33 Best Xylophone For Kids (Toddlers And All Ages)

best xylophone for kids

Xylophones are one of the best instruments for exploring pitch and melody with kids from ages 0 to 100! 

But there are a lot of junky ones out there. 

I’d know; I once spent all of my yearly budgets on a bunch of garbage xylophones because they were cheaper than the nice ones. 

Since then, I’ve always made sure to help other music teachers and parents find the best xylophones for kids of all ages. 

I scoured through hundreds of options to narrow it down to 33 for you to check out, sorted by age level. 

Don’t worry; if you don’t want to look at them all, I picked my favorite from each group and put it on the table in the next section. 

Best Xylophones In Our Article

If you don’t want to read through the entire article, I’ll help you cut to the choice. 

Here are the top four options for each age level in one handy chart. 

Click the picture or the link for more details on Amazon. 

NamePictureBest For Ages:
Xylophone And Hammer SorterBabies
Caterpillar Xylophone Toy1-year-old
Mini Artis XylophoneToddler
Sonor Rosewood Alto XylophoneElementary/Beginner

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7 Best Toy Xylophones For Babies

First up are the xylophones for babies and infants. 

At this age level, we don’t need to be too picky. 

There are really only three things I watch out for: 

  1. Does it sound good?
  2. Is it easy for them to hold and play?
  3. Is it safe to be sucked on?

We all know how babies explore with their mouths, so this last one is extra important for safety. 

With xylophones at this age, we are really only interested in having them explore the sounds, so if it comes with other activities, that’s just fine. 

Top Choice: Xylophone and Hammer Sorter


  • Sounds pretty good and in tune
  • Affordable
  • Safe for mouths (Child-safe all around)
  • Comes with a sorting activity


  • Not a true xylophone (but it gets the job done)

I like this xylophone and hammer sorter for babies as my top choice for xylophone for babies. 

It’s a really xylophone and has a good tone. 

Better yet: it’s actually on pitch. 

It also comes with a hammer and sorting activity, so it’ll grow with them as they get older. 

You get a fair amount of bang for your buck with this toy option. 

Some may argue it’s not actually a xylophone since the bars are made of a metal-like material, but with this young age, odds are the instrument will go in their mouth. 

You don’t want them to get a splinter or anything! 

This makes an excellent gift! 

Music Instruments Mega-Pack


  • Affordable
  • Many different instruments for babies and toddlers
  • The tone is pretty good


  • Some instruments aren’t appropriate for babies
  • The tone on all the instruments isn’t great

Wooden Pounding Bench With Activities


  • Really adorable
  • Built well
  • Lots of activities with this toy


  • Doesn’t sound great

Hammer Xylophone Toy


  • Large objects to grab are great for babies’ gross motor skills
  • Colorful
  • Sounds fine


  • Only six notes
  • Not well in tune

Hape Pound, Tap, And Shake!


  • Great sound
  • Multiple quality instruments
  • Great for exploring sound


  • Costs more

Xylophone Baby Toy


  • Colorful and fun
  • A couple of different activities
  • Affordable


  • Only six notes
  • Not well in tune

Fisher-Price Xylophone


  • Classic look
  • Sounds fine
  • Very durable


  • Small beater is hard for some babies to handle

Further Reading: Xylophone lesson plans for schools

7 Best Xylophones For 1-Year-Old

One-year-olds aren’t much better than babies, but they are able to do a little more. 

Here I look for much of the same elements as before, but now I want it to be even more in tune. 

I want the kids to be able to hear a scale motion. 

Quality of sound is important too. 

Basically, a nicer xylophone is the order of the day. 

Note: Real xylophone needs wood bars to play on. Some of these are glockenspiels with metal bars, but the effect is similar. 

Top Choice: Melissa & Doug Caterpillar Xylophone Toy


  • Sounds great
  • Super cute
  • Affordable and durable
  • Well in tune
  • It comes with a song card


  • Only a simple xylophone

I could have easily picked some other product for this list because there are some surprisingly expensive options on there, but I wanted to balance price with quality. 

