Sure, the Amazon Echo is great for looking things up on the internet or playing music, but it can also be a valuable tool for helping kids learn or stay entertained, all done with just the power of your voice. Here are 15 Alexa skills that will appeal to the children (or even the adults) in your household.
Credit: Shutterstock; Amazon
The classic kids' show is now on the Amazon Echo with the Sesame Street skill, aimed at preschoolers. Children can interact with fan-favorite character Elmo, learning about the letter of the day and playing hide-and-go-seek, complete with silly sound effects.
Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty
Fans of the under-the-sea cartoon characters will enjoy this chance to interact with their favorite characters from SpongeBob in this memory challenge game. You'll fill orders for the hungry customers of the Krusty Krab, but the tasks become trickier as you go along, so pay attention! After every shift, you'll get your score and see how you did.
It's only natural that Amazon would combine its affinity for books with the Echo, and the result is Amazon Storytime, which offers a selection of short stories for kids ages 5-12. Kids (or adults) can ask Alexa to tell them a story, pulled from Amazon's Rapids collection. Amazon also says Audible integration is on the way to provide an even broader library.
Have a kid who just loves space? NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers this skill, which lets you ask Alexa questions about Mars, like "How big is it?" or "Why is it red?" The skill also provides weekly updates from NASA about the rovers roaming the surface of the Red Planet.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.
Building vocabulary is an integral part of education, and Alexa can help kids learn a new term every day with the Word of the Day skill. It integrates with the Flash Briefing to provide you a new word every day, including the definition and how to use the word in a sentence, with more than a little humor thrown into the mix.
Alexa can help your kids enhance their math prowess with the 1-2-3 Math skill. It tests basic arithmetic using timed questions, offering three difficulty levels so kids can take it easy or challenge themselves. There's even a scoring feature to introduce a competitive element.
Don't end up doomed to repeat history; try the History Channel's This Day in History skill. You can ask Alexa about the most prominent event on the particular day you're asking, or on any day you like. If you want to dig deeper, the skill will also tell you about other events from the day.