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I work part time in a Preschool and one of my responsibilities is to take a lead in the musical activities offered to the children. The age range is 2 years to school entry, i.e. the September following the child's fourth birthday. The children's time is less structured than in school, especially for the youngest children, so 'activities' covers both those led by adults and those selected by the children themselves. Activities involving music are usually very popular and we have a range of instruments for the children to use. Some of these are 'proper' instruments, but often these are not suitable to be left out for unrestricted access. We do have some robustly made 'toy' instruments with brand names such as Fisher Price and Little Tikes and it's the Little Tikes Rhythm Maker Drum that I am reviewing today, with my 'Preschool hat' on, so my angle won't necessarily be the same as a parent's would, as the use of toys by up to 24 children in a session is rather different from use in a domestic setting.
A Bit of Background
Little Tikes is a brand that both families and carers/teachers will likely be familiar with. From climbing toys through kitchens to trendy coupé cars, their products have a good reputation as being sturdy and durable. They are also available from a range of retail outlets. The Little Tikes Company was founded in the U.S.A. in 1970 and still has its headquarters in Ohio, although these days it describes itself as a 'a multi-national manufacturer and marketer of high-quality, innovative children's products' which became part of MGA Entertainment in November 2006. Further information can be found on the U.K. website, www.littletikes.co.uk/
Our drums have colour variations from the dooyoo picture, probably reflecting their age. Some children's drums are flatter in shape and not very deep; these are deeper which seems to make them feel more solid and substantial. There are carrying handles on the sides to make it easy for children to play them on the move without the need for potentially hazardous cords or straps.
These are double sided, so there is a skin at the bottom as well as the top. The skins seem to be made of a thick, flexible plastic of some kind rather than a rubber or a thinner, papery type skin that you often find on children's drums - those are very disappointing when inevitable, they are broken by something! I am impressed that ours have withstood vigorous wear and tear for this length of time.
The body of the drum is made from a thick, slightly flexible plastic. I'm impressed with the way Little Tikes have managed to produce something that feels so solid yet is still light enough for a small child to carry with ease.
The drums each have two attached drumsticks. I think this is a great idea. It would be a nightmare if they were to go missing, and small children are so good at transporting items to unexpected locations and using them creatively! The strings that attach the sticks to the drums are of a sensible, well thought-out length - short enough to be safe but completely usable. Someone did their homework here! The drums have grooves at the sides for the sticks to fit into.
At Preschool we actually own two of these drums and although I can't remember when or how we acquired them, we have had them for over two years and I suspect that they were second hand then. I think they retail on Amazon for about £12-13 these days. That they have been accessible to the children for all that time says a lot about how well they are made, in my opinion. One is still complete; the other has needed a little tape applying to one of the drumsticks when it became separated from the drum but is fine otherwise and will last a little longer!
Children seem to enjoy using these drums. It's not unusual to see small groups experimenting with all the instruments on offer, making their own little band in a corner. Sometimes they use them as part of role play, for instance, if they are pretending to be soldiers or superheroes. And I am sure they find other ways to use them that I haven't spotted!
At this age more structured musical activities are at an elementary level. Sometimes we use the drums to accompany singing a particularly rhythmical song. We may ask children to imitate rhythms made on the drums, firstly by staff, then hopefully by the children themselves - this is where it's useful to have two identical ones. This is most appropriate for the older ones, say from about 3 ½ years upwards. Here I think the fact that these are so sturdily made can limit the ability to tap out a satisfactory rhythm and I can tell that the older children sometimes look a bit frustrated or lose interest. These children are probably ready for something with a more sensitive skin like the instruments that aren't made generally available. We also use the drums for general listening activities and for tapping out the rhythm of names and other significant words, i.e. to tap the correct number of syllables. I find the drums useful for this.
