Small percussion instruments don’t take less practice for you to become really good, but you can grasp the basics quickly, and then be able to play along. It’s also nice to be able to add something rhythmically to tune you’re playing, like Lee Morgan Wayne Shorter do on Night in Tunisia. Plus, learning a small percussion instrument will help your rhythm.
In The Practice of Practice, I recommend learning the tumbao and clave patterns on conga, or learning any rhythm instrument. Here’s a lesson on playing the guiro, from Bobby Sanabria. He teaches not only how to play it, but where the patterns go in the clave pattern.