Kids benefit in so many different ways when they learn an instrument. It can help foster confidence and even improve learning in other areas, like spatial reasoning. The piano is often a classic first instrument for kids because it’s relatively simple to pick up the basics and can provide a broad base for musical knowledge as kids age. But pianos are pricey — and take up a lot of space. Keyboards, which produce sound electronically, are generally less expensive and great for beginners.
Electronic keyboards offer another advantage for kids just starting out: They often have a headphone jack so only your budding little Mozart has to hear the sounds. Of course, you’ll want to hear them practice their scales (or newly written originals) some of the time. But headphones give the rare option for family peace as a new song is mastered or your toddler bangs out random notes. (Just make sure any volume is low enough to be safe for young ears.)
Oh, and did we mention the keyboards also take up less space — and can be more easily stored — than upright pianos? So if space is a concern, you can easily put it on a closet when your kid isn’t practicing. Plus, that portability will come in handy if your kiddo’s interest in the piano wanes and he decides she want to be the next Jimi Hendrix or Louis Armstrong instead.
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1. RockJam Teaching Piano Keyboard
With everything you need to get started, from piano to stool to stand, this set-up will have kids playing piano in no time. It even includes a 30-day free trial for an app that teaches basic piano as well as modern songs from BTS, Billie Eilish and more. If you have an iPad, it can easily sit on the stand as kids play and learn. They’ll also love the interactive touch screen that lets them try out different effects and instrumental sounds. Plus, it can record and play back songs — which can come in handy both for playing and practice.
2. Yamaha Psr-E263 Portable Keyboard
Many keyboards, like this entry-level portable keyboard from Yamaha, come with 61 keys, or 17 fewer than on a full-sized piano — but the full-size keys still allow your kiddo to develop proper playing technique. Plus, it features a variety of sounds and functions that will delight little learners. A 3-step lesson program is included, and there are 100 preset songs.
3. Casio Portable Keyboard
With only 32 mini keys, this Casio portable keyboard is a fun starter option for getting kids excited to play around with music. Your little one (and you!) can play around with the 50 different rhythms and beats. It’s also small enough for kids to tote around, making it a good playroom accessory, and boasts a retro green-and-black design.
4. Picasso Tiles Kid’s Roll-Up Electronic Piano
There’s so much to love about this unique keyboard — starting with the big, bright, colorful keys and the super-portable, easy-to-store silicone mat. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, this keyboard will delight your child, to be sure, but don’t be fooled: it’s designed with learning in mind. Kids can choose from eight different tones and six demo songs while learning how to play, and the unique format means you don’t have to worry about drops or stomps.
5. Best Choice Products Kids Electronic Musical Piano
Kid-friendly keyboards exist on a spectrum from adult-friendly instrument to something closer to a toy. (Looking at you, toddler “piano” with 12 keys.) This sits squarely in the middle: part prop for rock show imagination games, part instrument, the 37 keys allow kids to play real songs. There’s even a drum effect with the four drum buttons on the edge of the keyboard. Of course, kids might be too busy singing into the included mic to really spend too much time on songs, but it will still get them excited about an instrument and will be fun to play with before they’re old enough to start lessons.