Guest blog: How music & musical toys can help a child’s development

By: | Date: 8/10/2012

It is widely thought that creative play can help a child’s development, but did you know that the opportunity to play with musical toys before they can even walk or talk can help benefit the developmental growth of your child?

Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, have recently published a study into whether introducing musical toys to children at the very youngest age can begin to have a significant impact on their development.

In fact, it was found that one-year old babies who interact with musical activities smile more, communicate better and show a far more developed brain. Laurel Taylor of the University says:

“Many past studies of musical training have focused on older children. Our results suggest that the infant brain might be particularly plastic in regards to musical exposure.”

The study, which received funding from the Grammy Foundation, grouped babies and their  parents, where they spent six months participation in one of two types of weekly music play.

The study showed that infants who had participated in musical classes had shown sensitivity to difference in music.  Even the infants’ brains responded differently, with their brainwaves showing a more developed and larger response to musical tones than infants who had not been engaged in music-based play.

The progress t didn’t stop there however as it was shown that children were able to communicate better on a daily basis; examples of increased development included the ability to point at objects which were out of reach. Study coordinator, Anrea Unrau said:

“There are many ways that parents can connect with their babies. The great thing about music is, everyone loves it and everyone can learn simple interactive musical games together.”

What can you do to help your child’s musical development?

Children playing with musical instruments

Not everyone has access to a university research study to keep their baby developing in line with the findings from this study, but there are ways in which you can contribute to their sensory development! We are very passionate about encouraging child development with our toys at and regularly recommend our range of musical toys to parents as way of getting children involved with music at an early age. Here are a few facts about using music can help aid your child’s development:


  • Research shows that young children respond to the rhythm and tempo of music and actually find it more engaging than speech itself. Findings by the University of York showed that: “The better the children were able to synchronise their movements with the music, the more they smiled. It remains to be understood why humans have developed this particular predisposition.”
  • Wooden toy instruments represent an introduction to the feel and form of a real musical instrument. The chunky aesthetic and bright colours soon become familiar to a child and provide a natural stepping stone towards a real interest in making or performing music as they grow up.
  • Time in the car for example can provide a great  opportunity to sing along and enjoy music of great variety with your child. Lisa Huisman Koops from Case Western University says that: “Even if mum or dad sings out of key, it’s okay. Children learn that they do not have to be perfect or polished to enjoy singing or playing an instrument.”
  • Wooden musical toys can offer you and your child a wonderful experience to bond. Get involved by playing an instrument (or singing!) alongside your child.  Something as simple as a drum beat or even the triangle will help your child’s co-ordination and rhythm as they play along.
  • A xylophone for example, can teach a child (and sometimes the parent as well, no doubt) about different tones and pitches of the instrument; stimulating their mind on a completely different level to an ordinary toy as they learn the different notes of each key.

The advantages and benefits of teaching your child some sort of musical instrument suggest that it not only reaps benefits during their early development but as they grow older..

In fact, in later life, studies from the National Association for Music Education have shown that students of arts are generally more creative, appreciative of other cultures as well as providing a social experience with like-minded and appreciative people!

Wooden toyshop website

Jon Grocott is the co-founder of, one of the UK’s premier online retailers of traditional and contemporary wooden toys. Founded in 2010, is passionately devoted to the kind of imaginative play that is timeless even in our increasingly electronic age. Under Jon and his business partner’s creative control, the business has become a haven for those who love in tactile, well-crafted and environmentally responsible toys and has maintained a commitment to retailing those toys that aid child development and education as well as bringing plenty of fun to the table.  

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