Are you shopping for a kids ukulele and not sure which is the best ukulele for kids just learning how to play? Keep scrolling for my kids ukulele buying guide, simple ukulele kids songs, where to find ukulele lessons online, and which ukulele brands to avoid.
This post about the best ukulele for kids was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
One of the coolest trends I’ve seen in the past decade is that schools are teaching kids how to play the ukulele. Some have after-school ukulele clubs, while others include it in their music classes.
I’m a huge fan of teaching ukulele to kids at an early age. Because the ukulele is a small instrument, it’s easy for kids to hold.
Plus, there are just 4 strings. That also helps when teaching ukulele for kids.
Don’t worry, I cover it all! And then some!
By the end of this post, you should know which ukulele to buy your child and how to get started with ukulele lessons, easy ukulele songs for beginners, and ukulele books for kids.
Children’s Ukulele Buying Guide
What Should I Know BEFORE Buying a Ukulele?
1. Consider your child’s age
Usually, people recommend the ukulele for kids ages 6 and older if they want to seriously study the instrument. That’s when you’ll want to invest in a good quality beginner ukulele.
But, that’s not to say kids as young as 3 years old can’t learn to play this musical instrument. For that age, you might want to invest in a cheap ukulele, though, in case of tantrums or roughness.
2. What ukulele size you need
Did you know there are 4 different types of ukuleles? There’s Soprano, Tenor, Concert, and Baritone.
You’ll probably want to know that the soprano is the smallest and lightest ukulele. It’s also the most common ukulele for kids.
And it’s what you probably picture when you think of a traditional ukulele.
There are different sizes, and each has different tuning too.
A ukulele book for kids will help to learn whether you want a tenor, baritone, concert, or soprano, but most often, you’ll want to start with the small size for the basics.
3. What shape you like
There are two main ukulele shapes: the traditional ukulele (like what you normally see) and the pineapple ukulele (which is oval-shaped and often a sopranissimo.)
4. How much you’re willing to spend
Like I said before, most beginner ukuleles cost between $50-$150.
Figure out where your budget falls on that scale before you really start looking at buying a ukulele (or you might fall in love with one out of your price range.)
If you involve your child in the buying process, make sure they also understand your budget before you go shopping.
5. Brand quality
While the brand name doesn’t matter for a lot of things, it does make a difference when buying a uke.
Most Hawaiian musicians swear by particular ukulele brands because they are known for their high quality, rich sound, and durability.
There’s a lot of history and prestige with some more established ukulele brands, and it’s good to know that before you buy.
6. Online or in-store shopping
Another thing to consider is whether you want to shop at a ukulele store (or a general music store) or if you want to buy online.
If you shop in person, you can usually ask a salesperson questions and possibly test out the instrument to make sure it’s a good fit.
But, you might not have an ukulele store nearby. Or they might not have what you’re looking for in stock.
Online shopping is great if you know exactly what you are looking for and want to be able to compare prices before buying.
6 Best Ukulele for Beginners
What kind of ukulele is best for a beginner? I’ve come up with my 6 favorite ukulele options for kids and those just starting out.
This official Kala Learn to Play Ukulele starter kit comes with a mahogany ukulele, a booklet, a tuner app, and access to online lessons.
The carry case is just a nylon bag, so you might want to get a sturdier case if your child will be taking it to and from school or lessons. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this Kala Ukulele Starter Kit on Amazon
For the best budget ukulele, this one is a good pick. It’s made by Kala, which is a well-established brand that many schools use.
This Makala ukulele bundle includes a mahogany ukulele, tote bag, tuner, and polishing cloth. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this Makala Soprano Ukulele by Kala on Amazon
This deluxe Soprano Ukulele Bundle comes with a walnut ukulele (in a variety of colors,) Aquila strings, a padded gig bag, kids ukulele strap, and picks. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy the Hola! Music HM-121ZW+ Deluxe Soprano Ukulele Bundle on Amazon
Another one of the best budget ukuleles for kids is this POMAIKAI wooden ukulele and carry case.
