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FEATURE


Musical Toys


Take C


hildren love to dance, so toys that allow them to play with sound and music are one of the fi rst


steps to introducing kids to both rhythm and tunes. According to NPD data, the category was worth £70million, for both pre-school and older kids, at retail in 2011. But what does a musical toy provide


for a child and are they an integral part of a child’s development? With the sector including instrumental toys such as the recorder and xylophone, through to the more


Encourage Mini Rockstars CHICCO


01623 750 870 www.chicco.co.uk


Popular toys from the 2012 Chicco toy range are both the Baby Star Guitar and Baby Star Piano which allow toddlers to practice at being budding musicians. Suitable for children


aged from 12 months, the guitar is electric with three user modes and three music genres from rock to reggae to please even the fussiest of musical tastes. The colourful guitar features 15 short themes and 15 pre-recorded tunes across all three genres and a special orchestra mode so that children can add or remove specifi c instruments to discover what they like best and to encourage their musical development. Children are also encouraged to be creative with a mixer function that incorporates


percussions, vibration and acceleration of the rhythms to personalise their own pre- recorded tunes. For budding Mozart’s the Baby Star Piano features an integrated luminous


microphone and four diff erent mixer functions including a drum button, a roller with light and sound, and a joystick with entertaining sounds and a plate for scratch eff ects. It also includes three play modes with musical scales to practice composing music,


nine pre-recorded tunes and a special orchestra mode where children can switch from piano mode to another four musical instruments.


Note Note


Team TnP speaks to some musical toy experts who are all singing from the same song sheet


technological music toys, Artsana UK, the company behind the famous brand Chicco believe there will always be a place within the industry for simple traditional musical toys. Giulia Toselli, Marketing Manager at Chicco


comments: “There will always be something magical about the simplicity of a musical instrument that does not rely on enhanced sounds and fl ashing lights. They teach children an altogether diff erent set of skills and will therefore always


remain popular.”


A fan of the traditional musical instrument toy, George Poole, Marketing & PR Coordinator at Bigjigs Toys adds: “The simple musical toys are still very popular. Wooden music toys have been very good for us over the past few years. This year has been no diff erent. Musical instruments have been combining with other toys in recent years which really do distract from the actual instrument. We prefer our traditional instruments such as Maracas, Xylophones, Tambourines, Castanets etc.” Despite traditional toys remaining a


favourite and popular with the parents, musical toy company B Kids UK has won awards for its innovative toys that combine technology including the Touch 'n' go animated book and Music Mates Smart Phone. Ian MacCrimmon from B Kids UK says: “As


the years have progressed the musical toy range is now more focused on electronic musical toys, but the simplicity of the early musical toys still tend to be more popular with the very young and are still appealing to new parents with young babies who are at that early stage of learning.” Chicco off ers a selection of toys that help


children develop their musical awareness from birth, including Baby Star Guitar and the Baby Star Piano. Giulia says: “Even from birth, children naturally respond to music and adore repetitions of sounds, this is the reason why night time toys include gentle lullabies to help send babies to sleep and develop the hearing skills. Not only do musical toys help children learn audio skills, but they also help children to improve their sense of rhythm which can be an asset when it comes to further development at a later age.” Judith Stark, MD, Halilit, said: "The basics are where it’s all at for Halilit. Our instruments


68 Musical Toys


begin with simple shakers for babies through to accurately tuned Glockenspiels and school recorders. Babies and young children have an innate love of music and will naturally start to move their bodies to music that they enjoy. Our musical instruments enable young children to develop an early understanding of rhythm and a lifelong love of music- making." As musical toys develop and integrate


with technology, children are able to meet with music in a more entertaining and engaging manner, but does this mean the play pattern of learning to create music themselves becomes restricted? Giulia from Chicco explains: “The beauty


of technology means that toys can now be created to enhance a child’s musical experience, allowing them to discover sounds and learn actions that traditional toys just can’t do. There are more innovative musical toys coming out now, from large toys down to new tablet and smartphone applications aimed at children that have been developed to encourage musical growth, the industry is most certainly expanding.” With musical toys extending themselves


into technology, children are able to interact with music and develop their skills like never before.


“Music has played a part in child play


for hundreds of years, it is just the type of music and the technological development of the toys that have vastly changed," says Giulia. "Our toys are designed to incorporate the traditional aspects of the instruments such as the strumming action of a guitar and pressing the keys on a piano, however the colourful toys also both include fun added extras such as diff erent music modes, pre-recorded tunes and mixer functions to help children develop their creative and imaginative skills.”


Halilit


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