What Is The Best Ukelele for Kids? (2019 Reviews)
A ukulele is an excellent introductory instrument for kids! It’s relatively simple to hold and play – even for toddlers. But not all ukuleles are the same. You want to find one which is designed for younger, beginning players who don’t have much musical experience.
Give your child the gift of music with a ukulele. We’ve rounded up the ten best for 2019. Plus, our complete guide has everything you need to know about this fun, kid-friendly instrument.
Quick Picks: See Our Favorite Kids Ukeleles
- Our #1 Choice – Kid’s Wooden Toy Ukulele by Hape
- Our #2 Choice – Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit by Kala
- Our #3 Choice – Apelila 21-inch Soprano Ukulele
- Our #4 Choice – Yezi Classical Ukulele for Kids
- Our #5 Choice – Soprano Ukulele by Honsing
- Our #6 Choice – Martin Smith UK-222-A Soprano Ukulele
- Our #7 Choice – Hola Music! HM-21MG Soprano Ukulele
- Our #8 Choice – Grocery House Mini Ukulele Toy for Kids
- Our #9 Choice – Soprano Ukulele by Kuala
- Our #10 Choice – Soprano Ukulele from Everjoys
- Is the Ukulele a Good Instrument for Kids?
- What Features Should the Ukulele Have?
- Type of Ukelele
- Boat Paddle
- What are the Benefits of Playing the Ukulele?
- Final Thoughts
Our #1 Choice – Kid’s Wooden Toy Ukulele by Hape
A simple, sturdy ukulele which is perfect for beginning students with pint-sized fingers.
- Solid construction with non-toxic paint
- Flexible nylon strings won’t scratch fingers
- Compact design is easy for kids to hold
- Might be too small for older kids
- Not durable enough to survive an accidental drop
Little kids can make a big sound with this toy ukulele from Hape. It features a sturdy but lightweight construction with a colorful blue and green design (painted with non-toxic paint).
The nylon strings are flexible with hidden ends, which helps avoid scratches. It’s also easy to tune. Overall, it’s a great introductory instrument for kids as young as 36 months.
Our #2 Choice – Learn to Play Ukulele Starter Kit by Kala
This ukulele kit for beginners includes a detailed instruction booklet plus an app with lessons, songs, and a tuner.
- Small design is easy for kids to hold
- Includes instruction booklet and online lessons
- Hawaiian design is classic and stylish
- The instruction booklet is more of a supplement to the online lessons
Kala’s soprano ukulele is an excellent teaching tool. Aside from the ukulele, two types of lessons are included. Young players can follow the clear, kid-friendly lessons in the included instruction booklet. They can also download the included app which features a tuner, play-along songs, and lessons.
A Soprano ukulele is perfect for kids because its small with a short scale length and tight fret spacing. It has a traditional Hawaiian design laser-etched onto the satin finish.
Our #3 Choice – Apelila 21-inch Soprano Ukulele
An easy-to-play introductory ukulele made from beautiful Basswood which includes a variety of accessories.
- Four-stringed, soprano ukulele
- Includes extra strings, finger picks and a storage bag
- Available in a variety of colors
- Needs frequent tuning
Apelila’s four-stringed, soprano ukulele is made from a handsome Basswood with advanced patterns and high-quality nylon strings. It’s available in a variety of kid-friendly colors including pink, purple, green and more.
Aside from the ukulele, you also get a set of four strings, a carrying bag, and two finger picks. Plus, Apelila offers a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee.
Our #4 Choice – Yezi Classical Ukulele for Kids
A durable, introductory ukulele made from ABS plastic material with four carbon nylon strings.
- ABS plastic can withstand bumps and knocks
- Compact design is perfect for little hands
- Simplified four-string design
- Sound quality is relatively poor
Yezi’s toy ukulele is a great introductory instrument for kids as young as three. It’s made from ABS plastic with four carbon nylon strings. Lightweight and durable, it’s specifically designed to be easy to play. A coated surface even helps prevent accidental finger pinching.
