Instruments for Children

Instruments for Children

Presenting the children's instruments that are available from Gandharva Loka: the world music store in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Instruments for Children

Children's instruments at Gandharva lokaGandharva Loka was founded upon the vision of encouraging joy and creativity through music by making a wide variety of world instruments accessible to everyone. Over the years, we have been encouraged by the many positive comments from people who visit our stores and we clearly see a growing awareness of the important role that music and music making plays in this world. As a result, people of all ages are being encouraged to do more than just passively listen to music. They are being encouraged to develop their capacities in music through a variety of instruments and the voice. We feel that this is especially important for humanities greatest asset – our children.

Educators, behavioral scientists and researchers, medical professionals, and child development specialists are confirming that musical training can significantly enhance child development. Several studies indicate that exposure to music – listening, learning, and playing music – does have beneficial effects for children of preschool and elementary age. Active musical training, in particular, can improve their problem-solving skills, physical coordination, poise, concentration, memory, visual, aural and language skills, self-discipline, as well as their self-confidence and ability to learn. (Source)

Child playing a steel drumIt is also wonderful to see the growing number of parents and educators who are thinking of the musical development of their young children. We have noticed that some parents are creating 'instrument boxes' in their homes, alongside the traditional toy boxes, so that their children's natural ability to express themselves through music will be encouraged and developed. Creative capacity is innate in human nature and, if encouraged and allowed to blossom when we are young, remains with us throughout our lives. And most importantly, music brings an element of joy into our lives that is often the result of having connected with the deeper aspect of our nature – our spirituality.

There should be music in the child's environment, just as there does exist in the child's environment spoken speech. In the social environment the child should be considered and music should be provided.
    – Maria Montessori.

This page highlights a number of musical instruments and novelty gift items that are available at Gandharva Loka which we consider are suitable or specifically for children.

Accordions for Children

Accordions For ChildrenThe accordion is one of the world's most popular instruments and is recognised for developing cognition and hand-eye coordination as well as encouraging imagination and musical creativity.

Gandharva Loka offers the Woodstock Collection's Kid's Accordion. Renowned for its authentic sound, the instrument has a two octave range that is tuned to the key of C major. This robust accordion features an adjustable hand strap and comes with detailed playing instructions and eight easy-to-play songs in a four-color gift box.

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Animal Sound Moo and Baa Boxes

Animal Sound Moo and Baa BoxesThese cute little animal voice toys have been around for many years. They are made with an internal diaphragm that, when flipped upside down for a few seconds and then turned right way up again, emit a mooing sound in the case of the cow version and a baa sound in the case of the sheep version.

The cow moo boxes we stock are made with retro images and are fun items for children that also bring back memories for the older generation. We have two types of sheep baa boxes – one that is decorated with images of lambs and sheep and onother that is covered with synthetic brown or white lambswool. Both the cow moo and the sheep baa boxes come in a variety of sizes which varies the pitch and length of the note that they make. Fun for kids of all ages up to 100+!

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Balloon Trumpet

Balloon TrumpetsBalloon trumpets are a recent addition to the world of novel and fun wind instruments. To look at they are shaped like a drum with a rubber membrane covering one end. They have a small hole in the wall of the drum that allows the player to blow into the instrument. The blowing vibrates the membrane which creates a trumpeting sound. Variations can be created by covering the open end of the drum with the free hand and opening and closing the hand to effect the pitch and intensity of the sound. Made in a variety of sizes, much fun can be had with these colourful little instruments. Recommended for children three years and over.

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Chimalong and Chimalong Mini

Chimalong and Mini ChimalongThe Chimalong is an award winning children's xylophone that was first introduced in 1986 by Woodstock Chimes and it remains one of their most popular products and an all-time best seller! The Chimalong is recommended for its educational value by John Sebastian, Marilyn Horne, Andre Watts, Peter Shickele and the late Jim Henson. The Chimalong is made up of precisely tuned metal tubes set in a plastic frame. It is tuned to C Major and can be played by number, color or notes. A great feature of the Chimalong is that is comes with an extra #7 tube, which changes the B (for key of C) to B flat (for key of G), giving greater musical flexibility. The Woodstock Chimalong also comes with two mallets and color coded songbook.

Gandharva Loka also stocks the Chimalong Mini which features eight metal tubes that can be arranged to pay in C or F. The Mini-Chimalong is attached to a stand-up songbook easel featuring 13 familiar songs teaching young children to play by matching colors or numbers while older children can use the standard musical notation. Includes one mallet. Both the Chimalong and the Chimalong Minis are recommended for children three years and over.

