The Winter Holidays are fast approaching, and if you, like many, are wondering what presents to get your kids, we have some suggestions for great musical gifts your children and the whole family can enjoy!
(Inside the Orchestra has received no sponsorship from any company or item featured in this blog post)
Ages 0 – 2
Percussion instruments can be great for little ones, allowing them to explore and create new noises. Egg shakers, or maracas in the shape of eggs, are perfect for tiny hands. Your local music store should have egg shakers and you can also to buy them online (Basic Beat Single Egg Shaker, $1.75 a piece + shipping, Amazon.com).**
Ages 3 – 5
Kitchen drums, or letting your child bang on your pots and pans, are popular percussive instruments for little ones. However, if you want to get your son or daughter the real thing, hand drums are great for small children to explore sound and rhythm. This Remo Rhythm Club Floor Tom ($19.99 + shipping, Amazon.com) can be played with or without the mallet, and Remo has other options including Konga Drums and Bongos.
If your child loves music and building their own creations, check out this Saxoflute ($11.99 + shipping, Dancing Bear Toys)! This build-it-yourself instrument comes as a 15-piece set featuring a mouthpiece, trumpet end, and twisting tubes made of plastic. Let your little creative build their own instrument and then make their own tune!
Ages 5 – 7
Does your child love conducting along with Tom at our Tiny Tots concerts? Why not get them their own baton? This Rhythm Band Conductor Baton ($1.50 + shipping, Amazon.com) will let your child to become their own maestro.
If your child is interested in the guitar or ukulele, consider looking into a soprano ukulele. Smallest of the ukulele family, the soprano ukulele is great for children as the frets are close together, making it easier for children with small hands to play. Check out this article with recommendations for beginners and brands of ukuleles (usually ranging in prices from $20 – $65).
Ages 7 – 9
Most children start playing their first band or orchestra instrument in grades 5 or 6, or around 10 – 11 years old, but if your child wants to start violin, viola, or another stringed orchestral instrument when they are younger, there are many options for smaller-sized instruments. (See our past blog post on deciding if your child is ready to start instrument lessons.) Here is a resource on deciding whether to rent or buy a violin and if you do choose to buy, here is a resource on how to choose a good student violin.
Though not holiday themed, this book is a fun mix of music and adventure. If your child loves reading, figuring out riddles, and hearing an orchestra play, pick up The Composer is Dead ($10.26 + shipping, Amazon.com), a thrilling mystery by children’s author Lemony Snicket (known for his Series of Unfortunate Events) accompanied by an audio recording featuring the author himself and the music of Nathaniel Stookey performed by the San Francisco Symphony. You can listen to the first part of the story’s recording here.
Want to give a musical gift that the whole family can enjoy? Check out these musical games for children and adults alike!
Nino Percussion Shake n’ Play Memory Game ($39.99 + shipping, Amazon.com)
Intended for children ages 3 and up, this game is an auditory spin on the classic memory game where children must match up pairs. Two shakers on the board sound exactly same as each other, but different from the others. A fun way to help train your child’s ear and work on memory skills!
Spontuneous ($29.99 + shipping, Amazon.com)
For ages 8 and up, a 4 – 10 player game where individuals sing or shout out song titles based on the keywords that are chosen before the game starts. Move your game piece around a treble-clef shaped path on the board and try to avoid Spontuneous challenge squares! A fun game for older kids and family members. Check out the Spontuneous website for more info.
Bonus: Musical games and activities for your holiday party!
Holiday Music Crackers (Robin Reed Classic Musical Concerto English Crackers, $24.95 + shipping, Amazon.com)
No, not crackers that you eat. These crackers (sometimes called bon-bons) are part of UK Christmas traditions. A cracker is made of a cardboard tube wrapped in decorative paper with a prize in the center. The cracker is pulled apart by two people, which causes the cracker to split unevenly and whoever holds the longer piece wins the prize inside. These musical crackers contain a numbered whistle inside and the set comes with whistles, hats, numbered badges, sheet music, and a conductor’s baton so your whole holiday party can make music together. You can also make your own holiday crackers, check out this video to see how.
This musical game comes from Family Reunion Helper, where you can check out more ideas for fun, musical things to do at your holiday get-togethers. Start with song titles on strips of paper in a hat, just like you would with regular charades, or ask your guests to write do
n suggestions. When acting out the song titles, further hints can include humming the tune!
No matter what gifts you give or what music you make, we hope you have a Happy Holidays!
* Prices based on listings at the time this post was written, are subject to change