Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Toddlers
Categories: Music

 

 
2013 Awards
Chicco 3-in-1 Music Band Table
(Chicco $49 Score:)

A versatile activity table with three different musical instruments: drum, maracas and DJ. Kids can play rhythms and keep time with the music, or spin their own music. For music lovers, it may be a stretch to call this a musical toy, but it is about giving tots the powerful sense of making things happen. Sitting-up babies can play their own tunes on the floor while standing-up toddlers can play side by side. Either way, this is a fun way for kids to make things happen. The sounds are not too intrusive. Happily, there are no A-B-C's or numerals to give a false impression of being more educational. But, not to worry. Babies learn a lot about cause and effect from playing with open-ended toys that invite them to turn knobs, spin barrels, and push big buttons. They are also developing eye hand skills and manual dexterity.

SNAP: You may want to tape on a fat foam hair roller to the tiny green knob of the green DJ disk. That will add texture and be easier to grasp for children who need a larger knob. For children who are not standing, the separate pieces can be enjoyed in the lap or the three pieces can fit in the white stand and be played on the floor without the legs.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
ELC Music Garden
(International Playthings $29.99 Score:)

Talk about making things happen, this is it! Touch the flowers and set off the music and lights and sounds. There is no right or wrong way to make this work. We really like the musical selections, not because they ar classic melodies, but the quality of the sound is excellent! That alone sets this toy apart from all too many of the so-called musical toys for tots. There are several modes of play to explore: the scale, animal sounds, silly ones and pure music. The tote handle will please toddlers who like carrying their favorite toys as they move from one room to another.  This does have a volume control and teaches kids about cause and effect as well as empowering them to make music.  6 months & up.

SNAP: For all the reasons above, this is a pleasing and interesting toy for learning about cause and effect and giveing children a sense of power, by making things happen. It has a lot of sensory play value.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Awards
Poppin Play Piano
(LeapFrog $24.99 Score:)

Toddlers will like the action of hitting the keys and making the color balls jump. But this poppin' piano goes way beyond that simple play mode. It is an electronic toy and has a load of built-in bells and whistles. As electronic toy pianos go, this one has pretty good sound. It plays a variety of instruments --piano, organ, harpsichord, synthesizer, and something called popping sounds. But you cannot go from one instrument to another without going to another activity and returning to the "choose an instrument" mode and then striking a different note on the keyboard. In other words, there is nothing easy about the choices. There are several modes, most well beyond the 12-36 month age group on the package. Mode one is a number drill with the audio telling children to hit the numerals on the big colorful keys. Mode two tells children the color of the key they are striking and makes a ball jump up. Another skill set that does not match the age group. There is another mode that plays premade music and kids can hit whatever notes they choose while the song is playing. Kids need to be in the instrument section to have free playtime. It has loud and soft volume settings.

SNAP: This child friendly keyboard will encourage children to use fine motor skills as well as giving them the powerful satisfaction of making music with a swipe of the hand. 

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Awards
Maracas
(Schylling $7.18 Score:)

Give these wooden painted maracas a shake. Painted in bug-like colors-red and black ladybug, yellow and black bumble bee, green and black grasshopper, these are smooth to the touch and have a good sound. Fun for keeping time with music or dancing time. 2 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.   We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

SNAP: Here's another way to enjoy music..keeping the beat. This is an entertaining way to build listening skills and encourage movement. These smooth maracas are smooth to the touch and appealing to the eye. Use them to motivate children to use their hands for gripping. To adapt, attach Velcro to the handles and to mitts that will help kids hold onto them. These will be enjoyed by kids with the mobility to dance as well as those who can participate in a wheelchair.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Awards
Step 2 Basic Rhythms Maracas
(Step 2 $7.99 Score:)

Designed for little hands, these two colorful maracas have pretty good sound values for keeping the beat. Each of them has a distinctive sound. These are another element in the new Basic Rhythms line that Step 2 created for toddlers, that will also be enjoyed by preschoolers.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 

SNAP IDEAS: Put on some music and let the shaking begin. Whether they can dance or keep the beat while sitting on the floor, being able to make "music" is empowering to young children.  These have chubby handles that may be easier to grasp than other musical rhythm instruments.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Award
Step 2 Basic Rhythms Guitar
(Step 2 $19.99 Score:)

Part pretend and part making music, this colorful little guitar is scaled for toddlers. There are fret bars that play chords, three big buttons that play three familiar nursery tunes, and musical note button that plays typical guitar licks. There’s an on/off button and controls for playing at two levels of volume, a welcome extra for keeping the sound from becoming too intrusive. Older sibs can follow the color-coded music to play four tunes on their own.  

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2009.

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2009 Awards
Step 2 Basic Rhythms Piano
(Step 2 $19.99 Score:)

Toddlers will love this portable keyboard with big colorful keys. It plays a full octave of notes that kids can use for 'composing' or press one of the three purple keys that play Twinkle Twinkle, Row Row, Row Your Boat, or The Farmer in the Dell.  Older sibs can follow with color-coded music to play familiar nursery tunes. This is one of those early music toys that toddlers find engaging as they learn how to make things happen.

 The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2000 Awards
Music Blocks
(Small world toys $69.95 Score:)

A new addition to our Blue Chip Award list. Remains one of our favorite toys, ever.  Here's what we wrote in 2000: One of the most innovative toys of the year! We were skeptical about such an expensive musical toy for kids-that was, until we played it! Imagine five colored plastic blocks each side with a geometric shape and representing a different sound. Match the shapes or play them in random order -there's no right or wrong way. Push on the blocks to play musical phrases! What sets this toy apart is the quality of the sound: woodwinds, trumpets, percussion. Comes with "Mozart's Night Music" cartridge. Bring home the "Rhythms of the World" cartridge right away. The new Disney music cartridges are not recommended since they produce a disconcerting disconnected effect so that songs do not make sense. We also found that the new Discovery Block, a big fabric block with peek-a-boo surprises was overly loud, frenetic, and too didactic. Teaching concepts such as "hexagon" to toddlers who are just learning to speak seems out of sync and not especially playful! 2 & up.

snap info: Want a rewarding tool for developing matching skills? Color concepts? Cause and effect? It's all here, plus great sound quality! Players touch blocks to activate a musical phrase or rhythm. Shapes on the blocks determine what instrument you'll hear. It's fun to mix up the shapes on the blocks for a variety of sounds. Kids with visual disabilities can "read" raised symbols on the blocks. Pricey but one of the most innovative toys we've found for kids with or without disabilities. New for 2000, update with extra cartridges ($19.99 each) of Bach, Jazz or Rhythms; a Cyber Cartridge ($49.99) downloads music from the internet.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2000. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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Music Cube
(Munchkin $34.99 Score:) Compared to Neurosmith's Music Blocks, this has poor sound quality. It's also a one-trick pony---playing a few tunes that cannot be changed with multiple cartridges like Neurosmith's. As each face of the cube is pushed a new instrument chimes in. However, the biggest complaint from testers was the lack of a volume control. It is super loud.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2002.

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2004 Awards
Music Blocks Composer
(Small world toys $49.99 Score:) A less costly version of one of our favorite toys. Like the original Music Blocks Maestro, it comes with five colored plastic blocks, each side making a different sound. Match the shapes on the blocks or play them in random order-there's no right or wrong way. The "composer" allows you to record and play back your composition. Comes with one jazz cartridge; we'd suggest bringing home the Mozart cartridge, too. The original Music Blocks Maestro is still available ($59.99) with compositions from Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. SNAP:Kids with visual disabilities can "read" raised symbols with their fingertips on the blocks.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2004.

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