An In-Depth Guide to Guitar for Toddlers

If there ever is an instrument you want to start your child in early, it is the guitar. The guitar is a difficult instrument to learn the older you get because you have to retrain your fingers to make the odd shapes for the cords. It doesn’t sound difficult but with research, and speaking to someone who started guitar at 15, I assure you it is. The cords go against the natural things your fingers want to do so the later you start the harder it can be. Below are my best recommendations for a guitar for toddlers so your little one can get a jump start at becoming the next Jimi Hendrix.

guitar for toddlers

Guitar for Toddlers With Music

The first guitar that you should get your toddler is not what you think. Before you go and actually buy a string guitar, you should buy a toy guitar for toddlers with colorful buttons and preloaded music. This sets up a positive relationship between the toddler and the music and instrument. If the buttons can somehow change or add to the music, a cause, and effect structure, even better because it allows them to become active participants in making the music which creates more positive reinforcement for the toddler’s relationship with the guitar. Here are some of the best options. 

Here our the ones we love the most!

Baby Einstein Rock, Light & Roll Guitar Musical Toy

The Baby Einstein Rock, Light & Roll Guitar Toy is one of the best, first guitar for toddlers with music you could start on. It is for ages 3 months and up so you could start it even sooner if you wanted. It has an easy grab handle and plays 10 classical melodies from buttons or the rattle and has lights that draw and keep the toddler’s attention. It also can create music from a strum action as well. Parents will love the two-volume settings, each of which is not obnoxiously loud. 

“On behalf of my 10mo old this is how I interpret his feedback while playing with this toy… “Dad, this toy is great. I really enjoy the lights and it is so easy to push the big buttons that make music and initiates a solid light show. Two thumbs up dad!’”

The Learning Journey Early Learning Little Rock Star Guitar

As your child gets a little bit older and graduates from the Baby Einstein guitar, the next best guitar for toddlers with music is the Learning Journey Early Learning Little Rock Star Guitar. The Little Rock Star Guitar is for 12 months and up and has that cause and effect interaction I mentioned earlier. It is equipped with colorful buttons, gadgets, and a 5 note keyboard that triggers blends melodies and percussion. Because the child is actually making things happen (not just pressing a button and a song plays), it sets up a great relationship with the child as to how a guitar really works. 

Multifunction with great sound. My grandson loves music and this is really his favorite toy. It’s also a learning toy with many functions. I recommend it for either boy or girl. They’ll love it!

VTech Zoo Jamz Guitar

Moving up in the age bracket for 18 months and up, the best guitar for toddlers with music is the VTech Zoo Jamz Guitar. Not only does this guitar look like a giraffe ( what 18-month old wouldn’t want a guitar that looks like a giraffe), but it also has the same cause and effect interaction feature as the last guitar. Eight light-up buttons and strings allow your toddler to play preloaded music or make their own. In addition, it also has a sing-along feature. Your little one can sing along to eight familiar tunes with the giraffe. 

For even more detailed features, you’ll find that there is a dial that can change to different guitar sounds such as acoustic and electric so your little one can learn even more about the guitar and the whammy bar adds cool guitar effects. Oh, and it has a strap so it can be worn like a real guitar. There are enough cool and unique features that many reviewers say that even kids much older than 18 months enjoy this guitar.

I gave this to my great-nephew for his first birthday, and he was very excited about it. Two months later I’m told it is still his (and his older brother’s) favorite way to pass the time on car rides. There were quite a few similar items to choose from when I ordered it, and I was not disappointed at all with this choice.” 

Coco Interactive Guitar by Mattel

The final recommendation for a guitar for toddlers with music is really a transitional toy in my opinion because it does its best to mimic the action of a real guitar. The Coco Interactive Guitar doesn’t just look much more like a real guitar than all the other recommendations, it looks like the guitar from Disney’s Coco! Your kid doesn’t have to be a fan of Coco to enjoy this guitar though. 

It says it is recommended for three years and up but many reviews said they got it for kids as young as 2. It has real guitar action in that you need to press the buttons on the neck and strum the plastic strings to hear the chords. There are no preloaded songs but it does come with a song booklet that shows your toddler how to play music from the movie. That is why this is a great toy before transitioning to a real guitar. 

This is a brilliant guitar. It doesn’t have strings but it has hard plastic strings which you strum and it makes a chord sound. There are three buttons further up which you hold in and it will make a different chord sound. And one of these buttons also opens and closes the skulls mouth. When you strum a chord the lights on the guitar light up. You can’t play it like an ordinary guitar but you can make a tune. It is very well made and I would say difficult to break.

Guitar for Toddlers With Strings

The first step in getting your toddler started with a real guitar with strings is picking the right guitar. The most important detail when looking for a guitar for toddlers is size. You’ll want to pick a ¼ guitar that is a guitar a quarter of the size of a regular guitar. ¼ guitars are not as easily found though. Even big instrument manufacturers like Yahama don’t make them. ¼ guitars are a small niche market and only a few manufacturers produce them. Below are my top recommendations for ¼ guitars for toddlers with strings. 

Loog Mini Guitar

Loog Mini Guitars is easily one of the top favorites for guitars for toddlers with strings. They are great starter guitars because they have only three strings instead of six. The three strings are real strings and they match the thinnest three strings on a regular guitar. Having only three strings makes the beginning stages of learning much easier so your child won’t be too overwhelmed with six when they are just starting. They also have a skinnier neck which makes it easier for your child’s small hands to wrap around to play the chords. This is easily the best guitar for toddlers with string on the market, and they have acoustic and electric options in many colors. It also comes with flashcards and an app to help kids learn how to play.

“The guitar is beautiful and our 3-year-old son is so happy with it. He loves that it’s a real guitar and still easy to use. The app is fantastic and he just learned his first 2 chords! Thank you!” 

Master-Play Natural Wood Guitar

Loog guitars are high quality and that is reflected in the price. If you’d like a guitar for toddlers with strings at a lower cost, Master-Play has good options for beginner guitarists. It is just a smaller version of a traditional guitar with six chords but reviews claim it is easy to tune and play making it a great starter guitar for less than $50.

My kids are obsessed with this guitar. It is a beautiful and beautiful quality. It is easy to tune but we don’t really play any real songs with it. Easy to strum and the shoulder strap is nice.” 

What About a Ukelele?

When thinking about guitar for toddlers, obviously a ukelele is going to come to mind because it is already a small guitar. Ukeleles can be great starter guitars for toddlers. Do not buy the cheap, toy ukelele though as the sound is often of poor quality and they never tune right. Kala makes quality, fun ukes that are great for children and at reasonable prices too.  

Bought this for my boy’s third birthday but it is very much a “real” uke. I’m a somewhat casual ukulele player but I’ve played a Martin soprano a lot; I also own a Kala Koa concert and a Firefly banjo-uke. This one may not quite be the nicest of those, but it plays very well and holds tune great. It is well worth the money as a fun thing for kids to learn on or fun this for experienced players to make music on.

It has been well documented that introducing music to young children is beneficial across many different development stages. Learning an instrument is that much more beneficial – motor and tactile skills, action/reaction skills, creativity, and self-confidence just to name a few. And as I mentioned in the beginning, a guitar is much easier to learn the younger you start. What may seem like a toy could really be the first step in becoming a musician, or at least having fun and learning new skills. 

guitar for toddlers

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