Giving your child practical exposure to music at a young age could have a major impact on his or her future development. But, how do you do that? What do you look for? What would be the best piano to unleash the inner-Mozart in your young one?
We’ve got you covered!
From the best toy pianos to serious instruments that children can play for many years, the market is flooded with options when it comes to pianos for kids. If you’re looking for the best piano for kids, you’ve come to the right place. In this review and buying guide, we’ll take you through the important things that make for a good piano for kids, and look at the different designs and elements of the ideal piano for your toddler, bearing the best age-appropriate options on the market for kids in different age groups in mind.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a piano for kids and why does my child need one?
- 2 Why should you be interested in buying one?
- 3 How does a piano for kids differ from a full-size piano?
- 4 How to choose the best piano for children?
- 5 The best piano for babies and young toddlers between 1 and 3 years old
- 6 The Best piano for toddlers between 3 and 6 years old
- 7 The best piano for kids between 6 and 12 years old
- 8 Conclusion
What is a piano for kids and why does my child need one?
A piano for kids, for the intents and purposes of this article, is an instrument with piano keys (or even anything that remotely resembles keys) on. These keys are usually tuned and used to play the notes of a scale. Some pianos have more keys than others, and the sounds of these pianos differ greatly – but if it can play music and it is designed to be played by kids, we’ll consider it in our quest to find the best piano for children of all ages.
Why should you be interested in buying one?
Well, it is a scientific fact that music lessons – and essentially making music – develops the brain and cognitive ability of young children. So if you’d like to fine-tune your kid’s motor skills or develop their patterns of logical thinking, music is the answer. We haven’t mentioned fun yet, and ultimately, fun is a BIG contributing factor when it comes to the reasons why people buy pianos that are designed for kids: To see a huge smile on their little one’s face!
The creative process while playing the piano and figuring out music notes is a great way for your child to deal with stress or anxiety too – so even a toy piano plays a huge role in developing the young minds EQ.
Many of the greatest musicians started making music at an early age. No, we’re not talking Justin Bieber here. We’re talking Beethoven. We’re talking Mozart – who composed his first Minuet at the age of five! What’s good enough for Mozart, surely, is good enough for you.
How does a piano for kids differ from a full-size piano?
A piano that is designed for kids, is usually smaller than a traditional acoustic, upright or grand piano. While digital pianos are sometimes considered a great option for kids, we differ from that notion. A digital piano has keys that are hard to play (called weighted keys) for young children and has many different buttons and settings that could be hard to operate when you are a young kid who just wants to bang out a few notes. So, a piano for kids is generally smaller in size.
A piano for kids is also cheaper. Even the best pianos for children are usually offered at prices that don’t come close to the prices that – even terrible – full-sized pianos are sold at. The fact that you don’t need to make a massive investment, makes pianos for kids a viable option for most parents. So, the PRICE is also smaller.
The keys are smaller too – which allows young children with small hands to easily play different notes and hold a five-finger position. On full-sized pianos, doing even minor stretches between notes can be quite difficult if you have a tiny toddler hand – so if you are a 3-year-old showman, a piano specially designed for your hand’s size is a must-have!
Lastly, a piano for kids is FUN. You will typically see mini keyboard pianos in bright colors, and they usually sport fun buttons and adjustment knobs which takes away the boredom factor often encountered when kids play on full-sized pianos. Playing piano on a piano designed for kids does – and should – feel like a play-date if you’re a young person with the best kid piano on the block!
How to choose the best piano for children?
The market for toy pianos is really flooded. Even more sophisticated instruments intended for older children like mini grand pianos and keyboards for young children are redesigned and widely distributed almost on a weekly basis. A few quick Google searches will have you scratching your head if you don’t know what to look for… But, if you know what you want, what to look for, and importantly, what the options are out there, you should make easy work of buying the best piano for your child.
Buy the right size
The design of each piano is different. The notes on acoustic and grand pianos are all universal, but that is not the case with pianos for kids. Each manufacturer uses different dimensions, and there isn’t really a standard size that they conform to.
Also, consider the size of the piano or cabinet. Does it suit the young pianist’s height and size? We have grouped our reviews in different age groups to make it easier for you to make the choice – but it is imperative that you make sure that your child will be comfortable in front of those ivories, and still have a level of maneuverability in order for him or her to access all the notes.