It’s easy for little ones to pick up and play. Although it’s more of a toy than many of the other ukuleles on our list, kids can still learn basic notes and rhythmic patterns. It has a realistic feel slightly tweaked for little hands.
Our #5 Choice – Soprano Ukulele by Honsing
A bold, colorful ukulele with a fun Hawaiian look kids will love.
- Features a stylish design with floral pattern
- Twelve frets and nylon strings are easy to play
- Durable maple wood is damage resistant
- Twelve frets can be complicated for beginners
A colorful, floral petal pattern adorns this Hawaiian-style ukulele from Honsing. It’s 21 inches long with a matte finish and a pearl, black-and-white backside. With 12 frets and nylon strings, it’s easy to play and durable.
The all-natural maple is lightweight but long-lasting. Guitar-style gears allow for fast, accurate tuning. It’s a real musical instrument designed with kids in mind.
Our #6 Choice – Martin Smith UK-222-A Soprano Ukulele
A wood ukulele designed for beginners with metal gear heads, nylon strings, and live online lessons.
- Metal gear heads and nylon strings create a full sound
- Includes two months of free online lessons
- Overall quality construction designed for beginners
- Free online lessons only last for two months
Martin’s Smith ukulele for beginners is packed with quality features. The gear heads are made from metal for improved sound quality. Plus, the nylon strings are soft and easy on little fingers.
Live, online instruction makes learning easy. Kids can sign into the Martin Smith website for instant access to live teachers. Students can ask questions and receive instant feedback from a professional music teacher.
Our #7 Choice – Hola Music! HM-21MG Soprano Ukulele
An authentic Hawaiian-style ukulele made from two types of wood which also includes free online lessons.
- Durable, stylish maple and walnut construction
- Creates an authentic Hawaiian sound
- High-quality Aquila strings with silver gear turners
- Slips out of tune fairly easily
- Overall construction isn’t very durable
Enjoy authentic Hawaiian sounds with this soprano ukulele set from Hola! Music. It’s made from two types of wood: Maple for the body and walnut for the bridge and fingerboard. It also has white Aquila strings, silver gear tuners, and 12 silver-nickel frets.
You also get two months of free online lessons. All lessons include live video interaction with the instructor. You can ask questions and receive feedback in real time on your actual playing.
Our #8 Choice – Grocery House Mini Ukulele Toy for Kids
A durable toy ukulele perfect for teaching toddlers basic concepts such as strumming, rhythm, and more.
- Strong plastic and aluminum construction
- Teaches basic music concepts and techniques
- Classic coffee-colored design
- Doesn’t stay in tune
- More of a toy than an instrument
While the musical quality isn’t the best, this toy ukulele is fun to play with and incredibly durable. With plastic and article-aluminum construction, it’s difficult to damage, making it a good choice for toddlers.
Although the tunes will likely never quite be in tune, it’s a fun way to introduce younger children to music basics. Kids will learn how to strum the guitar, turn the gears, and play simple rhythms.
Our #9 Choice – Soprano Ukulele by Kuala
A charming toy ukulele with a simplified four-string design which even young kids find easy to play.
- Lightweight, simplified design
- Made from durable ABS plastic
- Features faux-wood surface
- Simplified design only has four strings
- Doesn’t include lessons or instructions
Ukualaa’s toy ukulele is made from durable ABS plastic with a faux-wooden surface. It looks like a classic wooden ukulele but won’t splinter or pinch skin.
It’s 17 inches long and 5.5 inches wide. Compact and lightweight, even toddlers will have no problem holding and playing it.
Our #10 Choice – Soprano Ukulele from Everjoys
A 21-inch Soprano ukulele from Everjoys with multi-colored strings to help kids learn notes.
- Includes ukulele, tuner, lessons and a carrying bag
- Multi-colored strings help teach note placement
- Solid construction includes three types of wood
- Needs frequent tuning
This beginner’s kit includes a 21-inch ukulele, digital tuner, strap, instructional songbook, and a carrying bag. The ukulele has a basswood body, blackwood bridge, and solid-wood neck.
Each string is multi-colored. Different colors represent notes to help kids learn. The nylon strings are comfortable to pluck and won’t pinch fingers.