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Clap Eggs

Clap EggsThe clap egg is a simple form of novelty castanet. A split egg-shaped wooden block, decorated with the features of an animal or insect, is mounted on a 15 cm stick. When shaken the two halves of the wooden block come together offering a mellow clapping sound. Well made and brightly decorated, these cute clap eggs are suitable for very young children and are popular as gifts. Available in three styles: a yellow duck, a red ladybird and a green frog.

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Forest Devil

Forest DevilsAlso known as a Frog Caller, this novel and fun instrument consists of a small wooden drum with a hide skin. Through the skin passes a nylon line which is loosely attached to a resin coated groove in a wooden stick. The attached handle is pulled taught and tweaked to create a loud rasping sound (similar to a frog croaking) of various pitches and intensities. Variations can also be created by covering and uncovering the open end of the drum or by pressing on the skin. The drum can also be swung vigorously around the handle and this very closely resembles the chorus that multitudes of frogs make at a pond. A Forest Devil would bring a lot of fun to a camping trip (especially at night) and is recommended for children five years and over.

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Giggle Sticks

Giggle StickThese simple and brightly coloured children's toys have probably been responsible for more laughter in our store than any other item we offer! The Giggle Stick is a plastic tube that, when shaken end for end, produces the sound of laughter and giggling which is amusing not only to the person creating the sound but also to all in the proximity. The more vigorously the Giggle Stick is shaken, the faster and higher is the pitch of the 'giggle' it produces. It really is a great way to get people laughing and brings joy to young and old alike. Another very popular gift item and safe for children of all ages.

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Hand and Desk Bells for Children

Hand and Desk Bells for ChildrenTop quality construction and accurate intonation make this colourful eight note hand bell boxed set the best value available. The bell section is made of metal for a crisp, clear tone. In a C to C range, each of the eight metal bells is marked with the proper note and number to help children learn the musical scale. The hand bells come in two sizes and have long handles that enable young hands to grasp the bells securely. The desk bells are rung by tapping the tab on top of the bell. These are perfect instruments to help children learn the musical scale and to develop the concepts of rythym and musical unity. Very popular with schools and educators.

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Hand Jingle Bells (with clown face)

Hand Jingle Bells (with clown face)This is a cute percussion instrument with a colourful wooden handle and a funny clown face that comes in in two designs. Five bells are fixed with studs to a strap and the novelty toy jingles cheerily when shaken. This kind of toy is a great way to introduce music and rhythm in a playful, fun setting with an easy-to-play instrument. A popular gift that is appealing to young children and very easy for very young children to grip.

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Happy Birthday Music Box

Happy Birthday Music BoxThese cute and colourful wind up music boxes are musical novelties that are very popular as gifts. There are two styles: one for boys and one for girls, and both come with painted wooden numbers from 1 to 9 that can be inserted a hole at the top of the music box. To activate a key is turned underneath the box. When fully would up and then released, the music box will play the traditional 'Happy Birthday To You' tune while two magnitised figurines dance on the top of the box as it rotates. The whole effect is very sweet!

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Jadber-Jacob's Ladder

Jadber-Jacob's LadderThe Jadber-Jacob's ladder is one of the most famous and ancient folk toys around and has been available over the years in various forms made from a wide variety of materials. The colourful versions offered by Gandharva Loka are made of brightly painted wooden blocks bound together with satin ribbons and they will keep kids intrigued and delighted for hours. To set the Jadber-Jacobs ladder in motion, grasp the top two blocks and hold them together along the long edges using the index finger and thumb with the remaining four blocks hanging freely. Then let go of the block that is second from the top. As it falls, it will appear to tumble down the chain of blocks. Each Jadber-Jacobs Ladder is packaged in its own box.

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Jester Jingle Sticks

Jester Jingle SticksThese well made jester jingle sticks are brightly coloured children's rattles that have sweet and enchanting faces painted on them. They have eight fabric hat and body tassels with little bells attached to them that make a delightful tinkling sound when shaken or spun. The handles are finished with a bright red nob that allows even small hands a secure grip. A popular gift, these sweet wooden jester jingle sticks have proven to be a source of great entertainment and amusement for both children and adults alike!

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Lollipop Drum

Lollipop DrumThe Lollipop Drum is a robust, colourful and easy-to-play drum that is based on a simple drum design that has been around since mankind's earliest days – the frame drum (various types of frame drums can be seen on our Drums page).

The Lollipop drum comes with its own mallet but can also be played with the hands. This simple drum is great instrument for teaching children how to count out and maintain a rhythm and is recommended for children three years and over.

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Music Boxes

Music BoxesThese sweet little music boxes are perfect for young children. Unlike the classic wind-up music boxes, these beautifully illustrated 'Mini-Musics' have handles that have to be turned in order for the tune to play. This gives the children the joy and satisfaction of playing enchanting music themselves. Small enough to carry in the pocket or purse, these cute and inexpensive music boxes will bring joy wherever you go.

