A friend of mine plays dulcimer and does Middle Eastern dance, so is very interested in encouraging her kids to make music. She mentioned that her 4yr old daughter was really entranced with an older playmate's toy accordion, one of those little $20 7-button diatonics made by Hero, Schylling, etc.
I've owned several toy accordions, and had several fitted out with proper reeds (the Irish Dancemaster workshop does this mod), but suggested that for a 4yr old, and with even younger kids in the house, the keys and bellows might get damaged pretty quick. I suggested instead a harmonica, and I had a mental picture of a harmonica I had as a kid, which I vaguely think was Fisher Price, maybe eight holes, and a rather fat plastic dealie with all rounded edges, no easily removable small parts, etc.
Can anyone recommend such a harmonica that'd be safe for a house with small children? Something where a nut isn't going to come off the cover, no sharp edges, etc. I know there are some cheapie translucent plastic harmonicas that are solid plastic, so those are an option, but if there's something specifically made to be kid-safe (not just cheapie offshore plastic), plays at least okay, and maybe something big/clunky for clumsy little hands, that'd be great.
I found one thing that, though not quite what I had as a kid, seems pretty suitable:
Hohner Play & Learn, looks to be smooth, big and fat, etc. Not sure if the only one-octave range would be limiting, or a non-issue at age 4. It's a little hard to tell what it's size is, but it rather looks like it's made to be easily played one hole at a time?
Has anyone given these to any kids, tried one out themselves, any opinions?