Choose a piano that suits your kid’s developmental stage
In other words, make sure that you don’t buy a piano that is above your child’s capacity. A child that is 1 and a child that is 5 does not think on the same level, and they’ll have different needs when it comes to creative stimulation. Also, consider their ability to move their fingers independently (fine motor skills) and whether they will need color-coded keys.
Buy the right amount of keys
Full-sized pianos have 88 keys – but no toddler needs that many. Some toy pianos only have 4 notes, and some of the more serious pianos for older toddlers and young teens have as many as 61 keys. Generally speaking, more is better, but don’t buy a piano that will confuse a very young child.
Other features and extras
Some pianos – especially keyboards for kids have features that will amaze your child. These include built-in sounds of other instruments, demo songs, backing tracks, and other electronic sounds.
Some of the pianos built for kids have microphones built-in, which is great fun for the young piano-vocalist or karaoke fan. If you’ve ever heard your kid sing in the shower, you should consider one of these models.
Some pianos built for kids have keys that light up or other lights that can make learning the piano a fun pastime.
Some manufacturers have developed excellent teach-me-to-play programs, and they’re usually included in their instruments.
It makes sense to buy a piano that conforms to your requirements and has most of the extras you’ll need. Buying these as aftermarket add-ons can become a costly expense, so its best to avoid having to do so if you can.
Get the right piano for the right person
Are you buying a piano for a young boy to bang on? A pretty piano for a young girl to tinker on? A beginner’s instrument for the young virtuoso who needs to have a realistic looking – and feeling – piano?
At the same time, it might be great to think about what the main use of the piano will be. If you need a small toy-piano that you can take along on school-runs, it won’t be a good idea to buy a mini-grand piano that is heavy to lug around.
Battery or A/C power?
The best pianos for kids run on both, but some pianos only run on battery power which can be a huge expense. Pro-tip: Look for a piano that has rechargeable batteries, and a charger that comes with it.
Consider how much you want to spend
Buy a piano that suits your pocket. It is also worth remembering that not all children will take to playing the piano – so you should be comfortable being able to write off the amount you spent on your kid’s first piano if he or she stops playing it after a week or two.
This is probably THE most important thing to consider. Is the piano you’re buying kid-proof? If it presents a choking hazard, or the manufacturers build quality is not up to scratch, walk away.
The best piano for babies and young toddlers between 1 and 3 years old
Baby Einstein Magic touch toy piano
Our Rating: 4.5/5
The Baby Einstein magic touch piano is a toy piano that combines the young musician’s inquisitive need to touch things with an innovative touch-pad style piano that they call “magic touch”. This is basically a one-octave (8 note) keyboard that is mounted on a wooden make-believe piano-type desktop stand.
The notes on the magic touch pad make a piano-like sound when you tap them – negating the need of having to press a key or note, which is quite hard to do if you’re a very young pianist with tiny hands. To make this toddler-piano even easier to play, the designers at Baby Einstein have left out intricate buttons and knobs – so there is nothing to press except the magic touch notes.
So playing on this little piano for children is child’s-play. Yes, Pun intended. Importantly, it is also child safe and made from durable materials that don’t present a choking hazard. The manufacturer recommends this as the ideal piano for the 12-36-month-old baby – so if you’re after early learning development, this is the ideal piano to get.
Not enough can be said about how good it is to stimulate the young mind with music from an early age. This toy piano comes with three music sheets that are color-coded with the relevant keys on the piano which makes it easy to play a first song or two. Match the colors of the sheets, tap the piano button that corresponds, and presto – you’re making music!
The piano is powered by two AA batteries (included in the initial purchase). Battery life is purported to be around 144 hours – which by the way, is more or less how long it would take you to play all the movements of Beethoven’s 9th symphony through… TWICE!
The speakers are of decent quality, and there is a handy volume control that allows you to tone down the volume when your young one’s music starts to make your ears bleed.
When your child is done playing some own-compositions, the Baby Einstein toy piano can also play 6 different pre-programmed demo songs. These are all classical melodies (and they’ve included the theme from Beethoven’s 9th symphony, which deserves our applause), and baby Ludwig can play along to these too.
