"E" is for an excellent educational app.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The app keeps all letters on the screen at all times, though navigating from non-adjacent letters requires the user to keep their finger on the letter for several seconds -- more than young users are likely to be willing to wait.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that AlphaTots is an excellent tool for helping children learn the alphabet. Filled with creative and clever interactive activities, the app reinforces letters with interactive elements that are fun to do (such as assembling a building for the letter B or cutting strings for the letter C). Letters are sounded out and the app is easy for kids of virtually all ages to navigate.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics

Engagement, Approach, Support


Learning is transformed into a game, which makes young kids want to use this app again and again. Interactive elements are clever and engaging.

Learning Approach

Fun activities and repetition let children recognizing the ABCs not only by sight, but by their phonetic pronunciation as well. Letters are sounded out, letting children build their identification skills and recognize them in the "real world."


The app is patient with young learners and never discouraging. 

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics

Kids can learn their ABCs at their own pace, recognizing not only the letters by sight, but their phonetic pronunciation as well. They also hear words that start with those letters, which can eventually help aid them as they learn to read. AlphaTots makes learning the ABCs a fun experience, with activities that revolve around the letters and a near-perfect sense of pacing.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

What's it about?

Kids tap on letters to get phonetic pronunciations of them, followed by a task using an action word that starts with that letter (for example, "add" candles to a cake for "A"). Kids can skip to other letters by holding their finger down on them for roughly four seconds.

Is it any good?


Spinlight Studios, the developers of the wonderful number-learning TallyTots, turn their attention to the alphabet in this creative and educational app. Learning isn't something that's viewed as a burden, but rather transformed into a game, which makes young kids want to use this app again and again. All letters are always on screen, letting kids explore where they want -- and accessing the familiar A-B-C song is just as easy. The interactive elements, which kick in after pronunciation on the letters is made clear, are very clever and engaging. Navigating alphabetically is a snap, but if the user wants to jump from, say "A" to "Z," they'll have to press that letter for 3-4 seconds, which might be beyond the attention span of the target audience.

Families can talk about...

  • Magnetic letters are a fun, physical way for kids to interact with the alphabet.

  • Encourage kids to notice print in their environment. Help them spell words they see on signs or books, and let them know what word they've spelled.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:May 18, 2011
Size:26.10 MB
Publisher:Spinlight Studio
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of AlphaTots was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Great handpicked alternatives

  • Learn the alphabet with tracing, puzzles, videos, and songs.
  • Great interactive tool for toddlers learning to count.
  • Slow-paced letter tracing app with a mild game element.

What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written byvickyneighborhood October 15, 2014

My four year old loves it

Very entertaining for my 4 year old.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Teen, 13 years old Written byMoviereviewawesome9 July 12, 2015
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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