Choosing the best musical instrument is sometimes hard. Some parents have found that the children’s ukulele is an ideal start for getting their kids interested in playing music. There are loads of benefits and some of my favorites are its size (super small) and easy to handle, it’s upbeat sound, inexpensive cost and how it can be easily be transported. Therefore this review will explore everything about ukulele’s and assist you with making an informed decision.
Kids and the Ukulele
There are loads of different types of ukulele’s, which usually get classified by size, ranging from baritone, concert, soprano, and tenor. However, there are others but are less common and won’t find that easily. Each one has slightly different sound, tone, can be slightly lighter, sweeter sounding and have a unique shape. The size of the ukulele is ideal and really easy for them to handle, which is perfect for being handled.
Most children’s ukulele has nylon strings and can be a huge benefit for their little fingers because steel can be tough and sore at first. Most other string playing instruments (guitar, bass guitar etc) use tougher strings and might be a steep learning curve for preschoolers.
Children find ukulele easier to comprehend because there are two fewer strings than it’s brother the guitar. The stretching needed for guitar playing is usually more difficult and needs a wider span of hand, which children don’t have just yet.
The ukulele for children is fun, great for singing along and an awesome tool for ear training. This sing-along instrument can get their friends involved and make their time together special.
Below is a list of the best available ukulele’s for kids on the market, both in price and quality, so hopefully me filtering through them all will ensure your kid starts having a great time playing the uke, maybe even on their way to stardom like Jack Johnson or maybe Israel Kamakawiwo’ole with Over The ‘Rainbow & What A Wonderful World’ .
Beginners Disney Themed Ukulele
Themed ukuleles are a great way to get your child enthusiastic and wanting to strum until their heart is content. There are many different themes and by clicking the link below you can choose from an array of types and color.
There are loads of reasons your child might latch onto this uke and want to sing their little hearts out, its pretty and Mickey themed, it’s small and brightly colored. The melody from this is less prominent than the others in this review and the melody will not be as enchanting although Mickey might disagree.
The design of these ukuleles are made for children and the soft nylon strings are super easy to play and strum, which is often one of the deterring factors for children. The strumming on this is super easy and the over play is made for children of all ages, but especially those early developers. The size is 20.5 inches and the smallest in this review.
The shape is traditional and offers a great user experience, so the ukulele is easy to hold and manage. This is important and the more they feel at ease with holding an instrument the more they will patiently endure the playing, but imagine the child doesn’t even like holding the instrument, it’ll be a down hill battle.
Child Play Soprano Ukulele
This is for a slightly older kid than the previously reviewed uke and although the color is plain the overall sound and design is more refined, so might be for the child that is going to be receiving some form of lessons.
The aquila strings are slightly tougher on the hands and can be a struggle for some, but again slowly and surely is another way to build up finger strength, so be gentle with your teaching approach. The aquila strings are a synthetic material made from nylgut, usually made in Italy and have a warm tone to the ear. This is a little bit more expensive than the last ukulele and offers both sweeter tone and packs a larger punch in comparison.
The bridge is more solid in design and offers a supporting structure for the sound to vibrate through the strings, which improves the overall quality of tone and sound I think. The fret is slightly longer than the previous and makes for reaching a little more difficult, but only if the child is extremely young in age and size. This also come with a bag and is handy if you’re going away and need to offer a basic layer of protection whilst traveling.
The dimension and size are 21 inches and smaller than the one below which is 22 inches, which might suit a specifically more smaller child.
Childrens Mahogany Soprano Ukulele
This is for the child who has the desire to play the ukulele and will respect his new toy, because this has a stunning design, top notch material, and satin finish to stand out from the bunch, however this does mean that if the child will drop to the floor at free will or bang it around like it’s a teddy it is maybe best getting one of the earlier cheaper ukulele’s than this.
The neck of the fret and body is made from mahogany and makes a beautiful piece just to look at let alone play, The sound, however, is deep and rich with an open feel to it, like you could be at the beach under a coconut tree.
All the marked positions on the fret have made this easy to learn and with a quick glance positioning can be seen, which is important at the early stages of a child’s learning curve. There are 12 brass frets and each seems to complement the mahogany’s deep rich color. The size is 22 inches and the biggest yet in this review.
The geared tuners are easy to use and make tuning easy. Some lesser quality ukuleles seem to cause problems with ages and the tuning becomes more difficult, but this seems to last the test of time. This particular ukulele comes pre-strung and ready for playing for those parents concerned with tuning at the beginning. The strings that come with it are aquila nylgut and fairly good quality without being too tough on the fingers.
Kids Soprano Hawaiian Starter Pack Ukulele
This cute little uke and is ideal for the beginner with loads of enthusiasm for getting playing. This comes as a starter pack and for those wanting their kids to have some additional plectrums and strings, it’s perfect.
The high gloss finish covers the basswood and creates a lovely sound and tone. The strings are easy to play and nylon to touch. The size is 21 inches in the smaller range in this review, however, it does offer a higher standard overall than the Disney themed ukulele.
The fretboard is hardwood and neck is maple, so the sound should be sweet with a dreadnought shape to assist with volume.
Kids Ukulele Kala Starter Kit
This is a great all round ukulele for beginners and makes learning easy for those wanting it to get playing quickly.
This comes with a guide to assist with the basics and takes away from the need to have a tutor straight away, however the more time spent with the child at the beginning the better, sometimes the difference between them continuing years of play and not.
This ukulele comes with a tuning app, which is handy for when they are on the go and heading round to their friend’s houses or when unsure what the right sound is meant to be. The bag makes the traveling easy and convenient so less likelihood of scratches and dings.
