Smart Home

10 ways an Amazon Echo can help kids prep for back to school

Homework help? Just ask Alexa.

Kids on school bus and Echo Dot Credit: Amazon / Getty / Steven Kriemadis

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Schedules and studying tend to go out the window during the relaxing, school-free months of summer. But the carefree days of vacations, camps, and playdates are coming to a close for the season, which means it’s time to get the kids back on track for the start of another school year. How can you do it with ease? Just ask Alexa, of course.

Maybe you purchased a new Echo Show during Prime Day or have another Echo device in your home like the Echo Dot or our favorite Echo speaker, the second-generation Echo. If so, these speakers, as well as other Echo devices such as the Echo Spot, are all Alexa-enabled and feature with a plethora of skills that can help get your kids ready for another year in the classroom.

Alexa is getting smarter by the day and already has 80,000 skills that can be added to your Echo. We’ve dug through them and rounded up 10 Alexa skills to help kids get ready for school again. Just keep in mind that some Alexa kid skills may need to be authorized by a parent or guardian before using.

1. Wake up your late sleeper

Wake up
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The “Wake Up Clock” skill helps your child know when it's time to get up for school.

Summer is for staying up late and sleeping in, however, that can mean quite the adjustment for your child’s schedule once it’s time to go back to school. If your little one needs help adjusting back to early morning wake-ups, enable the “Wake Up Clock” skill on your Echo device. Your child can say things like, “Alexa, ask My Clock to set wake up time for 7 a.m.,” or “Alexa, ask My Clock if I can get up.” If you have multiple kids (and Echo devices), then you’ll appreciate the ability to set separate wake-up alarms on each of your Alexa-enabled devices.

2. Help your budding student practice math

Math
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The “1-2-3 Math” skill can help your child practice their math abilities.

After a couple of months away from the classroom, your student may need a quick refresh when it comes to numbers. The “1-2-3 Math” skill can help your child master elementary math basics like addition, subtraction, division, and more. The skill, which earned four stars from 1,087 reviews in the Alexa app, has three levels: easy, medium, and difficult. For each question your math whiz answers correctly, he or she earns one point. To play, say, “Alexa, open one two three,” and let the fun begin.

3. Prep for the SAT

Prep for the SAT
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Many students spend hours preparing for college admissions exams. The "SAT Word of the Day" skill can help.

Need a quick and easy way to help your older kid study for the SAT? Check out the “SAT Word of the Day” skill. The app includes definitions, spelling, and sample sentences, so your college-bound kid can brush up on their vocabulary before the big exam. After enabling the skill, your student can say things like, “Alexa, ask SAT Word of the Day what is the word of the day,” or “Alexa, launch SAT Word of the Day.”

4. Manage tasks and chores

Manage tasks and chores
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Tired of nagging at your child to do their chores? The "Daily Routine" skill can help them stay on task.

With a new school year looming, getting back into a routine can be a challenge for some students. “Daily Routine” creates a list of your teen's responsibilities like chores and tasks. To keep track of what's on the to-do list, say "Alexa, open Daily Routine" and she will read off the first item. Ready for the next task? Your kids can say, "Alexa, ask Daily Routine what's next." After completing items on the list, they can digitally check them off the list by saying, “Alexa, ask Daily Routine to mark an item as complete.”

5. Stay connected to your child even when you’re apart

Stay connected
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Your child can send you messages after school using the "Mommy-gram" skill.

Summer is usually full of family vacations and other fun leisurely outings with Mom and Dad. If your little one is experiencing separation anxiety heading into the school year, set them up with this Alexa skills so they can keep in touch with you throughout the day when they’re home after school with a grandparent, babysitter, or another caregiver. "Mommy-gram" is an Alexa skill that lets your child communicate with you while you're away. (Dads, don't worry. There's a "Daddy-gram" skill, too.) Using an Echo device, your child can say things like, "Alexa, ask Mommy-gram to say I love you" or "Alexa, ask Mommy-gram for new messages." The loving messages will be sent to your mobile phone in the form of a text, and you can respond with a notification that is sent to your Echo device.

6. Keeps track of classes

Class Schedule
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The "School Timetable" skill manages your child's class schedule.

Can’t keep up with your child’s new class schedule? Now you can with the "School Timetable" skill. For example, to add a class for the new school year say, "Alexa, tell School Timetable to set Monday to physics and history." To check what's on your child's upcoming academic agenda say, "Alexa, ask School Timetable what classes do I have tomorrow?" This skill can help your child make sure they're packing their backpack with the right class folders, homework, and other school necessities for the day ahead.

7. Help your child brush their teeth well

Brushing teeth
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The "Chompers" skill plays fun and educational content while your child brushes their teeth for the recommended amount of time.

My daughter doesn’t like to spend time in the bathroom brushing her teeth, but the “Chompers” skill is helping make the necessary daily task more enjoyable for her. The skill, which is recommended for children ages 3 to 7, plays jokes, riddles, stories, fun facts, and other interesting tidbits that will keep your child occupied while brushing for 120 seconds. (The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day.)

8. Get the weather to help your child dress appropriately

Weather
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Alexa can give you the forecast for the day ahead, so you know whether to grab the jacket or not.

Getting dressed, especially when dealing with young children, can be a challenge sometimes, however, this skill can help your child know what to wear to school based on the day’s weather forecast. Your Alexa-enabled Echo speaker has a built-in weather skill, so there’s no need to enable this one. All your student has to ask is, “Alexa, what is the weather today?” before getting dressed in the morning. Wondering whether you should pack a poncho in your kid’s backpack? Just ask, “Alexa, is it going to rain today?” Now there shouldn't be any more last-minute outfit changes before the bell rings.

9. Use brainteasers and quizzes to make learning fun

brainteasers
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Thanks to brainteasers and educational questions, the "Kids Quiz" skill can make learning fun.

If your child is between the ages of 5 and 12, then you might want to enable the "Kids Quiz” skill on your Echo device. The skill, which has 4.5 stars out of 603 reviews, is full of questions about animals, science, and more that can help reinforce what your child has learned in the classroom. And, they may even pick up a few new fun facts along the way. To launch the quiz, your child can say, "Alexa, open Kids Quiz" or, "Alexa, start Kids Quiz."

10. Play soothing lullabies to help your child get a good night’s rest

Play soothing lullabies
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After a long day at school, the "Sleep Sounds" skill can help your child fall into a restful slumber.

Fresh off summer break, your child may feel exhausted when adjusting back to busy days back in the classroom coupled with after school activities and events. Help your child unwind at the end of the day by enabling the “Sleep Sounds: Sleep Little Babies” skill. The name may lead you to believe it's just for infants, but children of any age can drift off into slumber listening to sounds like heavy rain, wind chimes, or ocean waves. When your child is ready for bed, ask Alexa to "open Sleep Little Babies," and sounds will begin to play on an automatic loop. Need to set a timer for a certain amount of time? Just say, "Alexa, set a sleep timer for two hours" (or however long you'd like the sounds to play).

These Alexa skills can help your kids get ready for school again, and, hopefully, will make the return to the classroom easier on you, too. Now, if only Alexa could pack lunch for the kids during busy weekday mornings. A mom can dream.

By the way, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can use your Alexa-enabled device to order classroom supplies, as well as reorder any previous purchases you might need again for the start of the school year.