Clang, bang, tweet, toot!
Musical toys make great gifts for kids whose parents you secretly want to torture.
(Getty Images)
The primary school percussion band was the highlight of my career playing a musical instrument. Oh the glory of being voted good enough to play a xylophone, not just a poxy tambourine or – oh the shame - a triangle.

But what I really craved was a toy my sister had, which was a combination of a recorder and a piano, as I remember it. It made an ear-piercing, blaring sound that could be heard from a block away. How I wanted to have a go at that thing – and she never would let me, probably because she knew I would deafen Greater Johannesburg if I did.

The same sister once gave my firstborn a gift similar to the Barney Musical Schoolbus, which made it easy for a toddler to make relentlessly cheerful tunes with a press of a button. Until that day, I had never realised how much she hated me… Only kidding of course, the little guy loved that toy until it accidentally got buried in the garden.

Jokes aside, musical toys or easy instruments are a good option for that kid who loves bopping to the radio, or knows all Michael Jackson’s songs by the age of 2.

Toddlers seem endlessly fascinated by their own power to make the same music twice, thrice or 150 times in a row, for example by turning a knob to play a tune on this Musical Play Centre.

Be the favourite aunty or uncle to the latest baby in the family with a more gentle musical chiming toy like the rattles that make up this soft Miffy-Mini-Music set.

And for slightly older kids who want to express their musicality, what could be more fun (and potentially damaging to neighbourhood relations) than a High School Musical Play-along Trombone Pack? Comes in saxophone too.

Does your child enjoy music and noise? Which are his or her favourite noise-makers?

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