This small uke comes in a variety of super fun colors, making it appealing for children. And the body is made from basswood. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this POMAIKAI Starter Uke on Amazon
This ukulele set comes with a Sapele wood ukulele (with Aquila strings attached), a gig bag, a digital tuner, an extra set of Aquila strings, a kids ukulele strap, and a polishing cloth. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this Ranch 23 Inch Concert Wooden Ukulele on Amazon
This beginner ukulele bundle comes with a mahogany ukulele, a carrying bag, a tuner, a spare set of strings, a ukulele strap, a cleaning cloth, and 2 picks.
You’ll also get a free online ukulele tutorial that will teach you how to play the ukulele in 30 minutes with several chords children can learn. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this Aklot Mahogany Concert Ukulele on Amazon
I Have a Good Beginner Ukulele, Now What?
Helpful Ukulele Accessories
If you don’t buy a ukulele bundle, you can still get ukulele accessories to go with them. You might not need all of these, but it’s good to know what’s out there.
If you’re investing in a good quality instrument, you’ll want to make sure to protect it with a decent ukulele case.
Another helpful ukulele accessory is a ukulele strap. That way, kids don’t have to hold their ukes, and they can focus just on finger placement, which is so important with this musical instrument.
There are tons of kids ukulele straps available on Amazon in a variety of colors and prints. I like this one because it feels very tropical and has good reviews. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Another thing that is really helpful for beginning ukulele players is a trusty tuner.
That way, they can start to hear what the ukulele is supposed to sound like and know if they are in tune.
If your child is playing the ukulele a lot at home, will be switching between instruments, or would like to put it on display, you’ll want to get a ukulele stand.
While most of the time, your child will be strumming the ukulele with their fingers; there are times when they might need to use a pick.
Online Ukulele Lessons for Kids
One of the easiest ways to learn the ukulele for beginners is by taking lessons online in the comfort of your home. And there are a bunch of good options to choose from. There are even many pre-recorded courses on how to play the ukulele for kids too!
Here are a few options:
Beachside Music offers weekly 60 minutes Zoom small group kids ukulele lessons plus a private 30-minute lesson. They also offer ukulele lessons for teens and adults.
There are also lots of places to sign up for ukulele courses with pre-recorded ukulele video lessons.
Take Lessons is another platform where you can find a private ukulele teacher for your child. There are many teachers to choose from, and they will teach your child the ukulele online.
Outschool offers a ton of online classes, including private ukulele classes for kids. These are geared for kids ages 5-10 years old.
Many of these teachers are great and even have some ukulele games for kids to help them learn in a fun way!
Beginners Ukulele Books
Whether you are teaching yourself how to play the ukulele or you want to practice between lessons, it’s definitely a good idea to have at least one ukulele book.
This is a really awesome ukulele for kids book to get if your child grew up singing songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider. The author is a music teacher who uses familiar songs to teach kids how to play the ukulele.
Plus, there’s lots of introductory info about the history of the ukulele and a guide to all the parts of a ukulele. Find the best prices here.
Buy a Kids’ Guide to Learning the Ukulele on Amazon
fferent chords, and then progress to playing a full song.
What’s extra cool is that kids can also access the free ukulele videos if they want some visuals as they practice this musical instrument. Find the best prices here.
Buy Easy Ukulele on Amazon
This is another great ukulele book option. This one comes with access to download audio files to go with the book.
Buy Alfred’s Kid’s Ukulele Course Complete on Amazon
Kid Songs for Ukulele
And if you’d like to learn some additional children’s songs for ukulele practice, here are a few easy ukulele songs for kids to check out on YouTube (besides nursery rhymes).
These offer some ukulele tabs for kids to help them learn outside the classroom and create their own melodies and rhythm!
Here are some cool ukulele for kids songs:
- I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
- Counting Stars by One Republic
- Someone Like You by Adele
- Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars
- Aloha ‘Oe
- Someone to Lava by Kuana Torres Kahele
- Mele Kalikimaka
- Over the Rainbow by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole
I think they are fun ukulele songs kids will love to learn!
Top Questions about Buying a Kids Ukulele
Before we really get into it, I figured you might have some initial questions that I could answer right now.
Why is the ukulele so popular?
Um, because it’s awesome?
In all seriousness, the ukulele keeps getting trendier and trendier. Part of that is because more and more musicians are incorporating it into their music (I’m looking at you, Eddie Vedder.)
Of course, there are also musicians like Jack Johnson who primarily play ukulele in all their music.
