Not so silent nights
It’s common to hear parents moaning that, once the presents have been ripped open on Christmas day, the children are more interested in playing with the packaging than the toys contained within it.
It’s easy to see why: paper makes a nice noise when it’s scrunched or ripped up; boxes can be turned into drum kits; and the thrill of popping a sheet of bubble wrap never really goes away.
Here’s a thought, though: if you buy musical presents that are more interesting than their wrapping, kids will reject the rubbish in favour of the gifts.
We’ve gathered together some of the best musical Christmas gifts for kids in 2012, so your little terrors can beat, bash, shake, strum and blow their way through the holidays without harming anything other than your ears and sanity.
NEXT: Infant 3-piece drum kit
Junior 5-piece drum kit
OK, you’ll probably regret this by Boxing Day and then for the rest of your life, but we can’t think of many little drummer boys and girls who wouldn’t love to tear the wrapping off this diminutive 5-piece kit.
Considering what you get, it's pretty affordable, though you should probably factor in the cost of earplugs for the rest of your family and nearest neighbours, too.
BUY Junior 5-piece drum kit currently available from:
Tiny Tutors: Oca Oca Oca Ocarina
It was popularised by The Legend of Zelda and there’s also an iOS version, but now you and your kin can play the ocarina for real with this pocket-sized instrument.
Also included in the Oca Oca Oca Ocarina package are a how to play book and fingering chart, both of which should help to transform random blowing into a more musical kind of noise.
Yes, you can get several music making apps that are designed specifically for ‘younglings’, but in our experience, Propellerhead’s Figure app will keep them entertained for far longer.
The only downside is that you may quickly come to the depressing conclusion that their Figure-made beats are just as good as yours. Oh, and they might break your phone.
Boomwhackers tuned percussion tubes
Kids love hitting things with other things, so these tuned tubes - they make a noise then they’re whacked against something else, with harder surfaces producing a brighter tone - seem like a great idea.
This pack includes a C Major Diatonic set plus a holder, mallets, songbook, octavator and instructions. You’ll just have to be careful to ensure that what begins as a jam session doesn’t descend into an orgy of percussive violence.
SpongeBob Squarepants mini bongos
As some of you will know, old SpongeBob isn’t shy about putting his face on an affordable musical instrument. As you can see, he’s all over this bongo set which features 13cm and 11cm drums.
There’s not much more to say… other than that the marketing blurb assures us that we shouldn’t “be fooled by the cartoon graphics - these are real bongos”.
BUY SpongeBob Squarepants mini bongos currently available from:
Meinl NINO526 Shake 'n' Play game
A sound-based take on the classic Pairs game: pick up a shaker, listen to how it sounds and then try and find one that sounds the same. If you can’t, you need to remember where it’s positioned so that you can try and find its pair later on.
Now all we need is a note-based version so that you can work out if your offspring has perfect pitch.
Meinl NINOSET100 Botany Shakers Fruit Assortment
You’ve probably spent years trying to teach your children not to play with their food, but now it’s time to undo all of that good work by buying them a 4-piece set of fruit that they can shake and hit to produce a variety of different sounds.
If you’ve got a ‘chewer’ on your hands, you’ll be pleased to know that the fruit has been tested for “saliva resistance”.