Developing an interest in music at a young age is tremendously important to a child's development. While toy versions of instruments have always been popular among parents, it can be difficult to parse the cheap imitators from the quality products. Coming out of this year's Toy Fair, there were a few notable companies that are uniting design and durability in child-oriented instruments.
The Kickstarter campaign for the Loog Guitar reached its fundraising goal in 2011, and now the build-it-yourself instruments are available for purchase. The advantage to this children's guitar is that you can build it piece-by-piece with your little one. Not only does this make for a fun hands-on activity, it also helps to create a special relationship between the child and their toy. Constructed from responsibly managed forest timber, the three-string guitar comes in a trio of styles and custom color pick guards, and a color-coded fretboard and simplified design will help first-timers learn the basics of picking and strumming. Find one at the Loog store for $215.
Little Colorado Music Table
This compact activity station features a number of percussion options for tactile music-making, including a xylopipe, cymbal, drum, glockenspeil and four colorful maracas. The parts are sturdy and replaceable, and the table is made from baltic birch plywood. The Music Table is available from Little Colorado for $190.
Schoenhut Fancy Baby Grand Piano
Schoenhut has long produced the best piano for aspiring toddlers. Their Fancy Baby Grand has gotten a makeover in this pink version, which sports the brand's signature curved legs and elegant lines. Schoenhut uses metal rods in place of string, which increases durability for intense sessions and produces a fun, chime-like tone. The play-by-color system is a throwback, but one that has taught generations of children the elements of piano playing. The piano is available from the Amazon for $85. It's also available in white, red and black.