Some of my friends have musical toddlers and have been wondering where to find inexpensive, but good quality musical instruments. I'm going to suggest Palumba.
Rhythm instruments are great for early musical development. They don't require a lot of coordination. Kids don't need lessons because rhythm is instinctual. And, rhythm provides a foundation for future mathematical learning, too.
Toddler music classes often combine rhythm and movement with learning songs.
Djembe Drums ($19.99 and $39.99)
Linnea got to try out the Maple Tone Block ($8.99).
The tone block can be played either by striking it with the mallet (fun!) or by rubbing the mallet along the side like a guiro. It has a very pleasant tone, not too loud. Put on some music, grab some wooden spoons or rhythm sticks ($5.99) and have a musical parade.
Some pictures (Linnea grabbed a mallet from another toy, the Palumba mallet is smoother and has more pleasing proportions. Linnea didn't seem to care.
You can also tap out a rhythm while you talk.
dum da da dum dum dum dum... Linnea went to the store... Linnea asked for a cat... Linnea said, "that's my cat"... the cat grew real big... the cat wanted to fly... dum da da dum dum dum dum... Linnea went for a ride... She went to the moon...
My kids love that game. They make do this while I'm driving. I get silly, and they listen to every word, and I can drive without distractions.
For more ideas about music with children, check out Music Together.