Best Ukulele Strings for Children
Some say the most import aspect of choosing ukulele is the durability of the string. Parents worry saying ‘will my over eager child need a particular type so as for best not hurt themselves?’ and yes each type offers a slightly different touch, tone, and feel, however, each will have its own unique positives and for a toddler making it fun is the key.
People often say the best ukulele strings overall are the Aquila nylon string, which has been made to endure higher temperatures and humidity. These strings do offer superb sound quality and the touch is sweet.
Types of strings are:
- Nylon – easily made and is the least affected by humidity
- Fluorocarbon – bright sound other types but especially nylon and temperature changes don’t seem to affect the quality
- Titanium – strength, durability and large sound projection
- Wound nylon strings – polymer winding material and is found to make a squeaky sound from the finger play
- Wound metal strings – sometimes squeaky also and made from copper
- Steel Strings – less desirable and make an overall poorer quality sound on the ukulele
Choosing the right ukulele strings for children is sometimes difficult and some say nylon is ideal for easy pressing and others say Aqyulia nylon strings. There are differences between the two and choosing the right type isn’t going to make a big difference on its own, because other factors also come into play.
For example the ukulele size and shape can make the strings feel tighter than others, play style makes a difference too in choosing string type and lastly, the strumming or Picking style determines a choice of strings also.
So, what does all this mean you’re asking yourself right? Simply don’t worry too much about this just yet and go with a pair that is already as standard and see whether the kid likes playing, because all ukulele’s respond differently to the same set of strings, so simply there isn’t a right answer for this question.
Best Types of Material for Kids Ukulele
This is a question of personal preference and who can say which type is superior to another, preference is all about individual tastes and of course sound and beauty is all a personal perspective. Personally, I enjoy complex overtones and an alive sweet bite from the get-go, but my children prefer an island look, tone, and sound, so can there really be the best material choice for your child at such an early stage in their development…? Maybe yes or maybe no…
There are two types of materials used for constructing the ukulele instruments, wood, and composite/plastic. Each offers both pro’s and con’s but ideally, it depends on how and for what purpose you are going to be using the ukulele. Some want to use up the river on camping trips and others for impressing guests at dinner parties, so for children, the thought might be that kids need ones that can get carried about and the occasional bang without a worry about breaking easily. Another advantage is that these composite plastic types don’t get affected by weather and climate, so bearing that in mind can be helpful.
The type of wood in the ukulele does make a huge difference to the trained ear because the density of the material and ultimately the vibration makes for the sound to alter between woods.
Types of Ukulele wood are:
- Mahogany – most commonly used and great for the neck of the ukulele, The sound is in the middle of the spectrum.
- Koa – Indigenous wood with a unique style and sound native to Hawaii
- Spruce – is a softwood bright and loud, crisp and strong and emotionally inspiring
- Cedar – alive and sweet both very common a board and offers a great quality of sound
- Redwood – deeper in tone and louder in voice, it’s not ideal for high notes
- Rosewood – lovely and rich with a tone that sounds through even at the higher ranges
- Maple – Known for clarity and dynamic sounds and ability
Best Shaped Ukulele for Kids
There are loads of unique shapes and sizes for ukulele’s and finding the right one for your child isn’t as difficult as it may seem initially. The classic figure of eight is usually the basic shape and is found most common, although there seems to be a trend of new weird and wacky designs coming onto the market all the time.
The figure 8 is very common but also terms like vita or others like pineapple offer slightly different tones on their own. For children, this will not matter so much as long as the size of the ukulele is according to their overall size and height.
Ukulele Color and Theme
Children and preschoolers love all the Disney characters and the more the emphasis put on ukulele design the more likely they will want to pick it up and practice singing a song. The colors can be for some kids the distinguishing factor between liking their latest toy and not liking it, so if your little girl loves pink then get her a pink ukulele.
The themed ukulele come in all sorts of themes ranging from mickey mouse, avengers, frozen and all the way through to ninja turtles, so find the one that will suit your child.
Ukulele Tune and Sounds
Children usually can’t distinguish between a good sounding ukulele at the early stages, but will quickly learn to distinguish if they are playing or learning as part of a group, so knowing what circumstances your child will be playing in is worth noting before buying.
The ukulele general rule is the more you spend the better quality the sound, but sometimes there can be unique buys that defy this general rule and seems to create a sound that mimics the original Hawaii grooves.
Maintaining your Ukulele
The best instruments for kids can also be the cleanest and the more a child plays the dirtier the ukulele gets. We produce sweat and that gets all over the ukulele and needs a good clean every once in a while (3-6 months), kid tends to be messier and if you have a wooden uke the more frequent the better.
There are a few different techniques to cleaning you ukulele and sometimes a cloth is enough and other times a specific oil (dunlop’s 65 oil lemon), but simply maintaining your fretboard and strings will ensure a better quality of sound and improve the uke age expectancy, ideally, it can last a lifetime and beyond.
Where to Buy a Ukulele for Kids
I always think the best deals are on Amazon and they offer a full range without costing too much, which when compared to specific brand shops and outlets can be an All-mighty saving.
Best Ukulele for Kids Table Comparison
|Brand and Type||Weight||Material||Dimensions||Price|
|Disney Themed Ukulele||1 pounds||Plastic||2.8 x 20.5 x 6.9 inches||$|
|Child Play Soprano Ukulele||1.1 pounds||Sengon||4 x 8 x 21 inches||$$|
|Mahogany Soprano Ukulele||1.5 pounds||Mahogany||8.5 x 3 x 22 inches||$$$|
|Soprano Hawaiian Starter Pack Ukulele||1.2 pounds||Mahogany||22.1 x 7.9 x 3.1 inches||$$$|
|Ukulele Kala Starter Kit||1.4 pounds||Mahogany||3.2 x 8.4 x 22.6 inches||$$$|