One of the best ways to learn the alphabet is using some of the excellent educational toys that are in the market today. Whether you are teacher looking for something for your classroom or a parent who wants to make playtime with your children that little bit more constructive there is an alphabet learning toy that will fulfil your needs.
The best alphabet learning toys are well priced, effective and appealing to children and are often interactive with songs and sounds. They will cover the letters of the alphabet using multiple learning methods and styles to ensure children learn while playing.
There are hundreds of alphabet learning resources available in the market, some are incredibly useful and some are full of over difficult gimmicks. The article below will cut through these and give you in our teaching opinion some of the most useful and reasonably priced toys out there today.
Of course alphabet toys are just one way to learn the alphabet, if you are looking for more ways to help your children learn then we have a full article on multiple methods on teaching the alphabet for parents and teachers
We have chosen alphabet learning toys that are both useful and reasonably priced, as with only 26 letters in the alphabet you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good, long lasting and effective way to teaching your children the alphabet.
Our top pick: If we are forced to choose our top pick we would choose the Interactive wall-chart for its versatility, portability, price and effectiveness. However all of the toys on this list are excellent and cater for different aspects of alphabet instruction and we have had the most fun with the Alphabet stamps in classrooms.
The article below review some of the best alphabet learning toys you can buy as tested and suggested from teachers in Kindergarten and elementary classrooms. Below we explain what features are in the best alphabet learning toys.
You can jump ahead to our suggestions for the best abc toys here
What to Look For in an Alphabet Learning Toy.
Browsing the shelves of your local toy store or the pages of Amazon can be a little overwhelming the first time. there will be shelves and shelves (or pages and pages) of educational toys that claim to teach the alphabet in a fun and informative way.
Some hold true to their word, and others are overpriced and gimmicky. When purchasing an Alphabet learning toy look out for the five key factors below.
- Well made and robust: Children play hard and an expensive screen is easy to break. Look for alphabet learning toys that are more solidly constructed and will survive a few knocks, bangs and scrapes. This automatically discounts expensive tablets and phones which you wont find on this list. Save the use of those for later in their learning journey.
- Adaptable and longer lifespans: If you are spending money on alphabet toys then try to find ones that can be adapted for both various methods of teaching, and be used in multiple ways. Firstly as preschoolers and kindergarten children have short attention spans and if the toy can only be used one way they might get bored quite quickly. Secondly if the alphabet learning toy can be levelled up to phonics, or word construction later then you have a resource you can use for years rather than just months.
- Check the sounds: Some Alphabet learning toys will come with audio that may say the name of the letter, or the sound, or even sing songs and give examples of words beginning with letters. We have bought a cheap one of these before which, although well made, was in an almost unintelligible accent. Similarly if you are living or teaching in the USA, you may not want a British accent being modelled to your preschoolers! ( or maybe you do!)
- Cost of Alphabet Learning Toys: Although it is tempting to spend the earth on educational toys for your children, both as teachers and parents, be aware that more money doesn’t always equate to a better learning experience. That doesn’t mean get the cheapest thing you can find, but if you can find good quality alphabet resources for a reasonable price it leaves you money to supplement them with other toys as well.
- How Big Should the Alphabet Toy Be: Although this depends on where you plan on using it, and what alphabet activities you plan on doing we find that portable is better than fixed. as a parent this means you can take it with you on visits or holidays, and as a teacher this means you can move it from classroom to classroom to school hall, as the need arises.
The Best Alphabet Learning Toys
We have done these in no particular order as they all have their merits. We have also chosen alphabet learning toys that cover multiple intelligence learning, and different learning styles so that if you have a child or student that learns best through reading, or moving, or listening then we should have an abc toy for you to choose.
We will explicitly mention which learners should benefit in our tables at the bottom of each toy.
1. Foam Bath ABC and Number Toys
These floating alphabet toys make bathtime educational. We have included these as we have similar in our classrooms we just don’t use them in water! However we are a great believer in learning opportunities throughout the day and playing in the bath with these letters and playing Eye Spy, or find the find letter adds a great educational and fun way to add something to bathtime.
|Which Learning Styles||Why We Recommend the Floating Alphabet toys|
|Interpersonal and Kinesthetic||These are great for social (interpersonal) and kinesthetic (movement) learners. Playing with parents provides a social element to learning. While finding them floating around adds a fun game for preschoolers to play while they practice the alphabet. of course you can also use these for games outside of the bathroom just make sure they dry off first!|
2. Leapfrog Alphapup
Having a couple of these alphabet learning toys in kindergarten and preschool classrooms is a great idea and saves on keeping a classroom animal! (we had fish that kept dying in my school) Children can name the dog and take it for walks. While you may get tired as it continually plays the ABC song., your children will not.
