That is until I found this.
It is the best $20 kids' toy I have bought. Each letter is durable with a big magnet. You can put each letter in the "station" to hear (for example) "B....B says Bu, B says Bu, every letter makes a sound, B says Bu." That is Little Miss's favorite because she thinks it says, which she repeats in a fit of giggles, "B says butt." It will also play the alphabet song. All in all, it's a great little gadget. Tractor Boy will occasionally play with it. Mostly he uses the letters to spell words, but once in awhile will plug them in. I am considering buying another set so we will be able to spell words that require the same letter....like, mommy! :) Oops, that's would be 3 sets, I suppose. Anyway, if you have kids and want them to learn the alphabet, go get this! Unless of course you would rather sit down with them and actually teach them yourself. But really, who has time for that?!