But, it’s also becoming a super popular instrument for kids to play because it’s easier than other instruments, and they are pretty fun to play.
Because of its size and shape, kids as young as 4 or 5 years old can successfully learn how to play the ukulele.
Is it worth buying a ukulele for kids?
If you want your kids to learn how to play an instrument, ukuleles are fairly inexpensive compared with other beginner instruments.
Plus, they are a lot smaller than guitars, pianos, or the cello. That means less for kids to haul around (and it won’t take up a ton of room in your home.)
Those are just 2 simple reasons why it’s worth buying a ukulele for kids who have an interest in learning.
I’ll also throw in a bonus 3rd reason: They make awesome photo props and luau decorations. So, you can at least get some extra use out of them if your kid decides it isn’t their jam.
How much is a ukulele?
There’s a total range of how much to spend on a ukulele for kids. It really depends on the size, shape, and brand name.
I’d say prepare to spend between $50 and $150 for a basic ukulele for kids that is decent quality. You want to buy a ukulele kids will love and want to use, but for smaller children, you might want to try a toy ukulele instead, which are cheaper at first glance.
Hawaiian ukuleles. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
What are the best ukulele brands?
There are so many places that make ukuleles that it can be hard to know which ukulele brands are better than others.
As of 2020, the best ukulele brands include:
If you are looking for a decent ukulele for kids, Kala offers a ton of affordable ukuleles that are perfect for beginners. These are actually some of the most popular ukuleles for beginners on the market.
Mahalo ukuleles are geared toward kids and beginner ukulele players. They have lots of affordable beginner ukulele models to choose from, and they are made with sustainable wood from renewable sources
Mitchell ukuleles come in a lot of different colors and designs, which make them appealing to kids. They are also not as loud as other brands, which might be helpful with younger kids learning to play.
Another great ukulele brand for kids is Lanikai. They have quite a range of ukulele styles with tons of cute and unique designs. But, some of their models don’t have the traditional ukulele tone.
This is actually a Canadian brand, and they offer free access to ukulele lessons. These are definitely geared for beginners, and they have a lot of affordable options with a lifetime guarantee.
While these ukuleles aren’t made in Hawaii, they are still a top pick among musicians because they are good quality. Most of the ukuleles have mahogany bodies, and some even have the option of using an amplifier.
Martin is one of the most well-established ukulele brands on the market. They have been around since the early 1900s. They are known for their craftsmanship, and that’s also why they are more expensive than others.
While you might immediately think of guitars when you hear the name Fender, they also have a line of ukuleles in lots of cute styles. But, some of them sound a bit more like a guitar than a traditional ukulele.
Luna ukuleles are designed by an artist, and they are really beautiful instruments that can be played or used as home decor.
These gorgeous koa and mahogany ukuleles are geared for intermediate and professional ukulele players. It’s a historic brand used by celebrities like Warren Buffet. But, there aren’t any affordable options for beginners.
What are the ukulele brands to avoid?
There are a lot of cheap ukulele brands that are poor quality. I always recommend reading the reviews online of any ukulele you are looking at so you can decide how much value you want to place on negative reviews.
These usually pop up as ukulele brands to avoid: Hricane, Huawind, ADM, Vangoa, Kaka, and Ammoon.
Where can I find the best cheap ukulele for under $50?
If you’re looking for a cheap ukulele, Donner is a go-to brand for affordable instruments. They aren’t the highest quality, but they are a good starter ukulele. Check out the latest prices and more details.
It comes with a kit to help make learning ukulele for kids easier!
This is a fairly newish ukulele brand that is known for making one of the best affordable ukulele bundles.
Their ukuleles come in a lot of fun colors, plus you’ll get two months of live ukulele lessons online! Check out the latest prices and more details.
If you want a pink ukulele for kids with little hands to start ukulele lessons, this is the one for you!
Kala ukuleles have a line of beginner ukuleles called Makala. These are the ukuleles most schools use when teaching ukulele to kids. Check out the latest prices and more details.
If you are already in ukulele lessons, kids will love their music enrichment sessions with this one!
What’s the best toddler ukulele?
If you want to get a ukulele for toddlers, there are several adorable choices. These ones are usually made with plastic strings, and they might break if your toddler is rough with them.
This toy musical instrument is a great way for children to learn to strum the strings and learn new concepts before getting into all ukulele chords and learning ukulele music for kids.