It also has simple, age appropriate vocabulary examples a well as the names of the letters along its back that children can press to hear the name of the letter and an example word. It also talks to the child (and says hot diggity… which may unfortunately enter your children’s vocabulary!)
It is well made and solid construction, and although in a classroom setting its use needs to be monitored (it is quite loud) it is still a great addition. One issue you will face if you have 20 students in your class and only 2 of these there may be a little bit of a struggle between who gets to use it. We suggest station learning to help solve this.
|Which Learning Styles||Why We Recommend The Alphapup|
|Kinesthetic, aural and Intrapersonal||This is at the pricer end of our suggestions, but mainly because it is feature rich and effective. it allows students to walk around while playing with it. It sings the ABC song to children, and also has interactive buttons that give the names of the letters to help students learn and model. We suggest a type of bingo game in pairs if you are using in a classroom. where you say a letter and they have to press it. However as it is a personal toy as well, it is suitable for children to do a little self learning on their own as well.|
3. Interactive ABC Alphabet Wall Chart
Alphabet wallchart’s and posters have been inside children’s bedrooms and classrooms for as long as there have been schools. They are still a great way to create a language rich environment both at home and in school.
Times have changed and now these alphabet learning toys come fully interactive. This company actually makes ABC wall charts, bedtime stories, extended vocabulary and more educational wallcharts. We suggest keeping it simple and going for the one we have highlighted above.
- Both letter and numbers that give vocabulary examples as well as the name of the letter.
- 7 songs included, the ABC song of course, but also BINGO, Wheels on the bus, Happy and you know it and more.
- In addition is has quiz, matching and spelling features to give it a longer learning life.
- Has both lower and upper case letters so students become familiar with both forms of the alphabet.
|Which Learning Styles||Why we recommend the Interactive Alphabet wall chart|
|Physical, logical aural and Intrapersonal,||Reasonably priced and feature rich we certainly have these in our classrooms. They can be used for self learning in homes and schools, have songs and sounds for aural learners, require physical interaction and have numbers! we use these for self learning and put three up in the classroom. Children don’t need to be told to use these alphabet learning toys, they go to them on their own.|
4. Wooden Alphabet Tracing Board
These alphabet blocks are lovely additions to homes and classrooms and we have used them ourselves. They are tactile and the pen is oversized to help young hands (which are not suited to fine motor skills yet), develop knowledge of the shapes of letters,
They have the additional bonus of being able to extend their life my making simple 3 or 4 letter words when the preschoolers are able. These are a great and fun way to teach the alphabet to preschoolers. As they include the letters on wood they can also be used as flashcards to make games and quizzes out of as well.
|Which Learning Styles||Why we recommend The Alphabet tracing blocks|
|Physical, Visual, Verbal and Intrapersonal||“These are great for verbal (linguistic learners) as they encourage writing, and for visual learners as well. These are great for children to practice writing letters on their own and can be used as a quiz (find the letter) in groups.”|
5. Leapfrog Alphabet Learning LeapTop
Although we said that our recommended Alphabet learning toys wouldn’t not include tablets or phones, we are cheating a little. this is a Alphabet learning toy laptop designed for 2-4 years old to teach them the alphabet. It has numerous features.
- 4 learning modes including ABC, Messages games and music (ABC song of course!)
- 16 Child friendly songs
- Messaging to characters in the laptop
- Sounds and vocabulary
- Interactive screen just like mom and dads laptop.
- Portable so can be taken on visits and car journeys
|Which Learning Styles||Why we recommend the Leaptop|
|Physical, Aural Verbal and Intrapersonal||Although we don’t really suggest giving much screen time to younger children this designed for purpose alphabet toy is an exception. It can be used anywhere and because it is so interactive it will be very popular. As it is single person use we suggest it is used on station or small group learning.|
6. IQ Alphabet Locks
We love these in our classrooms, we simply put them up all over and then ask questions of our preschoolers to earn a key. We have three sets in our rooms (more children) but if buying for your home then one set is enough. They are a great social game activity as well.
Students simply have to match the correct key for upper case and lower case to unlock the lock. you can play a competitive version or a game just for fun.
|Which Learning Styles||Why we recommend The Alphabet locks|
|Physical, visual logical and both social and solitary||Great to put up around the house or classroom and have your preschoolers run around trying to match the upper and lower case letters. You can make a game of it by asking them to think of a word with each letter, or make a word from the letters they have collected.|
7. Vtech Alphabet Apple
Vtech has a reputation for making high quality educational toys. This Alphabet Apple is a great additional for learning stations in kindergarten and is designed to let preschoolers teach themselves the alphabet.