This really is a bantam-weight contender. Weighing only 2 pounds, and small enough to stow away makes this one of the most portable pianos we’ve ever reviewed. Coupled with the numerous other benefits it has, this is definitely the undefeated champion and one of the best toy pianos on the market today.
Vtech Zoo Jamz Piano
Our Rating: 5/5
The Vtech Zoo Jamz Piano is a fun instrument designed with the young pianist between 18 months and 4 years old in mind. This is a toy, with the added benefit of having notes and elements of music that will stimulate the young mind.
Essentially this is a 4-in-1 instrument, that allows you to choose between playing the piano, violin, xylophone, and saxophone. It also has 20 pre-programmed songs and melodies, and a microphone that allows you to sing along with the melodies you create.
One of the fantastic functions of this little piano for toddlers is that it is an educational tool. The keys light up on three different learning levels, which is a great aid in learning the piano.
When you buy a toy piano, you want it to be FUN. And, fun this piano is! The black and white patterns of this piano are combined with a zebra character on the top left of the piano to make it easy to love. Your toddler wants to give his or her piano a name? Well, what about Zettie the Ivory Zebra?!
The inclusion of a whammy bar and a scratch disc are more than cool add-ons… they will definitely aid in the development of fine motor skills!
The Vtech Zoo Jamz piano requires 2 AA batteries for operation. Although this is included, they are not rechargeable, and you will need to replace them from time to time.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Silly Sounds Light-up Piano
Our Rating: 4/5
This piano toy is the cutest thing ever! Suitable for babies from as young as 6 months, it will stimulate artistic development and creativity in every kid who is old enough to lift a finger.
The good part is, it won’t feel like work to them. Mommy and daddy can sit back, relax, and enjoy the performance. The laugh & learn silly sounds piano HAS silly sounds – so don’t be surprised if you hear duck and cow sounds intermingled with the piano when you attend your baby’s first soiree.
The folks from Fisher-Price have programmed a learning mode into this toy piano too – which introduces kids to different the sounds, tones and colors of music over the full octave range of this keyboard’s reach.
The 8 numbered keys on the laugh & learn toy piano activates lights, sounds, and songs. Switching between these sounds and songs are easily done by moving the slider – and it is big enough and light enough for tiny hands to operate.
The durable plastic casing of the piano – if we can call it that – has an easy-grab handle. This toy piano operates on the same power source as most toys worldwide: 2 AA batteries, which is supplied with your original purchase. So, provided you have batteries, this is the ideal piano for a road trip or a visit to grandma’s and a VERY easy instrument to commute around. It only weighs 1.45 pounds… so even a baby can carry it!
The multicolored notes are sure to draw attention from the inquisitive mind, and the clever way in which this piano is designed makes it ideal as an instrument to kick-start early music appreciation and creativity. At the price (it is retailing for just over 10 dollars on Amazon), it is a steal!
The Best piano for toddlers between 3 and 6 years old
Korg tiny piano
Our Rating: 5/5
The Korg tiny digital piano was built with the 3-6-year-old wunderkind in mind.
Featuring twenty-five built-in sounds and fifty demo songs, this tiny piano allows young kids to sample and learn different sounds and songs with ease. Because of its small size, it is easy to transport, and best of all, it will operate anywhere, because it is powered by AA batteries.
The built-in speakers negate the need for you to hook it up, so as far as toy pianos go, this really is a carry-along toy that will keep children busy for hours on end, without the need for additional speakers or accessories.
The Korg Tiny Piano is available in three colors – black, red and white.
It doesn’t require any assembly, and weighs only 10.36 lbs – so it’s easy to use, and easy to pick up and store away when the show is over.
The piano will operate continuously for up to 6 hours on the AA batteries supplied.
The sound quality is fantastic, and the pitch is accurate. Another thing that counts in its favor, is that it really resembles the look of an upright piano – so your child will feel like he or she is performing in Carnegie hall when they play on it.
This is a fantastic piano for your toddler, and an excellent first buy!
Best Choice Products Miniature mini baby grand piano
Our rating: 3.5/5
The Best choice mini grand piano for kids is exactly that – a grand piano designed for kids! The solid wood structure is finished to a high gloss, and you have a choice between buying one of three colors:
- Black: which accords with the world-standard of grand pianos, and looks closest to the real thing
- Pink: for that little Barbie-pianist in your house
- White: which looks really elegant. There is a small surcharge (two dollars or so) if you want this piano in white.
