The 8 Best Electronic Music Toys for Kids in 2022


That said, while you can get some pretty amazing results with handheld operators, just check this out cover on the fly of “Poor Leno” by Röyksopp, created entirely on the PO-33 – programming sequences and tweaking sounds takes some patience, and previous experience with pattern-based sequencers wouldn’t hurt. Smaller children probably won’t get much out of the instrument. (It’s also a fairly simple affair, basically just a metal circuit board with a few buttons and an LCD screen; you might consider a optional silicone case, though you’ll have to break out the device’s removable metal bracket to fit it.) But older kids will have fun hitting simple grooves, and given the way kids’ brains work, they’ll probably have more of ease. understand its intricacies than you will. The complexity of the feature set means there’s really no cap on what they can do with it, provided they put the time into it. Do you want proof ? Veteran American breakcore producer Dev/Null premiered his new album Microjunglizm entirely on the PO-33, and it fringe.

Age range: 6+
Energy source: 2 AAA batteries
Audio: Built-in speaker, headphone jack
Connectivity: CV synchronization

Teenage Engineering PO-33 Knockout Pocket Operator


Tasos Stamou is a musician and instrument maker who hacks, or “circuit bends”, old toys and electronics to make wacky musical gadgets. (I haven’t tried any of them, but they come highly recommended by friends.) Its Modified Peppa Pig Toy Sampler adds pitch control to its multitude of preset sounds; the ethereal Paper Jamz Pro Mic noise generator generates bizarre drones; the computerized arcade melody sequencer turns an old 80s Radio Shack toy into a synth and sequencer with a dub beep-siren effect. If you dream of raising your child to be the next Dan Deacon, any of these would be a great place to start.

Age range: For big kids and young-at-heart adults
Energy source: varied
Audio: varied
MIDDAY : varied

Circuit Bent Toys by Stamou Instruments


At some point in my daughter’s early childhood, we discovered a silly little toy called the Tap and play the magic piano. Push the cables of the device into pieces of fruit – apple, banana, orange, whatever – then touch them, and the toy plays a different note for each piece of fruit. A little whimsical, sure, but kids love it. (If you don’t feel like wasting fruit, you can also use Silly Putty.) They seem to have disappeared from the market in the US (although Spain Eurekakids still has them). But Playtronica’s Playtron uses the same functionality and, together with its computer application, allows you to use objects (fruits, vegetables, water glasses, indoor plants) as an ad hoc MIDI controller to sample, play and sequence sounds. It is more expensive than the Tap & Play Magic Piano, but the creative possibilities are considerably greater.

Age range: 3+ (with parental assistance)
Energy source: n / A
Audio: Only via computer (or tablet/phone)
MIDDAY : MIDI output


Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a simple Casio keyboard, and this model, which has been around for a while, is a great place to start. Don’t let the model numbers confuse you: the SA-76 has an orange base, the SA-77 has a gray base, and the SA-78 has a pink base. It was one of the first musical purchases we made once my daughter was beyond the xylophone and shakers stage, and we still enjoy it very much. The keys are sized for small hands, but the 44-key length (three and a half scales, roughly) provides a nice range. There are 100 preset sounds to choose from, ranging from original piano and organ sounds to reeds and guitars, percussion and white noise, plus five drum pads to hit on. Eight-voice polyphony allows beginner players and purists alike to produce satisfyingly rich tones by playing up to eight notes at once. It’s chintzy, but in a way that will likely sound appealing to parents who grew up with indie music. Demo songs will drive you crazy, but if your kids are like mine, they’ll love them too.

Age range: 2+
Energy source: 6 AA batteries, AC adapter
Audio: Built-in speakers, headphone output
MIDDAY : No


The Otamatone is a popular Japanese musical toy that looks like an elongated eighth note (also a tadpole and a ladle – which, it turns out, are called “otamajakushi (おたまじゃくし)” in Japanese). A ribbon controller runs the length of the thing: press to play single notes, drag to connect two notes with a swoop portamento effect. Squeeze the mouth at the base to create a “wah” effect, or shake the instrument to create a vibrato. Parents may find this a little scary; kids will probably think it’s adorable. I haven’t tried any; this classically trained cellist says they are actually surprisingly difficult to play. But hey, $35 and a little practice might just turn your child into the next TikTok Star.

Age range: 6 months+
Energy source: 3 AAA batteries
Audio: Built-in speaker
MIDDAY : no