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PixiPan (Steel Drum for Children)

PixiPan (Steel Drum for Children)The PixiPan is a member of the steel drum family and an elementary instrument for young children (three to six years old) that helps to develop knowledge of and a feeling for musical structure. The tone order of the instrument, using alternative sides with ascending notes, creates a 'circular glockenspiel'. A harmonic path of motion is achieved through the use of both hands and the root key is G major. PixiPan's are made by E.C.S. Steeldrums of Germany and are meticulously constructed, beautifully finished and in perfect tune. Reasonably priced, they have a sweet, clear tone. Mallets and a stand come with the instrument and the makers offer plenty of helpful support and advice online.

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Prayer Drum

Prayer DrumThe Prayer Drum is a small and simple frame drum with a bright and responsive tone that is handmade in India. The Prayer Drum is played by spinning the handle rapidly back and forth between the hands (as if rubbing the hands) so that the knotted strings beat a rhythm on the drum head.

A bright and colourful addition to your childs musical instrument collection. The prayer drum is in the same family of drums as the damroo and is recommended for children five years and over.

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Gandharva Loka offers a wide variety of percussive shakers from all over the world, but three varieties are particularly suited to young children as they are child-safe and light in weight.

ShakersEgg Shakers (top image)
Colourful plastic egg-shaped shakers that measure 57mm long and 38mm wide. These egg shakers are child-safe and fit perfectly into the hand. Hold them end to end and shake for a bright sound or cup them in the palm to get a softer sound. They are lots of fun and so easy to play. Available in a range of bright colours. Recommended for children three years and over.

Egg Maracas (middle image)
Similar in size to the egg shaker but with a handle that is just the right size for little hands! Colourful, cute, lightweight and child-safe, these little plastic maracas deliver bright, vibrant tones, while the comfortably shaped handle makes them easy to play. 125mm in length and available in a range of bright colours. Recommended for children three years and over.

Mini Maracas (bottom image)
Mini maracas are a light weight percussive instrument that have a sharp, bright tone. They are 30 cm in length with have a flexible stem and are decorated with an attractive dot painted finish. Mini maracas are a great rhythm and accompaniment instrument. Recommended for children five years and over.

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Twittering Birds

Twittering BirdsThis is a toy instrument that will have parents asking, "Just how did a bird get into the house?" The lovely warble these whistles make when you fill them with water and blow into the mouthpiece is so realistic, it will be hard to believe the sound isn't coming from a real, live bird!

Gandharva Loka has twittering birds in a variety of styles and finishes including the detailed ceramic birds and the finely hand-painted and glazed ceramic birds featured in the image. We sometimes also have hand-crafted ceramic birds from South America and plastic versions available.

Experiment with different water levels and breath use to create a repertoire of beautiful bird calls – some of these delightful instruments also have small holes that can be blocked to create a sustained note. Excellent gifts for children aged five years and over – and they are fun for adults too!


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Links to children's instruments on other pages

The following is a list of links to instruments available at Gandharva Loka that may also appeal and be suitable for children of various ages.

  • Bird and Fish Trident – fun percussion instruments that double as a guiro.
  • Bongos – a Cuban percussion instrument consisting of two drums.
  • Boomwhackers – lightweight, color-coded, percussion tube tuned by length.
  • Caxixi – a percussive musical instrument (shaker) of African origin.
  • Claves – a rhythm instrument consisting of two short pieces of tuned wood.
  • Damroo – simple drums that are played by twisting the wrist.
  • Frog Family – cute and simple wooden percussive instruments.
  • Glockenspiel – bell-like melodious tones and easy to learn.
  • Guiro – a percussion instrument commonly used throughout Latin-America.
  • Hanging Elephants (with bells) – colourful felt elephants with bells.
  • Kazoo – a simple, inexpensive and fun wind instrument.
  • Maracas – a percussion instrument common to Latin-America.
  • Melodica – an easy-to-play keyboard and wind instrument combined.
  • Owl – a simple wooden wind instrument with a haunting, mysterious tone.
  • Pan Flutes – a wind instrument associated the Southern American folk music.
  • Rain Sticks – an instrument that creates the sweet sound of falling rain.
  • Slide Whistles – a simple whistle that bends sound and brings a lot of joy!
  • Sound Shapes – percussion instruments that are perfect for children.
  • Squeeze Horns – a fun novelty instrument that can also have practical uses.
  • Thunder Drums – the power to create thunder anywhere, anytime.
  • Tin Whistles – a simple six-hole whistle that is associated with Irish music.
  • Ukulele – an inexpensive introduction to stringed instruments.
  • Wooden Clackers – clackers with handles carved as dolphins or geckos.