Once you have chosen a color and you have received your purchase, its time to follow the simple assembly process and place this grand piano in the new music room or play area. The fact that this really is a scaled piano, means that it LOOKS really good – so go ahead and place it somewhere where it will be the centerpiece of the room. It will give Liberace Jnr something to talk about when the family comes to visit – if you get what we’re saying. This little kiddies piano comes with all the accessories you’ll need – including a music stand and a matching piano stool.
The 30 keys have a nice action, and they’re very playable. This is the perfect instrument to stimulate initial music interest and development in toddlers – and at the price, it’s a steal!
The piano is quite small and measures 17” (L) x 20” (W) x 20” (H). The manufacturers recommend this piano for kids between the ages of 1-5 years, but in our view, this is the perfect piano for kids 3 years and older.
Melissa & Doug Learn-to-Play Classic Grand Piano
Our Rating: 4/5
For three decades, Melissa & Doug have created products that NBS News calls “The gold standard in early childhood play.” The Melissa & Doug Learn-to-Play Classic Grand Piano is a great example of their approach to childhood development, and its features and look attests to the amount of research and development they put into every new toy and instrument they put on the market.
Calling this piano for kids a toy would be an injustice though. Styled to resemble a classic grand piano and equipped with 30 hand-tuned keys makes this the ideal instrument for the young beginner. The keys are just the right size, and the piano is manufactured to be at the ideal height for young musicians between the ages of 3 and 6.
Safety was clearly a major concern in the design process – the hinged piano lid is sturdy and opens and closes effortlessly without undue weight or tension that could cause it to slam shut in-play. The non-tipping piano bench is made from high-quality wood, plastic, and metal – so it is sturdy and will support even the busiest child in front of the ivories.
Assembly is easy, and it seems like the workmanship is of superior quality. The manufacturers offer what they call a 100% happiness guarantee – if you’re not happy with the delivered product, phone them and they will replace/refund your purchase!
The best piano for kids between 6 and 12 years old
Pyle 49-key keyboard for kids
Our Rating: 5/5
This portable 49 key electronic musical karaoke keyboard is a strong competitor in the best keyboards for children category and our top pick. Its layout is fun, and it’s easy to master. The eye-catching drum pads, instrument, and song selectors and microphone add to the carnival atmosphere, and the one we’re reviewing is encased in bright pink that screams LOOK AT ME!
Pyle offers this same instrument in black too, if you are more conservative or buying for a smart kid who is all-business when it comes to the development of his talent. Which may be the case, as this is a smart keyboard that works with smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Connecting is easy, and the aux (3.5mm) jack and mic input allows you to just plug and play – be it a microphone for a karaoke party, or a device to stream audio with for the sing/play along.
This stunning little keyboard also comes with multiple pre-set keyboard sounds, tones, rhythm styles, and demos. The integrated drum pad is user-friendly, and creating a drumline for the world’s best new composition is not only easy but super fun! The keyboard comes packaged with the portable piano keyboard, a wired microphone, a USB charge power cable through which the 110/240V (DC 5V) power runs the keyboard, and an audio cable.
It’s clear that the folks from Pyle developed this kid keyboard with microphone with the “older” toddler in mind. By this age, they don’t only want to make noise – they want to make music. And while the addition of a microphone is great, you will know that making music requires a certain level of skill… and here, they have gone above and beyond. The Pyle 49 key keyboard for kids has a teaching function, that teaches kids to play with a key-lighting system. The action on these keys isn’t great, but the four-octave range kind of makes up for it, and you can expect quite a performance from this keyboard.
It weighs just 2.62 LBS, so it is a portable instrument that can travel along on holidays, or be stored away in a cupboard, effortlessly.
Retailing at ridiculously low prices coupled with the fact that you will never have to buy batteries for it makes this one of the best budget-friendly keyboards for kids.
Schoenhut My First Piano Tutor
Our Rating: 4/5
Schoenhut’s piano for kids has 61 keys, and is not that small at all! This piano is ideal for kids 6 years old and older and will serve as a great first piano. It should last them quite some time too, as the keys are full-sized – meaning they have the same size and spacing as a real upright piano. The keys are also velocity-sensitive, meaning that the amount of velocity a note is played at will determine the volume that it is played at.