These are well made, solid drums that stand up to bad treatment! The children seem to find them attractive to experiment and play with. Slightly older children may need rather more challenging instruments in a structured activity, but for free play they are ideal for all children in our age group. Maybe I'm being a bit mean in marking it down as an instrument when it's a toy, but it has to be dual purpose in an educational establishment so it's four stars from me!
Thank you for reading my review. It is a revised version of one which previously appeared on Ciao.
©Verbena, September 2013
My sister has, since Christmas, been doing a clear out of toys which her children have grown out of. One such toy that she offered to my little girl, before it headed to a car boot sale was this Little Tikes Little Music Maker Drum, which my daughter seemed to instantly be drawn towards when my sister brought it to my house in a box with some other toys. I never asked my sister how much she paid for it, but it currently retails on amazon for over £20 which I think is far too expensive for this toy, and would be much better sourced second hand, as like all childrens toys it has a short lifespan.
My daughter who is a year and half loves all things music related, so I can understand why this appealed. She already has an ELC musical drum which makes noise when you tap the top, but this is an actual proper drum with drumsticks, which are attached to either side of the body of the drum. Like most Little Tikes toys, the colours used are bright and attractive, in this case, a red middle, with blue and yellow edging, and yellow drumsticks (mine is slightly different from the picture shown above).
There are two 'skins' on this drum, so it can be played on either side, like a big bass drum (only a lot smaller). The two drumsticks are attached on the middle of each side so they are equal distances from either skin of the drum. I do really like the fact that these drumsticks are attached as they would inevitably get mislead as they would carried around the house and set down elsewhere. My criticism of this product however is also related to the attachment of these drumsticks. The string that each drumstick is attached by is quite short, so it makes it quite difficult for a young child to be able to get hold of both drumsticks and play them at the same time. I know from a health and safety point of view this is probably to stop a child getting strangled by a long string, but I think it could have been a little bit longer, just to allow more free movement of the string and drumsticks. It definitely restricts the ability to play the drum, and I find my daughter, who I would say has good motor skills for her age, only tends to reach for one drumstick and when I try to encourage the other, when she can;t get it in place easily, with her free hand she gives up trying to use both, and goes back to using the single drumstick. Now, that doesn't hinder her enjoyment of it, but I think it is a slight design flaw.
THis is not an all singing, all dancing drum, and instead it is simply a basic drum with drumsticks and for this reason I think it is excessive to be charging over £20 for this product. I certainly wouldn't have paid that money for it, but since my daughter got it for free, I am happy with it, but I would also say, that it is a drum at the end of the day, and once it gets drummed for a while, it is set aside for other toys as its usage is limited, even for a child who likes music.
All in all, a good basic drum, not worth the money and in need of longer strings to allow more movement with the drumsticks by a child.
My daughter recieved this little tykes drum when she was about 2, she absolutely loved it, she played with it on and off for a good few years until it worked its way in to the attic. Then along came Jamie, he is now 2 and the drum has come down from the attic and believe me he has put it to the test. Ellie has taught Jamie to bash the beat of we will rock you in to the drum! They sing along while Jamie bangs his drum, and boy does he bang his drum!!! Jamie also like to stand on the top to reach things etc and it has stood up to this also!
The drum is luckily very sturdy, it is made from a very tough plastic, as are most little tykes toys. It has a strong plastic skin (I think that is what you call the banging part) this skin really has taken some beatings and has stood up to them without a trace of damage. I like that the drum sticks are on a string at either side of the drum, this is the only reason why the drum sticks are still around, I am sure they would have disappeared years ago if it was not for this! The string is long enough to reach the drum top and bottom (both sides can be hit) however it is not long enough that it can do any damage to a child, health and safety n all that. The drum also has a moulded area where the drum sticks easily clip in and out.
Both my kids have had so much fun out of this drum, they still are, I think it was well worth the money, I seem to think it was around £10 back when Ellie was little and is still around that price now.
Recommended for any budding drummer!
