photo: Amazon

What’s the best way to end a tot’s temper tantrum before it starts? If you’ve got a tech-wired home, just ask Alexa! Not since jingling the keys has diversion been as easy as it is with Amazon’s “virtual personal assistant.”

Want some serious distractions? Here are 10 amazing things you (and your kids) can ask an Amazon Echo.

Alexa, open the magic door!
This command will cue the eery sound of a door creaking, which will launch Alexa straight into a choose-your-own adventure-style story. Your kid will be immediately silenced so she can hear the story and make some quick decisions to keep it going the right way. Note: This one takes about 10 minutes, which makes it a nice wind-down tool after dinner and before bed.

Alexa, launch animal sounds.
If you can’t get your kid to calm down, maybe the squeal of a dolphin or the roar of a lion will do it.


Alexa, open Knock Knock.
Lighten the mood with a joke! Your kids will love interacting with Alexa, and she’ll wait for them to say “Who’s there” before spilling the silly punchline.

Alexa, launch Guess the Number.
Alexa will “think” of a number between 1 and 100 and your kids have to guess it while she directs them “higher” or “lower.”

Alexa, Twenty Questions.
This one is just as much fun for parents as it is for the kiddos. See how smart Alexa really is as she figures out what you’re thinking. It’s uncanny.

Alexa, open Bedtime Story.
Alexa will tell a quick (about a minute long!) bedtime story with your child’s name in it. Fun fact: It usually ends with something like, “Now it’s time for you to go to bed. No, you can’t have any more water.” Oh, Alexa, you know us!

Alexa, open Laugh Box.
Alexa’s Laugh Box will play all sorts of giggles, but we think the baby laugh is the best one to get the Littles laughing, too.

Alexa, do you want to build a snowman?
Young Frozen fans will love hearing how Alexa answers this one.

Alexa, play [insert child’s favorite song here].
Alexa is, at its heart, a speaker made for music. So let her blast out the Doc McStuffins’ theme song if it helps cheer things up. Or, if it’s just you who needs the cheering, just make your pick and rock it out, Mama! Alexa can play pretty much anything you ask of her, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime or Amazon Music Unlimited member, which gives you access to an expansive music library.

Alexa, ask for a fart. 
OK, so we recommend you only pull out this one when you’re really, really desperate. Because once your kids know that Alexa can fart (in multiple ways), they’ll be asking for it. All. The. Time.

Want more? Watch this adorable video of kids trying to stump Alexa.

Do you have an Amazon Echo? What’s your favorite way to use it? Tell us in the comments below!