Best Apps for Alphabet, First Words and Stories

Language and literacy|

There is no sweeter sound than the first time your baby calls you “mama”. But unless you want to hear “mama” on repeat (a toddler favourite), you are well advised to teach your little ones a few more words to expand their vocabulary. Here is a roundup of some great apps for your under 5’s to learn the Alphabet, First Words and Stories. These language and literacy apps are interactive and engaging and have been chosen because they involve the caregiver and are easily integrated into daily physical activities.

Alphabet Apps

alphabet apps

Mini U Zoo Alphabet
Cost: $2.99
Skills: Language & Critical Thinking

The diverse activities and striking visuals used for the 29 illustrated and animated cards sets this app apart from other alphabet apps. Each card has a letter with an animal starting with that letter. Your little one can swipe or touch an animal to see it jump, run, hide or change colour in study or quiz mode, with the option to either use the phonetic letter sound or the letter name.

interactive alphabet toddler app

Interactive Alphabet
Cost: $2.99
Skills: Critical Thinking & Language

Interactive Alphabet provides four options for exploring letters. They can learn the ABC’s, the phonetic sounds, write individual letters and read words. Similar to Mini U Zoo Alphabet, each letter is presented  with an interactive image but takes it a step further by allowing parents to create custom flashcards using their own voice and images. The tracing mode can be personalised to right and left handed options and even introduces a typing mode to teach touch typing.

alpha tots

Alpha Tots
Cost: $2.99
Skills: Language

This is another great tool for learning the alphabet in a highly interactive way. The letters of the alphabet are taught with practical elements that are fun to do such as assembling a building for the letter B or cutting strings for the letter C. It is accompanied with the staple ABC song and all letters are always on the screen for easy navigation.

First Words Apps

peekaboo barn app

Peekaboo Barn
Cost: $1.99
Skills: Langugage & Vocabulary

Peekaboo Barn uses the universally popular “peekaboo” game to teach vocabulary. The game consists of matching animals to the noises they make, as well as exploring the letters that spell the animal’s name. Your toddler taps the barn door which opens to reveal an animal whose name appears on the screen. This is accompanied with a voice that says the name with10 languages to choose from. Best of all, there is an option for parents to record their own voice.

toddler flashcards app

Toddler Flashcards
Cost: Free to try
Skills: Vocabulary & Language

This language learning app covers easy to advanced categories including foods, objects, animals, alphabet, numbers, shapes and colours. You get 20 Free Flashcards in 13 languages including Arabic, Russian, Hindi and Farsi and can upgrade the app to unlock 200 more cards.

touch look listen app

Touch, Look, Listen – My First Words
Cost: $1.99
Skills: Language & Literacy

Touch, Look, Listen is like a real board book but has the flexibility of selecting a second language. Each page has bright and colourful images which are introduced by a playful rhyme. When  your little ones tap a picture, they see and hear the word for it, making this a powerful tool for learning new words as well as reinforcing those they already know.


Storytime Apps

nighty night app

Nighty Night
Cost: $1.99
Skills: Cause & Effect

This is another strikingly beautiful app that teaches cause and effect as the child takes control over the animals bedtime. This short interactive story about going to bed allows kids to tap the rooms of the barn that have lights on. They learn that they can tap on the animal to play with it while the lights are on but have to turn off the lights to get the animal to go to sleep. Once the lights are off they can’t wake the animal up despite the occasional stir. A good lesson to enforce that lights out means time to sleep.

moo baa la la la app

Moo Baa La La La
Cost: $2.99
Skills: Listening

This classic board book by Sandra Boynton takes on an interactive life and can be read with or without narration. Each individual word can be spoken aloud when tapped on, and your toddler also gets to hear each animal sound as the story is being told. For a bit of interaction, your child gets to play with the animals through fun and imaginative animations with pleasant surprises along the way.

very hungry caterpillar

The very hungry Caterpillar
Cost: $4.99
Skills: Fine Motor, Nurturing

Another classic children’s book, Eric Carle’s  “The Very hungry caterpillar” gets a digital makeover that does not require any reading or dialogue. It consists mainly of tapping and dragging accompanied by tinkling music box sounds. Kids will enjoy taking care of their caterpillar and gardens as they learn about nurturing and exploration while leaving room for imagination and creating a new story line every time they play.

Communication is the cornerstone of human relationships which makes these apps a great starting point for this series of Apps for Toddlers and their wranglers. Next up is a selection of apps that teach toddlers about music and counting.



  1. August 25, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Thanks for the list. There are so many toddler apps! Way more than when I had my first toddler. It’s overwhelming to look through it all without some guidance. Toddler Flashcards is a classic from way back when my first was a toddler, happy to see it still makes the cut!

    • thecuratorlady
      August 25, 2017 / 12:25 pm

      Glad you found this useful. I trawled the interwebs, tried and tested and selected the best. Look out for upcoming posts where I cover the best apps for learning shapes, colours, numbers and music. I even selected ones for health, hygiene and emotional development!

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