In addition to helping teach the alphabet it also has options to introduce time and numbers to preschooler and kindergarten students as well. As an added bonus, and rare with Alphabet toys, it has a progression system of levels to help children develop their alphabet skills incrementally.
|Which Learning Styles||Why We Recommend The Alphabet Apple|
|Physical, logical, visual verbal, solitary||Another batteries are required alphabet learning toy. However the features in this one make it well worth having a few in the classroom or one at home. it allows students to self direct their learning, and can be used on trips out and holidays.|
8. Alphabet Bingo
We actually have these Alphabet Bingo cards for free, and other versions, on our site but sometimes it is just nice to have a professionally made set rather than one from the printer.
Bingo is a classic game played in classrooms all over the world. There seems to be a sweet spot from age 3 to about 12 and then from ages 60 and up! However in schools bingo is a hit. Learning the alphabet while playing games is a great way to keep children motivated so try this bingo game in class or home, it is great for social learners.
|Which Learning Styles||Why We Recommend The Alphabet Bingo Game|
|logical, visual, verbal, social||“Bingo is a classic ESL and English learning game. It can be used for literally any aspect of English. Starting with the alphabet is a great way to keep learning fun and enjoyable for preschoolers. Having a more robust set of Alphabet Bingo cards also means it can be used again and again”|
9. Melissa and Doug Alphabet Puzzles
Sometimes simple is the most effective way of teaching preschoolers. The aim being to focus on teaching the subject in this case teaching the alphabet alphabet, and not having to spend hours explaining the activity. These wooden puzzle blocks do just that. they are self correcting so each letter pair only fits with its correct pair. Students can learn and practice their alphabet matching on their own.
It is also a great price and in classrooms there can be a few sets of these which are great for group work. Not every Alphabet learning toy has to be on the cutting edge of technology 🙂 Sometimes a step back in time works just as well, for a lot less money.
|Which Learning Styles||Why We Recommend The Alphabet Puzzles|
|Physical logical, visual, verbal, social and solitary||“Puzzles are a great way to teach critical thinking, even in preschool. Starting with simple matching exercises not only helps fine motor skills, but also develops cognitive reasons skills as well.”|
10. ABC Floor Mat
Sometimes the simplest of ideas can be the most effective. Floor mats, especially those that are made of tiles have been used in preschools and kindergartens for years.
We can’t recommend these enough, to the extent we are writing both an article on the top 5 to choose from (they are easy to store and bring out) and how to use them in a classroom- other than just sitting on them!
|Which Learning Styles||Why We Recommend The Alphabet floor mats|
|Physical, verbal, social and solitary||“Although in most kindergartens these mats are used solely for sitting on, there are actually loads of ways to use these for games and activities. We are writing an article to help you have access to more uses for these that just as a seat! .”|
11. Melissa and Doug Alphabet Stamp Set
Children are creative, in fact it is said that we educate them out of creativity as they progress through formal education. We mention this is our longer how to teach the alphabet article. So this fun, messy and artsy alphabet learning toy will help keep those creative juices flowing.
You can use it to practice spelling, letter recognition, word construction and so much more. This set of alphabet stamps certainly has shelf life. Just don’t forget to put some old newspaper underneath if you want to save your table or desk!
|Which Learning Styles||Why We Recommend The Alphabet floor mats|
|Physical, verbal, social and solitary||“Creatively is a valuable commodity and there are far few chances for children to express themselves. This type of alphabet learning toy gives them the chance to do just that.”|
12. Vtech Touch and Learn Activity Desk
If their was one alphabet learning toy to rule them all this would be it. It teaches and practices the alphabet, has a blackboard to write, an easel to draw, songs to sing, games to play, calls to make and more and more. The two drawbacks are its pricer, not all the features are included and come as add ons and its not particular portable ( although it is very light.)
It is not feasible for most classrooms due to space and cost but for homes in a preschoolers bedroom this will teach them so much. They can engage on their own and choose their own learning methods if you have all the add on features. If you do buy this it may be worth picking up one or two of them to extend the life of it with higher level english skills.
|Which Learning Styles||Why We Recommend The Touch and Learn Desk|
|Physical, verbal, social and solitary||“We actually recommend this for homes and parents rather than schools, it has enough educational features built in to help children learn the skills they will need when entering formal education, and is an excellent way for parents who are unsure of how to teach their children and preschoolers the alphabet and other necessary skills, to have support”|
There are hundreds upon hundreds of alphabet learning toys out there in the market. The ones we have highlighted here have all been researched and tested and in some cases used for years by teachers.
We have included learning styles advice on each toy as if you know the best way your children or students learn, then it is obviously much more effective to chose alphabet learning toys that cater to their strengths. As an aside it also helps principals sign off on purchases in your classroom if you mention that it caters to different learning styles and then list them as well.
It is difficult to chose just one alphabet learning toy as they all cater to a different need and have different positives. However if pushed we recommend the wallchart for its versatility and the fact that it can be used little and often to help preschoolers learn the alphabet.
We had these alphabet charts on our classrooms walls before they could speak to us, the fact that they can now sing the abc song to our children and are fully interactive only makes them more valuable.