For my daughters birthday we brought her a little tikes music set and included in that set was this drum. It costs around £10 to purchase separately and is recommended for 2 years plus. I love little tikes with everyone of there toys we have they have been used with all 3 of children and are near invincible bounced of everything without even a scratch.
Our drum is a lovely bright colour red and yellow which caches little ones attention straight away. It is made of very robust plastic that is very high quality. At the top and bottom of the drum as it is double sided toy is the skin of it which is made up of a thinner plastic but at the same time can be hit without the worry of it being broken. It is very light which makes it easy for little ones to pick up and use either side. It does not need to be hit hard to produce a noise which is good as it does not frustrate the little ones.
The drum sticks are also made of strong plastic and are of a good size so that even younger children can get a good grip.They are attached by pieces of string that are just the right size for little one to play and bang as much as they like even in awkward positions. Even so at the same time they are not long enough to cause any trouble by being tangled around little one or being swung around the room as my children have tried a few times to knock my TV over. There are two small grooves either side which the drumsticks can be stored in when not being used so that they are not swinging round everywhere.
My only down side is the holders for the drum sticks can be a little hard for my little ones to get them to sit properly.
Overall I think it is a nice little toy all 3 of my children ages 1, 2 and 3 use it and enjoy it. As with all little tikes toys it is very well made and has been very well loved by my children and visitors. I brought mine as part of a set for £15 and looking around it looks like this may be the only way to now purchase this drum.
To look at this drum is quite ugly.Before I had kids and even when my adorable bundle was 4 months it was my worst nightmare to have to have ugly plastic primary colour toys lying in full view around my house. I made sure all her toys where beautiful looking and not made of plastic in ghastly red, blue ,yellow and green. Yuk!! That was until she recieved her first nightmare toy from a relative. It was so fun and I could see how she benefitted from it and soon I mellowed a bit.Oh what motherhood does to you. However I am not under 1 years old and recieving fun exciting gifts, so I can't write from a babies point of view.
For Christmas she recieved this drum as a gift .She was never too interested in musical instruments , but I feel it is a wonderful thing for a child to be around so I was happy she got this to enourage her, and bring out her creative side. It dosn't seem like she has one though. She will play with it for a few minutes then get bored and play with something more interesting. To be fair she was 1 years old when she got it and the box does say from 2 years plus, so hopefully she will grow into it.
The drum itself is made of strong thick sturdy plastic in a traditional marching band style. The main body is made of navy blue with a little tikes label on both sides. There a 6 sticks around the edge that hold some red plastic that holds in the drum skin which is made of equally strong but thinner plastic. The plasic that holds the skin also has two clips. These hold the drum sticks. The drumsticks are made again of yellow plastic. They have a big ball on the end to stop your child from poking their eyes out or some other grusome misdemeanour.
The sticks are attached to the drum body by two lenghts of white string, wich means they can't be lost. Cleverlly the strings are very short which makes it difficult not only to play, but for your child to go around smashing TVs.
The sound it makes isn't too exciting just a dull thud. So it is probably best for an older child for role play rather than introducing a young baby to creative new sounds.
My baby has not found her creative side and is extremely logical. So she uses her drum for other useful things such as using it as a step. Last time she was weighed a month ago she was 19Kg and much to my surprise she stands on it everyday to look out of the window. This shows how well it is designed , and made from very durable materials.
I have always noticed Little Tike toys last forever so thought to check that they didn't make any musical instruments before I bought them by any other brand. They did and this drum says it's for 2 years+ but I have given it to my 11 month old son and even though I don't think he gets it yet but still likes it a lot.
This is a two sided drum with 2 plastic drumsticks that are attached to the drum by a piece of string each side and can be placed on to the side of the drum by clicking them into place when you put the toy away.
Because it has a plastic drum membrane on both sides it doesn't matter what way round they have it and it is very light considering it looks so strong and looking at it you would think it would be heavy. It's also great that the sticks don't get lost because they are attached its so annoying when different parts to a toy go missing.
