Music can be such a strong influence in a child’s life whether they’re listening to it or learning how to play it. Teaching a child an instrument instills in them the confidence to learn a skill as well as create something beautiful, because music, simply put, is an art form. Parents will be surprised to know that a child is never too young to learn the importance of music! Instruments are created with all ages in mind and one the most popular, by far, is the guitar. It seems to be everyone’s first instrument and is as simple or as complex as you want it to be which makes it such a versatile and easy instrument for kids to learn. The guitar will teach them basic chords in addition to how to use and take care of an instrument while they strum along with their favorite songs. Beginner guitars also don’t need to be expensive investments that break the bank, which makes them perfect for kids who express a desire to learn an instrument but don’t yet know if they’ll be fully comfortable with a guitar. Even toddlers can be given the chance to make music–maybe not on a full six-string guitar, but with makers such a VTech realizing how significant musical sound is to development, they’ve created introductory “guitars” that will give toddlers the feel of the real thing.
Listening to music can help improve vocal-cord function as well increase rhythm skills, and studies have shown that classical music can increase focus and keep kids occupied on the task at hand. By playing the guitar, they’ll be able to match what they hear with physical actions, thus increasing their motor skills and learning timing. It can sharpen their hearing and teach them discipline which is all vital to healthy skill development.
Amongst the myriad of benefits that playing the guitar can have for your child, the best one is the fact that they’ll be gifted with the ability to make music. Whether they’re naturally musically inclined or not, playing the guitar is something fun, active, and entertaining for any age. The comprehensive list below has options for any range of kids along with different options for various different aspects of learning, and we’re sure that one of them is sure to perfectly suit your child. Rock on!
Our Top 3 Picks
- VTech Strum and Jam Kidi
- 3-in-1 Play Feature
- Best Choice Acoustic Guitar
- +Digital E-Tuner
- First Act Acoustic Guitar
- Learn-a-Chord Cards
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Kids Guitars
We also took into consideration the developmental stages of each child! While some younger kids may be more negligent about the well-being of an actual instrument, some other older, more mature children–or, ones with musician parents that are supervised–will take more of an interest in genuinely learning the mechanics of guitar playing. This is why we included the offering of the Half-Sized Classical Guitar; the Yamaha acoustic guitar as well as a couple playable ukuleles. Still wanting to give your kids the look and feel of a guitar made us choose the Strum and Jam Guitar, which is definitely more of a toy. In between, we chose the composites that are playable but not great–for parents who just want to give their child a slight nudge in the direction of musicality!
We can all remember when the trend was particularly strong–when good parents from the 1970s down through the mid-1990s wanted their children to become geniuses, so they played them the music of Mozart as soon as possible! Sometimes, mothers would go as far as buying devices so the fetus could absorb the sound in-utero! We may laugh at that now, but they weren’t too far off in that assessment! Since the beginning of time, everyone has understood both the calming effect that music can produce in people. From the serenity of a church playing Mozart or Bach to the primal drumbeat of an audience pit at a Heavy Metal concert to the easy-breezy strumming of a Hawaiian Slack-Key guitar.
All of the research shows music builds neural pathways that create our deeper realities. While we may no longer be as ambitious as to make all of our children the next Mozart or Jimi Hendrix, the understanding is that this brings about an easier transition into socialization. Everyone wants a calmer, happier, child that never loses his or her inquisitiveness, too! Not only does the engagement in music play on this calming effect, the discipline and ability gained from learning and mastering a musical instrument–or even being introduced to one–will bring a lifetime of positive and rewarding effects into adulthood!
What Determined the Top Guitars for Children on Our List
In choosing the best guitar for children, we had to take note of the age of the child who is going to use it. This is very important since young children typically will not be able to handle yet any full-sized string musical instruments that well. As such, the developmental appropriateness of the musical instrument was a primary consideration in our selection process. This included an analysis of whether the child of a given age will be able to effectively play the instrument or even, at least, pretend to play with it. If he or she will be having a difficult time playing with it, then he or she will simply lose interest and ditch the product for something more useful.
Secondly, the construction of the stringed musical instrument was taken into consideration. Unfortunately, we could not really physically examine all of these products given the short time we have. As such, we had to rely on the guitar maker’s reputation, its trustworthiness, the current consumer review ranking of the product, and, of course, the feedback and comments from customers. As much as possible we included only chordophones that have very durable construction, especially the body, the soundboard, and the neck and truss rod. The body of the guitar was also evaluated to make sure that it is sturdy. We’re talking about kids here who may not be able to safely handle such delicate musical instruments.
