setting for family room concerts.
Buy it on amazon.com, $23.99
Push ‘N’ Go Vehicles
We dig this push-n-go vehicle set that won’t drive you crazy with loud songs that go on forever. Instead, these cuties play simple songs that are catchy enough to intrigue your kiddos without morphing into earworms. They’re built for little hands and have a simple design that kids can figure out on their own. But the best part of this music maker has to be the auto-sleep mode that stops the music after just 20 short seconds of inactivity. So when your toddler inevitably gets distracted by that—hey, squirrel!—the band decidedly won’t play on.
Buy it on amazon.com, $26.99