I feel it is a great musical instrument to add to his collection and I like the fact they can make there own noise through this toy and doesn't have any music tune that can become irritating.
If I did have one criticism it would only be the drumsticks that click on to the side don't clip on very well but that has no effect on the child's enjoyment so it doesn't really matter and we never use them anyway.
After the huge success of our Little Tikes rocker, have been on the lookout for other second hand Little Tikes toys. The main stand out feature of this brand is that the toys are very well made and incredibly durable. They seem to produce a range of products that are pretty much indestructable and will just last and last whatever your little ones do to them.
My two girls love their musical instruments, they have a basket full of them and I would say that they get them out every couple of days and I am treated to a performance. Until recently, they didn't have a drum so when I popped to a local NCT sale and spotted this, I ensured that I bought it straight away.
I believe I paided a very reasonable £1 for this, which is a remarkable price for such a quality toy. I believe the price for a new one is approx £10. I would keep your eyes open for a second hand one as there is no way that this toy can really be damaged so you wouldn't really gain anything by buying it brand new.
This toy is basically a drum made from a very robust plastic, it is brightly coloured. The one we have is purple and orange but I believe newer versions may be red and blue. The drum has two drum sticks which are attached to the sides of the drum with a cord which is long enough for the instrument to be played properly but not so long that is could be wrapped around a neck. This is great as it means that drumsticks never get lost which could be really frustrating for a child who desperately wants to drum.
When I bought this for my girls, they were delighted, they immediately requested that I put some music on and straight away, they got banging. Although I was kind of dreading the level of noise this toy would create, I was actually pleasantly suprised, it was loud enough to be satisfying to my girls but not so loud that it completely took over or gave me a headache.
Overall, this is a great toy, which is incredibly durable and provides fun for all from the littlies to the bigger one.
Noisy little thing!! Thats the first thought that comes into my head!
My son was bought this when he turned 3. Oh the joys!
A brightly coloured, very hard wearing (the way children bang these things with ANYTHING they get there hands on, never mind the stick they already come with) noise making instrument!
All joking aside, Little Tikes are renowned for making toys that are long lasting and that provide a lot of fun for little mischeif makers like mine.
If I ever have a choice of two similar items for children but one is made by little tikes, I always opt for the Little Tikes. Their standards are second to none and this little drum is no exception.
My eldest daughter has put this through rigerous tests, including throwing it against a brick wall in a tantrum, hurling it down at a path, jumping on it and using it as though it were a stepping stone, believe me its been through the mill, and 18 months later, its still going strong, apart from the odd scuff and scrape.
When the children do use it properly, with its own sticks, it sounds toy like and loud but its good practise it you want to teach your child to keep in time or tap away with your fingers for quiet rhythym to a nursery rhyme or something. My son loved it at 3, and his older sister still loves it now, and shes 9!
This is a toy we bought second hand I think maybe those parents were trying to protect their ear drums so sold it at a car boot.
Who is it for- Though the manufacturers say from 2 years my 16 month old son loves playing with it and I can't see any problems with him using it to be honest even though he is younger.
What it is- Its a very sturdy plastic drum the two beaters are attached by cord to the drum and can clip on to the side of the drum when not in use so they don't get lost. It is very robust and has coped well with my son knocking it sitting on it with no damage to it at all
My son seems to enjoy playing with it and often beats a tune along to music we listen to and I am hoping it encourages his to play and like music hence why we bought it.
What I would of like to see on this drum is a way for the child to wear it but I am guessing the reason it isn't on the drum is for health and safety reason
Where can you get it- if unlike me you don't find it at a car boot it is currently on offer at Amazon for £11.99
I do think it is value for money and I am guessing if you are looking at buying a drum you don't mind the loud noise it will inevitably make
This robust, brightly coloured drum comes complete with 2 attached drumsticks.