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11 Musical Toys

  • He's begging for a guitar, but you doubt he'll appreciate or take care of the pricey real thing. Schylling's mini -- acoustic Cowboy Guitar has a retro look -- and a beginner's price. ($24.99; amazon.com)

  • Each piece of track triggers a different note on the Melody Express Musical Train. Switch the pieces around for a new tune every time. ($40; learningresources.com)

  • Hang this light-up mini-keyboard in the crib, or take it with you -- Crib Tunes Puppy & Friends fits in a diaper bag. She can play the soft keys with her fingers...or her feet! ($34.99; infantino.com)

  • He'll bang, pat, and tap away on the sturdy Musical Band ($55), an eco-friendly drum set made of rubberwood for the youngest musicians. Little bandmates can play backup with the Percussion Set ($40). Each wooden disc is easy to grab and makes a different noise. Both sets are from Plan Toys and available at oompatoys.com.

  • Do-Re-Mi Musical Blocks one-up a xylophone with their clever design: Each has a key on top and music-themed pictures on four sides. They come with a no-fail, color-coded songbook. ($24.95; onestepahead.com)

  • What a catch! Melissa and Doug's High Sea Symphony is a sweet set. It comes with a sea-horse shaker, octopus tambourine, crab bell, and (our fave) clam clackers. ($29.99; amazon.com)

  • Stumped for a gift for a musical kid who has everything? The 8-Note Musical Hand Bell Set rings clear and beautiful. And each is color-coded, so it's a cinch to follow the included songbook. ($39.99; amazon.com)

  • Forget the space-eating (nerve-shattering) drum set. Instead, give him Blue Box MiJam Air Sticks. He can practice drumrolls with five different real drum sounds and six background beats. ($25; toysrus.com)

  • Kids can use the Crammer to download music, sure...but also 16,000 math, science, and social studies questions in the form of games played to those favorite tunes. There's hope yet. ($59.99; leapfrog.com)

  • Who's got a Hannah fan at home? We all do, so here's something they'll flip over. Lilly and Oliver call out the steps in Twister Moves, and the fun is set to songs sung by Miley herself. ($29.99; hasbro.com)

  • This music man is more than just cute. Though he does play 16 songs (and dance irresistibly), the Fisher-Price Learning DJ also teaches numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. And your little showstopper will love singing along into the microphone. ($30; amazon.com or target.com)

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