So the keys are there, and they resemble that of a real piano. Why is this important? Well, if you are buying a piano for a child who is a young protégé, you’ll want to buy a piano that will resemble a real piano so that your young superstar can get a feel for transitional play while practicing proper finger placement.
The piano has a sustain pedal that will allow your kid to play legato sounds the way that Romantic composers such as Brahms intended it. How Else would he play the composer’s famous Lullaby to his smaller sister?
The sampling on this piano is phenomenal, and it emulates the sound of an acoustic piano accurately. The Schoenhut My first piano tutor also has other instrument-sounds available: The Electric piano, Harp and Organ.
As a piano, the shoe fits it well. But, this is more than a piano for kids. It is a smart instrument with full connectivity options – there is an audio jack and a USB port that allows it to interact with other apps.
Although this piano is a little more expensive than some of the others under review, we think it is well-priced. It is clearly a sturdy piano, that was made to last. The price also includes a piano bench, a microphone, a USB cord, various learning aids, and a music stand.
Alesis Melody 61 MKII
Our Rating: 4.5/5
The Alesis Melody 61 key keyboard piano is a great keyboard for kids who aren’t sure if they will eventually take to playing the piano. At the price, it is a cheap experiment and a whole lot of fun.
The Melody 61 MK11 comes with a bunch of accessories that include everything you need to get started on your musical journey – and they’re all included in the bundle when you make a purchase on Amazon. This includes a stand, a bench, headphones, a music rest and a power adapter. As if that’s not enough, they’ve thrown in a microphone that’s permanently attached to accommodate the amateur piano-vocalist too.
Although this is a keyboard for kids, a lot of adults have mentioned that they like playing on it on various review sites. Speaking of which, this keyboard has maintained a rating of higher than 4/5 on Amazon for some time, and there are hundreds of positive reviews there. Previous buyers are usually a good tool for measuring a product’s worth – and in this case, it seems like the little Alesis keyboard for kids provides plenty of worth!
The 61 keys on the keyboard are designed to be similar to a piano’s keys – and they action 300 built-in sounds with optional layering and split modes. There are 40 demo songs that demonstrate the keyboard’s abilities, in case you’re unsure which sound to pair with which song. These sounds replicate a whole lot of different pianos, strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, guitars, synths and many more – 300 to be exact. There are 300 pre-programmed beat banks to make accompaniment a breeze.
The Alesis Melody 61 also has a recording function – which is handy to have since it doesn’t have any connectivity options such as a USB port.
The fact that the stand and seat are adjustable, means that this is a great keyboard for kids who will grow and keep using it over the next few years.
For the price and all the hooh-haah, this is a must-have for the experimental kid who wants to practice piano and experiment with different sounds and backing beats. Someone needs to compose melodies for all the features that will still hit the silver screen – and it might just be your little superstar for all we know!
That concludes our review of the best pianos for children available today. There are many more options out there, and there are quite a few similar – and knock off – products out there. While they are probably worth a look-see, we advise you to keep our review in mind and to compare these pianos with the ones we reviewed.
While it probably isn’t fair to compare kids toy pianos manufactured for babies to pianos for children who are older, we did, and the Pyle 49-key keyboard for kids came out trumps. Its range of functions and its great price, coupled with the great reviews that mention its excellent build-quality and user-friendliness on Amazon makes this the ultimate must-have for kids of all ages.
If you do end up buying the Pyle 49-key keyboard for kids, we hope that your kid masters music so well that you soon hear the most astounding melodies being played on it. That you get to be the karaoke host, using its microphone. That the drumming pad instills a sense of rhythm in your young musician. That you use this keyboard as it was intended – to create musical moments of pleasure and to develop the talent that has always been in your kid.
If you end up buying an entirely different instrument, good on you. A review and buying guide is exactly that – a GUIDE. We hope that you found this article informative and that you will use this information to make a young musician’s birthday, Christmas or day special.
Happy buying, and happy playing. May the new instrument bring joy to your home! As the popular polish composer from the romantic era, Frederik Chopin, once said: “Bach is an astronomer, discovering the most marvelous stars. Beethoven challenges the universe. I only try to express the soul and the heart of man.”