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Eight Ways Alexa Can Entertain Your Kid: The best Alexa skills for kids
Both my father and my husband are suckers for gadgets. These guys love electronic doo-dads and are forever discussing the latest and greatest gizmos. I’m more of an analog girl myself, but after learning to use our Alexa I have slowly come around to seeing how helpful it can actually be. It started when my Dad gifted us a Sonos One player with built-in Alexa software for the holidays last year.
Surely they both knew that music would be the thing to tempt me over to their side. We set up the Sonos in between the living room and kitchen where we could request Pandora radio stations, Spotify playlists, or even local radio. I found myself using it more and more, and before I knew it I was also using it to set timers, look up recipes, and keep track of my grocery list. We have a smart bulb in the lamp on our bedside table which we dim and change color every night to accommodate the different phases of bedtime.
Our Bedtime Night Light Routine
- Jammies = bright and cool white.
- Books = dimmed 50% and soft white.
- Lullaby = dimmed to 1% and blue.
- Sleep = off.
We had been using an app on our phones to control the bedroom light, so when Prime Day rolled around and I saw Amazon Echos on sale I decided to jump on the deal. Now we could control the light by voice and use Alexa for even more – like setting alarms for morning wakeups, playing music, checking the weather before rolling out of bed, and even telling bedtime stories.
It’s been a hot summer here in Austin. In fact, this year’s heat wave has been one of the hottest and longest on record. Having a newborn and a four year old to keep busy all summer long has been a real challenge. It’s too hot outside for the baby, and most indoor play places are too full of germs for someone who hasn’t had her shots yet.
So that leaves us stuck inside and bored out of our minds. If I thought it was hard to keep a four year old busy before, I had no idea what I was in for after weeks of going stir-crazy. There was crying. There was yelling. There were random acts of destruction. It wasn’t pretty, folks. When the Echo arrived it occurred to me that it might be able to help. Surely there were some Alexa skills for kids out there!
We ended up trying out a ton of Alexa skills for kids this summer. The following skills are perfect for getting the wiggles out of my four-year old while I’m stuck under a nursing baby or for calming him down at the end of the day.
(This is the echo we keep in our bedroom, by the way. Ours is white, and it’s pretty tiny.)
And here are some clips of Charlie enjoying some quality robot time. Thank you, Alexa!
Alexa Skills for Kids (Play Time)
Animal Workout – This is by far our favorite game on Alexa, and I love watching him play just as much. Alexa tells him which animal to be and what kind of silly activity to play along with. It’s ridiculously cute and usually keeps him busy for a good five minutes, PLUS he’s exercising.
Freeze Dancers – Another house favorite, music plays and we all have to dance until it stops. Then Alexa asks who kept dancing when the music stopped. The resulting accusations typically include a lot of giggling and pointing and are almost as fun as the dance-off.
Play Music – I don’t know about your kids, but Charlie has very strong preferences when it comes to music. The first thing we did when we got our device was connect it to our Pandora and Spotify accounts. We can ask Alexa to play our favorite Pandora station for background music or load up a special playlist or specific song for a quick dance party or sing-along.
Alexa Skills for Kids (Anytime)
Kid Jokes – My kid loves jokes – the cornier the better, so this skill is perfect for him. He loves learning new jokes and I love getting cracked up when he tries to retell them later.
Kids News – This is a fun daily ritual for kids and a light-hearted break from the ever-depressing world of grownup news. It usually includes brief stories about things happening around the world, kid-relevant trivia, and letting you know what random holiday it supposedly is. My one complaint is that these holidays always seem to involve asking your parents for ice cream. WTF Alexa? Like he’s not already asking me for ice cream enough?
Twenty Questions – A kids classic turned tech. You think something up and Alexa tries to guess what it is using yes or no questions. This skill is a little bit buggy at times, but it can be a lot of fun. And she’s actually pretty good at guessing!
Alexa Skills for Kids (Quiet Time)
Animal Yoga – This skill is similar to Animal Workout but goes at a slower pace and encourages yoga-inspired stretching and posing. Kids also get to choose which animal to pose as for each turn.
Audible Books – Audible has been a HUGE hit at our house. Charlie will almost always settle down and listen to a story. It’s even better when we have the book at home and he can follow along with the pictures. I’ve found that the best bang for your buck is to sign up with Audible and to use your monthly credits to buy story collections. So far, these have been our favorite picks:
Deal Alert: Right now you can get two free audio books when you sign up for Audible on Amazon!