BABIES AND TODDLERS
I was pretty excited to find this new line of Green Tones instruments made by Hohner. They are all made in India from sustainable rubberwood, and there is a great selection of drums, shakers, glockenspiels and more.
I'm happy to say that these beautiful instruments are all MADE IN THE USA! Better yet, they are made of sustainable, North American hardwoods. Zither Heaven has an unbelievable selection of all kinds of stringed instruments - banjos, ukeleles, mandolins, harps, psalteries and "Rock It Sticks" (a cross between a dulcimer and a guitar). They also carry thumb pianos, as well as all the accessories you would need from stands to strings to sheet music for children. Given the materials and craftsmanship, everything is exceptionally priced and when you purchase directly through the website, there is an additional 12% discount when you use the code "Everyday12" at checkout.
Jamtown's instruments are authentic and all fair trade - you can read about the company's practices for acquiring products here. Their selection of handcrafted, indigenous instruments include drums, shakers, flutes and much more. They even have "Rhythm Paks" available that contain a combination of instruments.
Everyone's Drumming makes all kinds of drums like djembes, ashikos, talking drums and more. Their drums are MADE IN THE USA in Putney, Vermont. Their selection of children's percussion instruments includes some of their own drums like the mini djembe and the mini ashiko, as well as a number of other instruments imported from all over. They also carry many adult sized drums.
Down to Earth Toys not only carries many of the brands featured above like Zither Heaven and Jamtown, but they also have a few unique items like the adorable beehive drum pictured above. All of their offerings including the toys and other products on the rest of the site are either made in the USA or fair trade.
We were gifted some Playme Pat Bells when my daughter was a year old. They are incredibly sturdy and the sound is wonderful. What I love most is that they really grow with the child. At a year old she could bang on them, and as she grows there are song cards that are color coded. They are often on sale for a deep discount on places like Zulily. I have also heard the xylophone in person, and it has a beautiful tone. This is a xylophone for people who want one that plays music. For those who may not know, the difference between a xylophone and a glockenspiel is that the xylophones are made of wood and the glockenspiels are made of metal. These will last years and years and are well worth every penny.
Here are a few great random instruments I wanted to share. We own the glockenspiel and it is durable, affordable and produces reasonable sound for the money. It has held up for years since purchasing it for our daughter's first birthday. Pictured left to right are:
- Rainbow Glockenspiel from Poland at Nova Natural
- Handcarved Owl Gourd Shaker from Peru at A Toy Garden - they also have many other wonderful instruments, including a cute owl gourd drum
- Mini Maracas from France at Zoe B Organic - these are made of sustainably harvested wood and lacquered with natural vegetable dyes
Finally, I would be remiss not to include these exquisite instruments from Sweden. Auris handcrafted lyres, glockenspiels, xylophones and marimbas are some of the highest quality you can find. They come in diatonic and pentatonic variations, and you can find a few at Bella Luna Toys, Nova Natural and A Toy Garden. In Australia, Honeybee Toys has an excellent selection - the largest I've seen anywhere.