A plastic toy ukulele would be the perfect ukulele for 2-year-olds for learning music!
Hape is one of my favorite brands of wooden toys for kids. These items are pretty durable, and parents of toddlers highly recommend this one. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this Hape Kid’s Wooden Toy Ukulele on Amazon
This one is a #1 seller on Amazon, and I like how the pick is attached to the ukulele, so you won’t worry about losing it. Plus, it’s super cute! Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this YEZI Kids Toy Classical Ukulele on Amazon
It’s a toy ukulele that is so adorable! It’s another great one to learn ukulele for kids that doesn’t cost too much. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this Fun Toy Ukulele for Kids on Amazon
Where can I find a left-handed ukulele?
My uncle is left-handed, and he told me that back in the day, he learned how to play the ukulele upside down. That’s because he didn’t know left-handed ukuleles even existed.
Thankfully, there are several left-handed ukulele options these days, and there’s even a book about how to play the ukulele left-handed:
This left-handed ukulele comes with a carry case. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this Ranch left handed ukulele on Amazon
For an easy ukulele for kids who are left-handed, this comes with it all and is another best seller. It comes with four strings on the uke and additional nylon strings too! Check out the latest prices and more details.
This one is highly recommended by left-handed ukulele players. It’s pricier than the rest and doesn’t come with any accessories. Check out the latest prices and more details.
Buy this Oscar Schmidt Mahogany Concert Ukulele on Amazon
What are the best ukulele shops in Hawaii?
Where to buy a ukulele on Oahu
Hawaii Music Supply is a really good place to shop for a ukulele on Oahu. It’s up in Haleiwa, and it’s totally worth the drive if you want hands-on help choosing the perfect ukulele.
Kanile’a ‘Ukulele is in Kaneohe on Oahu, and they specialize in Hawaii-made ukuleles. Plus, they usually offer a tour of their factory, which sounds pretty cool!
One of the most famous ukulele players is Jake Shimabukuro. His brother has a ukulele shop at the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki called the Ukebox.
On Oahu, there’s also the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. This is where my husband actually bought his first ukulele, and he was able to haggle the price a little. There are usually several ukulele vendors there.
Where to buy a ukulele on Maui
Mele Ukulele has shops in Wailuku and Wailea, and it’s where Maui musicians go to pick up ukulele stuff. And they even offer free ukulele lessons!
Lahaina Music is another option that’s near a lot of Lahaina hotels and resorts. They offer online ukulele lessons, and you can even rent a ukulele during your trip.
Where to buy a ukulele on Kauai
Scotty’s Music House has been around for years, and they have the largest selection of ukuleles in the world! You can even buy used ukuleles there.
Kamoa Ukuleles are also a good option on Kauai. They offer student pineapple ukuleles as well as professional ones.
Where to buy a ukulele on the Big Island
Just Ukes is in the main area of Kailua-Kona, and they have a great assortment of ukuleles and accessories.
Hilo Ukulele & Guitar is on the other side of the island, and it’s a great place to check out ukulele gear.
If you just want a Hawaii souvenir ukulele, you can find those at ABC Stores or a Walmart ukulele on any island.
Where can I find ukulele lessons?
If you are looking for in-person ukulele lessons near your home or in Hawaii, you might check Airbnb Experiences. There are usually regular people looking to make extra money by teaching how to play ukulele for kids.
You can check out our honest review of Maui ukulele lessons in Kihei to see what we thought.
There are also ukulele lessons through many kids music programs on the Mainland.
Keep scrolling to read about some awesome online ukulele lesson options.
What size ukulele should I get for a child?
A soprano ukulele is the smallest and usually the best size for kids to learn how to play this musical instrument. As they get older, they can go to the next size and enjoy a new instrument.
Is a ukulele a good gift for a 3 year old?
A 3 year old might enjoy this musical instrument but also might not learn so well right now. If you get a uke for your toddler, a cheaper toy version might be best at this age.
Beginner Ukulele for Kids Wrap-Up
If your kids want to play a musical instrument, why not try the ukulele?
From easy ukulele chords for kids to the best ukulele class for kids, this guide has it all!
Get one of these best ukuleles and start lessons at your own pace today! Young learners will love playing the ukulele.