Photo courtesy: Amazon.com, Inc.
What’s the best way to end a tot’s temper tantrum before it starts? If you live in a smart home, just ask Alexa! Not since jingling the keys has diversion been as easy as it is with Amazon’s virtual personal assistant. Want to launch some serious fun with your home assistant? Here’s the ultimate list of amazing things you and your kids can ask Amazon’s Alexa.
“Alexa, open Amazon Storytime.”
Amazon now offers professionally-narrated stories for kids ages 5 to 12. Super helpful if you just need the kids to sit still and chill for a few minutes.
“Alexa, start Kids Court.”
Have a sibling or family argument you need to settle right now? The Kids Court Alexa skill takes the kids to court, where they can duke it out within the structure of the U.S. judicial system in a manner that’s surprisingly fair.
“Alexa, ask Silly Things to tell me to do something silly.”
If you kid won’t listen to you, maybe they’ll listen to Alexa? This Alexa skill certainly worth the entertainment value alone.
“Alexa, moo like a cow.”
If you can’t get your kid to calm down, maybe the bark of a dog, the squeal of a dolphin or the roar of a lion will do it. According to the Animal Sounds Alexa skill creator, users can ask to hear the sounds of a “baboon, bear, bobcat, cat, cow, coyote, hippopotamus, lemur, lion, spider, monkey, spider monkey, rooster—and more.”
“Alexa, hum something.”
Turns out Alexa can hum—and can actually carry a tune.
“Alexa, open Curiosity.”
This cool Alexa skill gives users a choice between two topics, asking, “Are you curious about X or Y?” and gives a great overview of the topic in easy-to-understand language. After each topic, Alexa will ask if you want to learn more about the topic or learn about something else, keeping those ever-curious young minds satisfied.
“Alexa, what’s the weather?”
Not sure if they need to put on galoshes or snow boots? Alexa’s weather skill has your back. You can also ask for the weather in cities around the world, too.
“Alexa, open the box of cats.”
Obviously, no actual box of cats materializes, but you’ll hear what happens. Usually, it’s cats. But sometimes users will get a surprise…
“Alexa, tell me a knock-knock joke.”
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. You can also ask, “Alexa, tell me a joke” but be prepared for some pretty terrible puns.
“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, flip a coin.”
Need to quickly settle an argument or a bet? You don’t even need to dig for loose change in the couch for this Alexa skill.
“Alexa, how far away is the Moon?”
You can ask Alexa all kinds of scientific facts, from how big the Earth is to the order of the planets, to how deep the ocean is. You can also ask geographic questions, too, such as state and world capitals. This is great for when your kids stump you asking for a random factoid.
“Alexa, play 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, start the spelling game.”
Your future Scripps’ Spelling Bee champion can brush up his or her spelling skills with this fun spelling bee Alexa skill.
“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, start Zoo Walk.”
Not only will the Alexa make cool animal noises, she invites your curious kiddo to try and guess the animal that makes each sound.
“Alexa, do you want to build a snowman?”
Young Frozen fans will love hearing how Alexa answers this one.
“Alexa, play Jeopardy.“
What is, “How to keep my kid occupied while I cook?” for 100, Alexa? You can also ask, “Alexa, play Teen Jeopardy” for your teenaged aspiring game show stars.
“Alexa, I love you.”
Cons of humanizing artificial intelligence aside, it’s good to know your Alexa loves you, too.
“Alexa, open the Magic Door.”
This command will cue the eerie 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, play Would You Rather.”
Ah, the game of impossible choices—now in a totally family-friendly version.
“Alexa, sing ‘Happy Birthday.'”
Yes, Alexa can sing you “Happy Birthday” 365 days of the year—366 if your kid is a Leap Year baby. Be warned—once your kids know they can ask this, you might hear Alexa’s slightly creepy rendition of birthday greetings when you least expect it.
“Alexa, Flatter Me.”
Does your little one need an ego boost? Perfect for tough days, the Flatter Me Alexa skill gives you a little pick-me-up for the awesome job you’re doing.
“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, ask Magic 8-Ball if [insert yes or no question here].”
Did you know Alexa has her very own Magic 8-Ball? No shaking required.
“Alexa, call [person’s name].”
Yes, you can make calls with Alexa—but only to other Alexa users (including users who have Alexa installed on their smartphone). You can also leave messages on other Echos, Dots or Spots to which you’re connected. The Alexa device flashes yellow when there’s a message. This is great for saying a quick hello to grandparents if your kiddo has already wrestled your phone away from you to play that new Harry Potter mobile game.
“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 Amazon’s expansive music library.
“Alexa, ask for a fart.”
This is the Amazon Alexa Skill of Ultimate Last Resort. 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!
—Melissa Hecksher, with additional reporting by Keiko Zoll