Tech Tuesday: Alexa skills

If you are one of the many who purchased an Amazon Echo as a Christmas gift or for yourself,  check out this article from Common Sense Media highlighting some of the educational things that kids and teens can do with it.

To read the full article, click HERE.

19 Great Alexa Skills for Kids and Teens

 By Christine Elgersma 

19 Great Alexa Skills for Kids and Teens

“Alexa, entertain my kid with high-quality content.” If you have an Echo device, you know this is a tall order. Not only is Alexa a finicky listener, but you need to launch specific “skills” to get the device to do what you want. With hundreds of skills in a huge range of categories listed on the Amazon Alexa app or website, it can take some digging to find the good stuff. But if you do dig, you’ll be rewarded with some pretty sweet games and activities, including interactive storytellingmath practiceexercisegames to play together, and more.

To find the best skills, go to the Amazon Alexa app or the Alexa section of the Amazon website. Start in the Kids section and look for skills with lots of reviews and a high star rating. Also check out the Games, Trivia, & Accessories category or the Education & Reference section. If you or your kid is really ambitious, you can even create your own skill. And, of course, before you do any of this, look into the possible privacy concerns of using a smart speaker in the first place.

Check out the educational and entertaining skills we’ve hand-picked for your little kid, big kid, tween, or teen or for the whole family.

Little kids

Animal Workout. To get little kids moving, this skill tells them to pretend to be a certain animal and do movements to match while music plays. It’s especially great for those rainy or snowy days when kids need to burn off some energy inside. Try it alongside your kid for even more fun. Say, “Alexa, open Animal Workout.”

Chompers. Ever have trouble getting your kids to brush their teeth (or do it for more than 10 seconds)? This skill will entertain your kids for two minutes by doing things like singing a kid-authored story or telling jokes. Just make sure your kid isn’t so distracted that they stop brushing altogether. Say, “Alexa, start Chompers.”

Mommy-gram. When you have to be away from home and your kid is too little to text or call on their own, they can use this skill to touch base. After they say their message to Alexa, it will send it to you via text message, and then you can respond. (It works for all parents, of course.) Say, “Alexa, launch Mommy-gram.”

Sesame Street. No surprises here: Elmo leads kids through an activity about the letter of the day and plays hide-and-seek so kids “find” him through sound cues and multiple-choice options. Say, “Alexa, open Sesame Street.”

Big kids

1-2-3 Math. With word problems addressing a variety of math skills, this activity requires careful listening. Though the math on the Easy level is fairly simple, the Medium and Hard levels are likely challenging enough for upper elementary school students, especially if applying math skills — or word problems in general — is tricky for them. Say, “Alexa, open 1-2-3 Math.”

Focus Game. This simple activity asks kids to sit down, relax, and just listen to sounds such as gongs until the sound fades. You can use the Focus Game as a standalone activity or to calm kids before they settle down for homework. Though not all the prompts will work for all kids, the question “How does your body feel when you focus?” is a solid way for kids to reflect and recapture a focused state. Say, “Alexa, ask Focus Game to start.”

To read the full article at commonsensemedia.org, click HERE

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