Sweet music 

Music is so important for babies and children – it’s a vital part of being human, and anyone who has spent time around infants will recognise the joy brought by a simple song, rhyme or rhythm. 

One of Frida’s favourite indoor activities is to use her musical instruments. We’ve collected these bit by bit over the last ten months, and it is a joy to watch her with them. When she shakes her shaker or a maraca, she shakes with her whole body, not just her hand or arm. 

  
Her favourite instrument is an African shaker I bought for her in the Horniman Museum. I love it too, and the sound it makes is different depending on how you shake it. She also enjoys these little wooden maracas I bought online. We have lots of these maracas as they are useful to keep in her changing bag or in our coats to cheer her up in an emergency. 

  
She also loves this wooden bell shaker and has enjoyed it for a good number of months. It’s quite light so easy for even a young baby to handle and it makes a pleasingly loud noise! 

  
My mum recently bought her a beautiful xylophone. I don’t know where it’s from but it’s really lovely, with clean, crisp notes. It’s a proper instrument rather than a toy which I think is important as it makes a wonderful sound and is a good tool for Frida to use, unlike some of the rubbish sounding toy xylophones I have seen. I really agree with the Montessori ethos that children should be given real tools and objects to use rather than “pretend” ones (which are usually less well made and less joyful to handle). 

  
During a recent trip to IKEA I picked up a pack of their wood percussion instruments and Frida is starting to get the hang of how the scraping one (I have no idea of the proper name) works. She also, unsurprisingly, loves the shaker which comes with the set. 

  
Finally another favourite is this simple wooden tambourine. It’s light but makes a great shake and is also a satisfying drum.

  
As well as her instruments, Frida also has some wooden sound blocks which have coloured Perspex (great for looking through) and different sorts of beads inside, so each make a different sound when shaken. These are a firm favourite and l can see her using them to build with her wooden blocks when she’s a bit bigger. 

When she is a bit older I would like to introduce her to a triangle and a flute and a proper drum. 

At the moment she has access to everything apart from the xylophone on her shelves and she does go back to her instruments over and over again. If you’re currently pondering gifts for a baby or toddler I can highly recommend instruments! 

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