Check out some of the most commonly asked questions about ukuleles to help you decide if it’s the best instrument for your kid.
Is the Ukulele a Good Instrument for Kids?
Absolutely! Although the ukulele might not be the most obvious choice, it’s often a great way to introduce young kids to the world of music and musical instruments.
Ukuleles are small, lightweight, and compact. Even toddlers can hold them comfortably. Instead of struggling with the instrument, kids can focus on playing and finger positioning.
Additionally, ukuleles are relatively easy to play. They only have a few strings and gear tuners. Most kids (and adults) can learn the basics fairly quickly.
You can also find ukuleles with special kid-friendly features. An extended fingerboard gives kids extra space to place their fingers. Fingerboards can also be marked with fret locations to help older kids learn more advanced concepts.
What Features Should the Ukulele Have?
Although ukuleles all generally look the same, each type will have slight variations which can make a big difference. Consider the following features:
Ukuleles are typically made from either wood or plastic.
Wooden ukuleles are the traditional type. Mahogany, spruce wood, and maple are commonly used. The wood creates a classic sound. Plus, wood is generally durable. It should be able to withstand a few knocks.
Plastic ukuleles are also common. Look for non-toxic ABS plastic, which is safe for kids to play with.
Plastic ukuleles are lightweight and usually fairly durable. However, they do produce a smaller sound than the wood type. Most plastic ukuleles are considered to be closer to toys than true musical instruments. However, kids can still learn the basics of strumming, tuning, and more.
Many ukuleles for kids include playing lessons. Instruction booklets are the most common teaching tools, although multimedia lessons are increasingly popular.
If you’re interested in the best lessons, consider internet-based instructions. The child interacts with a live instructor online. Instruction can be specifically tailored to the child’s ability. However, online instructions usually work best for older kids who can sit still and listen for the duration of the class.
Type of Ukelele
Ukuleles have four different types:
At 21 inches, the Soprano is considered the traditional ukulele size. It produces the classic ukulele sound. Compact and easy to hold, a Soprano ukulele is usually the best choice for kids.
The next size up is the 23-inch Concert ukulele. It produces a slightly louder, deeper sound. A Concert ukulele is usually a good option if your child already has a year or so of experience playing the Soprano.
At 26 inches, the Tenor ukulele creates a deep sound. It has a large fingerboard, which makes it a good option for fairly experienced players who want to learn more about playing chords.
A baritone ukulele has a deep bass sound which is similar to a guitar. At 30 inches, it’s too large for beginners. However, a baritone ukulele is a great transition instrument for kids interested in playing the guitar.
Ukuleles have three different shapes:
The guitar shape is the most common and traditional. It has a waist, also known as a dip, in the middle of the body.
Unlike the guitar shape, pineapple ukuleles have no waist. Instead, they’re completely round. Originally created in Hawaii, they’re the second-most-popular type of ukulele. However, they can be a bit harder to hold than the guitar-shaped type, so they’re not the best choice for beginning players.
Resembling, naturally, a boat paddle, this is the rarest type of ukulele. It’s fun to look at but is a little too advanced for most kids.
What are the Benefits of Playing the Ukulele?
A ukulele is an awesome introductory instrument because it’s fun and easy to play. Kids can learn the basics quickly. Generally, a ukulele isn’t frustrating to play, so kids are likely to stick with it for a while.
Musical toys and instruments have many significant benefits for kids:
Music instruments help kids develop perseverance. Daily practice results in improvement and mastery over time.
As their musical abilities improve, kids often develop pride in their accomplishments. Playing an instrument is often a great source of healthy self-esteem.
Also, learning to play music helps improve math and reading comprehension. Music and math connect on a fundamental level. Kids who understand music often also understand how to divide numbers, create fractions, and recognize numerical patterns.
Ukuleles aren’t quite as popular of a childhood toy as they really should be. They’re an easy, fun introduction to music. Even toddlers can pick up and play a soprano ukulele quickly. These tiny stringed instruments are fun, educational, and just downright delightful.