The safety of the chordophone was also considered. Any additional features were also carefully examined as to how they can benefit children’s overall development as well as enjoyment playing the stringed instrument.
Guitars and Your Child’s Development
We already know that there are many benefits of music to children, especially the younger ones. Whether it is listening to music or actively engaging in the creation of tunes and melodies, it can greatly impact the development of children.
Playing guitars, in particular, can provide a host of truly superb developmental benefits. Chief among these is the enhancement of sensory development. As kids strum the strings to produce a tune, they naturally feel the vibrations created by the strings. Likewise, they also hear the melodies created by these vibrations. And in the case of a toy guitar that comes with built-in light shows, the interactive effects can also help provide visual stimulation. It is this combination of visual, tactile, and auditory sensory information that will allow the young brain to process and integrate different senses into one meaningful experience.
Playing guitars and musical toys also can help children master the art of finger dexterity and coordination. Pressing the correct string to elicit the right tune requires spatial reasoning as well as superb control of fine-motor movements. All of these resonate through the psychomotor development of young children as they attempt to coordinate the movement of their fingers with the chords that their eyes are reading from a songbook. The auditory input will also be integrated into the finger movements. If the tune doesn’t sound right, then the placement of the fingers are readjusted.
Of course, being able to complete one song can be a great achievement for young kids. This can substantially improve their sense of confidence. In cases where the kid performs in front of an audience, be it the family or in school, this can have an impact in his or her social and emotional well-being.
The Bottom Line
Playing a string instrument is one of the favorite pastimes of almost everyone. With these 10 amazing kids guitars, you can help your child start appreciating and loving this wonderful musical art.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can some of these products be seen as cheap imitations or “crutches” to developing real musical ability?
A: They can be seen that way! We’re in the business of offering entertainment products and toys. Ultimately, it is at the discretion of each parent what to introduce to the child and what kind of developments they want to see. That being said, we do offer a number of products that are genuine musical instruments that can bring out the latent talent of each child. We give the acoustic starter set for a folksy feel. The classical guitar for something like Bach. And, the electric set for kids who may admire Eddie Van Halen’s playing!
Q: According to the reviews, a lot these instruments lose their tune, what can I do to prevent that?
A: There’s not too much you can do! It is the nature of stringed acoustic instruments to go out of tune sometimes fairly quickly. The weather and barometric pressure are a factor in this! We suggest patience with some products! One of our offerings comes with a pitch pipe to help in tuning, and there are also many downloadable apps that can help with this. Besides, what also comes along with ownership of an instrument is maintenance and responsibility–it can be a valuable lesson in discipline for your child to learn and get into the habit of tuning his or her instrument when needed.
Q: It says that some of these toys are suitable for 2-year-olds; is there the possibility of any of them being choking hazards?
A: With the ones designated as such, we don’t believe so! But, anything is possible, which is why adult supervision is highly recommended! A choking hazard can range to anything from a small loose screw off the battery pack, a loose wire, or a tiny battery. And, in this instance, maybe a guitar pick, a broken-off piece of string, or even a tuning peg! We recommend that you look carefully to all reviews since some might act as a warning for this in a certain product.
Q: I noticed that most of these products don’t offer a warranty; what is the lifetime of some of these items?
A: I would estimate that the lifetime of the battery-operated products could be from two to five years at the maximum. It pretty much covers the stage of your child’s early development. If you have more than one child, of course, it can be passed down–but, for how long is anybody’s guess! As for the actual acoustic instruments, they can be regarded as legacy pieces. With proper supervision and maintenance, both your grandchildren and great-grandchildren could be playing them in 100 years!
Q: What is the difference between plastic and nylon strings for the guitar?
A: Some of the product descriptions say that the guitar has plastic strings while others have nylon. Well, the description of plastic strings is typically used for guitars that are more on the level of toys rather than genuine musical instruments. While plastic strings do resonate enough to give a decent tone, they can’t produce a clean harmony the way that nylon or steel strings do.
Q: As my child gets more proficient with the electric guitar, do you think I could upgrade the amplifier?
A: I don’t see why not! Of course, since it is a children’s guitar, I’m not sure what the highest wattage that it could be plugged into without getting any feedback or a sound at all. As your child gets with an instructor and takes lessons, it would be best to consult with his or her teacher over this. Also, do your own research! Look online, go to guitar center stores and ask around. It may require another guitar, which could be years away when considering this.