From teaching manners to leading dinosaur-themed adventures to helping vacuum crumbs off the floor, Amazon Alexa offers all kinds of skills to educate, occupy, and entertain kids. Hell, there’s even one that will make her fart, and what kid could resist that? But with 30,000 skills available in the US alone, no parent has the time to browse them all in search of hidden gems. Which is why did it for you. Focusing on popular skills kids can use with an Amazon Echo or Dot, with or without the help of an adult, we found 10 really cool ones that are either educational or just fun to play with.
‘Question of the Day’
What It Does: ‘Question of the Day’ asks daily trivia questions about any number of subjects including history, math, science, and pop culture.
Engineered By: VoicePress.AIWhy Kids Like It: For the same reason adults like Jeopardy, it’s fun to see how smart you are. Kids also enjoy trying to outsmart each other and their parents.What Kids Learn: Interesting facts about a wide range of subjects.Best For: Breakfast in the morning or an end of the day hang out with the family. Enable here.
‘Ambient Sound, Thunderstorm Sound’
What It Does: Creates realistic thunderstorm sound effects that make you feel like you’re in the middle of a storm. It plays for an hour, by default but can be set to loop all night.
Engineered By: Invoked Apps, LLCWhy Kids Like It: It’s the equivalent of a white-noise machine. The ambient thunderstorm drowns out other noises and makes going to bed fun.What Kids Learn: Not much. It’s just a fun app with cool sounds.Best For: Kids who have trouble sleeping at night, and kids who like the sound of the outdoors. Enable here.
‘The Magic Door’
What It Does: ‘The Magic Door’ is a text-based adventure game from the 1970s brought into the 21st century. Kids are introduced to different magical places and characters and the game unfolds based on how they interact.
Engineered By: Magic Door, LLCWhy Kids Like It: It’s an audio-based adventure game where they can play in several different magical regions and run into wizards, gnomes, and princesses while solving riddles and puzzles.What Kids Learn: The game isn’t really educational, but kids can practice their decision-making skills and see how their actions affect the flow of the game.Best For: Younger children because the stories are pretty straightforward and don’t offer the sort of freedom older kids might expect. Enable here.
What It Does: Blows tiny minds. Filled with bits of knowledge about all sorts of subjects ⏤ from science and medicine to fashion and music ⏤ the skill asks what topic you want to learn about and then regales you.
Engineered By: Curiosity.comWhy Kids Like It: Instead of quizzing them, ‘Curiosity’ simply fills kids in on facts about subjects they’re interested in. It’s like an audio internet dark hole.What Kids Learn: Tons about math, mythology, science, geography, and more.Best For: Kids who like to ask a lot of questions and parents who are tired of answering them. Enable here.
‘Short Bedtime Story’
What It Does: A break from traditional book-bound story time, this skill takes the names of the kids listening and uses them to make goofy stories.
Engineered By: WebguildWhy Kids Like It: Alexa incorporates their names into unique, funny stories they can listen to with their parents before going to sleep.What Kids Learn: Not much other than how to spin a good yarn.Best For: Younger kids and families who like to read/tell stories before bedtime. Enable here.
What It Does: Tailor-made for future astronauts, ‘NASA’ Mars provides news, updates, and facts about the red planet.
Engineered By: Jet Propulsion Library.Why Kids Like It: Because Mars is awesome.What Kids Learn: All the latest information about the fourth planet from the sun. Updates on current missions, facts about Mars, and a little about what NASA does in general.Best For: kids with an insatiable appetite for space. Enable here.
What It Does: It gives fun updates on upbeat and positive kid-relevant news.
Engineered By: J6 Labs.Why Kids Like It: Not only are the stories entertaining and inspiring, but kids can feel as in the know as mom and dad.What Kids Learn: About holidays, kid-friendly events, and weird science stories unfolding in the world around them.Best For: Families that want their kids to be informed about current affairs but don’t want them watching the evening news before bed. Enable here.
‘Would You Rather For Family’
What It Does: Presents players with different, terrible (but entirely kid-appropriate) scenarios and asks them which they would rather live through.
Engineered By: Voice Games with alt Inc.Why Kids Like it: They get a kick out of watching each other choose between the crazy scenarios.What Kids Learn: About themselves, their friends, and family.Best For: Playing over dinner or as part of a family game night. Enable here.
What It Does: ‘Earplay’ is an interactive, age-appropriate audio play complete with sound effects and voice acting. It’s similar to, but a little more advanced than, ‘The Magic Door’ and includes multiple possible outcomes.
Engineered by: EarplayWhy Kids Like it: It’s part game and part storytelling app and it’s highly entertaining.What Kids Learn: This one is more about fun than learning.Best For: Imaginative kids who like drama and make-believe play. Enable here.
What It Does: Exactly what you’d expect: It gives out compliments. No more, no less. And while it sounds simple, those little sparks of positivity go a long way.
Engineered By: 3PO LabsWhy Kids Like it: It’s light-hearted, cute, and gives out endless compliments.What Kids Learn: Not educational, just fun.Best For: Very young children. With only one function, it can get old fast for older kids. Enable here.