Kids will be kids. That’s why “I’m bored” will continue to be a popular refrain forever and ever. You’re always on a quest to solve it. Actually, this is an easy one. And you probably have it in your home already. In fact, a recent survey from Voicebot Research reported that over one-third of U.S. adults said they had a smart speaker in the home, and nearly 50% use the device daily. That’s almost 90 million people.
Got the answer? Ask Alexa. Amazon has made great strides in providing home entertainment for kids and adults alike with their suite of devices that use the Alexa command system. Alexa games are the new way for kids to stay active and engaged indoors, and they can put a new spin on family time, too.
Getting started with Alexa skills for kids
In order to use Alexa’s Kid Skills functions, you need to open the Alexa app on your phone or tablet and toggle to the Kid Skills option located in the Settings menu.
Once the Kids Skills option is enabled, you can simply ask your smart speaker to play the Alexa games of your choice by saying, “Alexa, play [name of game].” No additional downloading is required, though some Alexa games require additional permissions and you may run across a few that require payment.
Best Alexa games for kids and families
“Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” – This game allows kids to answer questions from five popular school subjects. After each correct answer, participants graduate to the next grade.
“1-2-3 Math“ – It’s a math challenge that tests elementary math skills, and it includes three modes: easy, medium, hard. The game can be played throughout the day, so if your child cannot answer the question right away, they can figure out the answer and get back into the game at any time.
Games for younger kids
“Animal Workout” – This game inspires kids to pretend to be different animals while being physically active along the way.
“Lemonade Stand” – This game simulates the trials and tribulations of owning a lemonade stand. Alexa will determine the weather forecast for the simulated day, and then the players can manage their virtual business while learning about money-, resource- and time-management skills.
Games for teens
“Starfinder” – Some of Audible’s top voice actors come together with screen actors such as Nathan Fillion (“Firefly”) and Laura Bailey (“Critical Role”) to present an interactive audio adventure game. You play an interactive storytelling game combining sci-fi, combat and engaging characters, all set on a space station.
“Yes Sire” – Set in medieval times, this interactive storytelling game allows players to try their hand at running a feudal fiefdom. You have to manage peasants, fend off nobility and please a discerning king in this game of tough choices.
“Song Quiz” – It’s fun for all ages as you try to guess the titles of popular songs from the past 60 years. If you get the correct artist and title, you get points. You can compete against music fans from around the country in this trivia game.
“Trivial Pursuit Tap” – Compete with family members to answer trivia questions from six different categories. The game also supports two to four Echo buttons, so you can buzz in with your answers.
Is Alexa safe for children?
Alexa devices are connected to the internet, so like other places on the web, you will need to monitor your child’s usage to keep them safe. Parental controls can be configured via the FreeTime app, which is a parental control program for Amazon’s family of devices and services. With FreeTime, you don’t need to have a special Amazon Echo device for your kids, as they can use any device you’ve enabled for them. It’s easy to use the FreeTime app:
- Launch the Alexa app
- Go to Alexa Devices
- Select your Alexa device
- Tap FreeTime under General
- Turn FreeTime on
- Select Setup Amazon FreeTime
- Fill in your child’s information and click Add Child
- Sign In with your Amazon Password and click “I Agree” on the Parental Consent page
You can turn off Alexa services by visiting Amazon’s Parent Dashboard. You can turn off calling and messaging and the drop-in feature and turn on a filter to weed out music with explicit lyrics or content. You can also subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited for a small fee, which gives your kids access to unlimited kid-friendly content like ad-free radio, games, apps, videos and books. You can still have control over what your kids see by accessing the Parent Dashboard.
Alexa can help keep the family in touch
Do some favorite family members live far away? Alexa can help close the distance. Consider investing in the Amazon Echo Show 8, a video calling device in the Alexa family of services. If you buy one device for your home and another for a loved one who is a plane or long car trip away, you can keep in touch remotely anytime.
And don’t worry about getting family members set up on their own. Amazon has put together this short guide to helping family members or caregivers set up an Echo Show remotely. Both parties will need to have access to a reliablehome internet connection—fiber, if you can get it, is worth the investment. It’s not quite the same as enjoying a hug from grandma, but it will keep everyone connected until that big family reunion.
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