This Caterpillar xylophone checks off every box for what I look for in a xylophone toy at this age. 

It has a good sound, it’s durable, and it’s in tune. 

On top of all this, it looks adorable. 

Babies may have a hard time with the small handle, but 1-year-olds need this practice for fine motor control. 

Toddlers will appreciate this option too. 

It may “only” have a xylophone and not all the other activities, but it does the job really well. 

It makes a great gift for kids.

Pound And Tap Bench Wooden Toy


  • Several things to do
  • Xylophone is in tune
  • Different types of beaters for different motor skills development


  • Not a strong tone to the xylophone

Skip Hop Xylophone Toy


  • Looks adorable
  • Very durable
  • Sounds pretty good


  • More for babies (which 1-year-olds kind of are)

2 in 1 Xylophone-Piano


  • Has both xylophone and piano parts
  • Numbered for better reading
  • Unique color palette 


  • Piano parts break down overuse

Sorter Xylophone


  • Contains many activities
  • Grows with the child into toddler years
  • Good tone to the xylophone


  • Wheels tend to fall off

Musical Chicken Toy


  • Cute chicken look
  • Fun to play with


  • Costs more
  • Only 5 notes

Percussion Instruments Set (Includes Xylophone)


  • It comes with a lot of instruments to play
  • Cute lion theme for all style
  • Comes with a bag


  • Lots of parts to lose
  • Some break easily

7 Best Xylophones For Toddlers (3-Year-Old; Preschool)

With toddlers and a little older, especially the preschool age, I start to get really specific about the xylophones I give to those kids. 

Here are some of the elements I look for: 

  1. At least one octave (8 notes)
  2. Every note is in tune and on pitch
  3. Good sound
  4. Well-labeled bars
  5. Songs coming with it are a bonus
  6. Color coding makes playing easier (and good for color recognition)

If I may also offer a suggestion with this age group…

We want to make sure at this age we teach appropriate instrument use. 

Playing instruments is fun, but they need to be treated carefully and with respect. 

Make sure they don’t just pound on them willy-nilly. 

Top Choice: Mini Artis Colorful Xylophone


  • Sounds great and plays in tune
  • Comes with a songbook
  • Durable 
  • It’s a real instrument!


  • Not too attractive to look at

This is the hands-down best xylophone for toddlers and preschool kids.

This Mini Artis product sounds great, plays well in tune, and lasts up to a beating. 

It also comes with a songbook to help aspiring kids start to figure out songs (or you can help them along). 

It may not look like a toy…because it’s not. 

This xylophone qualifies as a real instrument, in my opinion (although it’s more a glockenspiel than a true xylophone, which has wood bars). 

Wooden Xylophone For Kids


  • Looks very cute
  • It comes with a few song music cards
  • Colored metal and coordinated pitches with the music
  • Sounds nice


  • May not come in the actual pitches (C = Ab, for example)

Xylophone/Glockenspiel For Kids


  • Nice sound
  • It comes with 23 songs
  • Well in tune


  • Printed notes are small

Hape Mini Band


  • Comes with many sounds
  • Good sounds for all instruments
  • Fairly durable


  • Not a full octave
  • Higher price

Melissa And Doug Band In A Box


  • 7-piece musical instrument band
  • Fun for exploring
  • Simple yet durable design


  • Xylophone bars may not work well if pulled on too much

13-Note Glockenspiel


  • Great sound and perfect tuning
  • Features 13 notes (octave plus a fifth)
  • Comes with songs to play


  • Not for young toddlers (preschool age)

Wooden Xylophone Toy


  • Very affordable
  • Clear sound
  • Bright colors


  • Not always in tune

5 Best Xylophone For Beginners (Elementary)

Since I’m an elementary music teacher, I have a lot of opinions about what to buy for this age group and also beginners (such as those who plan on playing in band). 

