How musical play supports brain health and memory

March 16, 2022 • 4 min read

Many of you have been asking for a musical toy, and we’ve spent the last few months tinkering around with something we hope you and your kids will love. We wanted to challenge the typical “tap an instrument game” by coming up with something uniquely Pok Pok — a toy that gives kids all of the control! Our greatest inspiration ended up being right in front of us, in the form of the simple sequencer from our Busy Board toy!

The mini sequencer in Busy Board is a big hit amongst kids and educators.

This little sequencer has garnered a lot of attention. Kids love the simplicity of the mechanics and have spent tons of time creating short musical tracks. Teachers have praised it for its exceptional ability to build fundamental math and patterning skills in kids as young as two, as well as supporting key cognitive development. So when we started thinking deeply about how to bring more music into the Playroom, it was a no brainer that a bigger, more robust Sequencer was on the menu!

What is a Sequencer?

Our Pok Pok Sequencer is inspired by the real-world sequencers often used to make electronic music. These are programmable electronic devices that store and play back sequences of musical notes, chords or rhythms.

Sequencer offers endless layers of musical possibilities.

With endless musical layers and tons of creative possibilities, our Sequencer toy invites kids to get into the groove with music exploration by composing snappy beats and cool tunes. They can build and layer different sounds to compose melodies, as well as control all of the instruments, tempo, pitch and volume. If your little one loves dancing or has their sights set on being a DJ someday…they’ll love the creative flexibility in this toy!

Music can affect the way kids think

Music is a very powerful learning tool that can have pretty incredible effects on our minds — especially young minds. Children who grow up listening to music develop very strong music-related connections in their brains that significantly contribute to the development of spatial reasoning skills (that help with math, critical thinking, puzzle-solving, etc).

“Music is structural, mathematical and architectural. It’s based on relationships between one note and the next. You may not be aware of it, but your brain has to do a lot of computing to make sense of it,” notes one otolaryngologist from John Hopkins Medicine. Researchers at John Hopkins have also shown that beyond patterning and spatial reasoning, listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness and memory.

An electronic Sequencer opens up a symphony of musical possibilities in just a few buttons and switches.

Sequencer develops spatial reasoning, memory and memory skills.

Classical music is often a go-to genre for parents of infants, but what happens when they become toddlers? Studies show that listening to new and varied types of music helps train our brains to understand and make sense of what we’re hearing, so it’s healthy to “mix it up” (pun intended)!

While many kids can already start learning early music fundamentals with basic instruments (or even their own bodies), an electronic Sequencer opens up a symphony of musical possibilities in just a few buttons and switches.

The Pok Pok Sequencer offers kids endless possibilities to make music with just a few basic tools, empowering them to experiment and make discoveries at their own pace. There is a beauty in some of the very simple compositions that kids can make, but there’s also tons of space for them to grow with this toy as they get older and become more curious.

Creativity Without Overstimulation

To make sure that Sequencer doesn’t overwhelm children, we handcrafted each sound effect in our Toronto studio and designed the entire experience to be as gentle an introduction to musical structure as possible. This also leaves plenty of space for them to tap into their imaginations.

Our sound designer, Matt, hand-recording gentle sound effects.

One of the most important parts of sensory regulation is control, so nothing in the Sequencer happens without children controlling it.

When kids manage the experience themselves, they get to decide everything about the type of music they’re making. This self-guided, free play develops their independence and problem-solving skills, but also sets them up to push their creative limits far beyond the musical aspects of the play. Just like giving a child the tools to draw a picture, given the right tools, a child can just as easily lose themselves in writing their own music.

Speaking of beyond the music, for kids who prefer not to play with the sound on, Sequencer still offers a wonderful colour palette of instruments that promote experimentation and self-expression through visual patterning and play.

As always in our Playroom, there is no right or wrong way to play with Sequencer! Kids will get into the groove and use their imaginations to compose anything they put their minds to.

We’ve been so inspired by the unique approach of each child who plays with our toys and can’t wait to see what families like yours think of this new addition. We’d love to hear your feedback, watch your play videos and chat about your ideas — share your thoughts and say hello at or on social media @playpokpok.

Sequencer is available now in the latest update of Pok Pok Playroom!

Join our community to get insights from our educators and take a peek behind the scenes into our toy design process over on our Instagram!