Smart Home

5 ways your smart speakers can entertain your kids

Say goodbye to snow day boredom.

Credit: Amazon / Getty / kate_sept2004

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Winter will be sticking around through at least mid-March—and if you’re a parent who resides in a cold-weather climate, there’s a good chance the kids are going to have a few snow days where they’re stuck indoors.

When they run out of things to do, set them up with our favorite Alexa-enabled speaker, the Echo (third-generation), or one that offers Google Assistant like the Google Home Mini. Alexa and Google Assistant can keep your kiddos entertained for hours on a snow day with these five smart speaker skills.

1. Listen to a story

Group of kids listening to story
Credit: Getty / FatCamera

Storytime is a great way to keep your kids occupied, so why not enlist the help of Google Assistant or Alexa to read to them?

The Amazon Storytime skill is intended for ages 5 to 12 and includes more than 100 short stories. Kids can pick out a story from categories like bedtime, silly, family, friends, and more. There's also a Magic Story Wheel option that plays a "surprise set of stories."

Your children can ask Alexa things like, "Alexa, ask Amazon Storytime to tell me a LEGO story,” or, “Alexa, ask Amazon Storytime to tell me a bedtime story."

Like Alexa, Google Assistant can tell your child short stories like the classic tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and more with the Classic Stories action. To hear a story say, "Hey Google, tell me a fairytale story," or, "OK Google, tell me a story." They can also listen to stories from Disney’s Frozen II with the Frozen Stories action by saying, "Hey Google, tell me the Frozen story about the Northern Lights," or, "OK Google, tell me a Frozen story."

Get the Amazon Storytime Skill on Amazon

Get the Classic Stories action on Google

2. Have fun with music

Music
Credit: Getty / gradyreese / Google

The Nest Mini (left) can play music so your kids can have a dance party.

Kids usually make too much noise when they've been cooped up inside for a while—and you might want to let them stretch their vocal cords with the Kids Sing Along skill for Alexa-enabled devices. When they say, "Alexa, Open Kids Sing Along," they can begin a sing along game. The skill plays a nursery rhyme, tune from a kids' movie, or other age-appropriate song they've likely heard before.

To get it right, they have to correctly finish the next line of the song to advance to the next round. The skill is best suited for kids ages 5 to 9 and is built to handle the chatter and screeching that kids exhibit when getting a song right or wrong.

Have a toddler in the house? Your little one is going to love when your Google Home speaker plays the Baby Shark action over and over when you say, “Hey Google, talk to Baby Shark.” Additionally, The Wiggles action for Google Assistant is also ideal for younger kids who enjoy the Australian children's group. When they say, "Hey Google, talk to The Wiggles," they can dance, play games, listen to fun songs, and more.

Get the Kids Sing Along skill on Amazon

Get the Baby Shark action on Google

3. Play games

Play games
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Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa offer a selection of kids' games that your little ones can enjoy when they're bored.

When they're done playing board games and chasing each other around the house, your kids will enjoy the fast-paced fun that the Categories for Kids Alexa skill offers. Alexa begins with a fun category and they only have 30 seconds to say as many things that fit into the category before the clock runs out.

For example, the game may ask, "Name some things you find in the kitchen." The game is ideal for the whole family and you can start playing right away when you say, "Hey Alexa, open Kids Categories."

Your Google Assistant-enabled speaker can't pull a rabbit out of its hat, but the Magic Tricks action will make kids forget all about the powdery white stuff on the ground outside. The game includes tricks like guessing birthdays, favorite numbers, age, and more. To open the Magic Tricks game, say, "OK, Google, launch Magic Tricks."

Get the Categories for Kids skill on Amazon

Get the Magic Tricks action on Google

4. Test their knowledge during a round of trivia

Google Home
Credit: Google

Both Alexa and Google offer educational skills, like trivia, to test their knowledge at home.

Snow days often mean days away from school, and while your kids are probably happy about a break from the classroom, there’s no reason they can’t have some fun playing a few brain games like the highly-rated Kids Quiz skill on Amazon.

The skill, which has a 4.5 star-rating from 1,440 reviews, asks engaging and entertaining brain-teasing questions for kids about animals, science, and more. To play say, "Alexa, play Kids Quiz."

Have a Google Nest Mini (second generation) or Google Home Mini at home? Your kids can try out different quiz games like Animal Trivia, which is full of fun facts about gorillas' noses, lions' roars, and more. To start the game say, "Hey Google, I want to play Animal Trivia," or, "Hey Google, let's play Animal Trivia."

Get the Kids Quiz skill on Amazon

Get the Animal Trivia action on Google

5. Get some exercise—inside

Amazon Echo
Credit: Amazon

Amazon's Alexa offers more than 100,000 skills, including options for kids.

Just because it's snowing outside doesn't mean your kids can't get some good old-fashioned exercise indoors with the Animal Workout skill for Alexa users. The kids will love transforming into different animals like bugs, farm animals, make-believe creatures, and more—all while getting in plenty of movement like they might get outdoors. To play say, "Alexa, open Animal Workout."

Google is also full of fun games to keep your kids moving like Freeze Dance. The game can be played on a Google Home speaker or smart display like the Google Nest Hub. This game is great for days when the kids are stuck indoors because it encourages them to move and let out all of their pent-up energy in a fun way. To play, say, "Hey Google, talk to Freeze Dancers."

Get the Animal Workout skill on Amazon

Get the Freeze Dance action on Google

Of course, when they’re done playing games, they may still want to go roll around in the snow. But before your kids suit up in winter gear and head out the door, there’s one final question they may want to ask Alexa or Google: What’s the weather outside?

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