These xylophones need all of the good things from the previous age group in terms of tone and tuning, but they also need the following: 

  1. Able to handle a lot of playing
  2. Two octaves or more
  3. Accidentals added
  4. Amazing sound
  5. Bigger size

Here we get more choices in terms of Orff xylophones, which usually feature diatonic scales or unaltered pitches, and their sizes from soprano (smaller) to bass (lower and bigger). 

Otherwise, we need small xylophones or glockenspiels with the full scale (all chromatic notes). 

This will prepare kids for reading more notes in a band or other groups. 

We want to get to a traditional xylophone as much as possible.  

Top Choice: Sonor Rosewood Alto Xylophone


  • Great sound quality; perfectly in tune
  • Durable materials and design
  • Octave and a sixth range
  • Printed notes on the bars


  • Higher price

It doesn’t get much better than Sonor for xylophones for kids. 

This alto xylophone has a sweet sound and is perfectly in tune. 

It’s also durable and has an octave and a sixth of pitches. 

The wider range makes a big difference. 

It even has commonly altered pitches (Bb and F#). 

Sonor’s xylophone is durable yet more affordable than the sweet-sounding bass xylophone (also featured on this list). 

If you’re going to spend money on a nice xylophone for your classroom or elementary student at home, this is the best option. 

Plus, the notes are printed in staff notation on each bar! 

Studio 49 Fiberglass Alto Xylophone


  • Pleasant sound and in tune
  • Pretty durable
  • Octave and a fifth range
  • More affordable than Sonor


  • Wooden base is cheaper and may crack, resulting in buzzing over time

32 Note Xylophone


  • Perfect xylophone for beginners in band
  • Good lead-in for professional xylophones
  • Sits at standing up waist-height
  • Over two octaves


  • Sound is a little plunky

Sonor Bass Xylophone


  • Great, deep sound
  • Well in tune 
  • Octave and sixth wide range of notes


  • Big size
  • Higher price

Foldable Glockenspiel


  • Sounds great
  • Easy to transport
  • Good for beginning and percussionists
  • Affordable


  • Not actually a xylophone

Other Good Xylophones To Check Out

Not every xylophone made the master list, but here are a few more to check out if you want to:

Commonly Asked Questions

Is Xylophone Good For Kids?

Learning the xylophone is great for kids of all ages. It builds awareness of pitch, allows kids to get creative, and develops hand-eye coordination, which leads to quicker brain development (not to mention musical development). From baby to adulthood, xylophones are fun and helpful. 

Is Learning Xylophone Easy?

Learning xylophone is easy, though it takes some preparation to figure it out. Getting a xylophone with printed labels will be helpful, as will getting color-coordinated bars for playing. Otherwise, there are a number of fun play-along videos to check out. 

Can A One-Year-Old Actually Play A Xylophone?

In general, a one-year-old won’t play a xylophone to make songs, but they will explore the sounds and have a great time! True playing doesn’t come until preschool age usually. 

How Many Keys Should A Xylophone Have?

With the youngest kids, xylophones only need to play in one key, usually C major. In elementary, they only need to play in C, F, and G for the most part. After elementary, they need to have all the pitches to play in all keys. 

Is A Xylophone Like A Piano?

A xylophone functions like a piano in terms of keys on a piano is like the bars of a xylophone. When playing all pitches (including altered notes), xylophones are set up similar to piano. Unaltered notes are all in a row; altered notes (like black keys) are above the main notes in groups of twos and threes. 

What Do You Hit A Xylophone With?

When it comes to hitting a xylophone, you need to use mallets. Mallets are typically made of either rubber or yarn-wrapped rubber. Toddler and baby xylophones will usually have a wooden mallet or plastic mallets.  

Zach VanderGraaff

Zach VanderGraaff is a K-5 music teacher in Michigan with 12 years of experience. He's the President of the Michigan Kodaly Educators and founder of the Dynamic Music Room.

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