10 Ways Alexa is Making our Holidays MagicalDecember 18, 2018
This post was sponsored by Amazon as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Growing up, the holidays were the most magical time of year! I remember so many fond holiday moments from my childhood, such as baking yummy treats, trimming the tree, making handmade ornaments, seeing Christmas light displays in the neighborhood, listening to festive tunes and so much more. Now as a mom, I am striving to make the holidays seem magical for my own daughters. Thanks to Amazon Alexa, it’s easier than ever to rock the holidays as a family!
We recently added Echo Dot Kids Edition to our list of smart home gadgets. We already have a few traditional Echo devices and an Echo Show, along with a smart thermostat, smart doorbell, smart toothbrush, smart light bulbs and more. I use all my Alexa devices to play music, read the news, control smart home gadgets, tell jokes and more. The Echo Dot Kids Edition is the perfect addition to our home, because it’s designed with kids in mind! Many families have grown to love Alexa over the years, and now the Echo Dot Kids Edition provides the perfect kid-oriented Alexa experience! For example, the built-in Parental Dashboard makes it super easy to keep track of usage and activities. Plus, the kid-friendly case and two-year worry-free guarantee give me total peace of mind.
Ready to hear how we’re using Alexa? Here are some ways we are rocking the holiday season thanks to our Echo Dot Kids Edition and other Alexa devices!
1. Set a timer!
When we are baking cookies together as a family, it is so convenient to be able to use voice commands to tell Alexa to set a timer. I don’t have touch the stove timer with dirty, batter-covered fingers. I can simply ask Alexa to set a timer. Plus, one of Sophia’s daily homework assignments is to read a book (any book) for a full fifteen minutes. We use Alexa’s timer function to make sure she is sitting still and reading for the full time period. She has been loving some of the Christmas books that I saved from when I was a kid!
Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes!
2. Create a shopping list!
To keep track of what I need to buy during the holiday season, I always create a shopping list – it’s the easiest way to make sure I don’t overspend and to make sure I don’t forget anyone. I have found that being able to narrate my list to Alexa saves me time & effort. I can always view the list in bullet point format on my smartphone and check things off as I go through the store! Convenient & practical! Even my kids like to narrate lists via Alexa!
Alexa, create a shopping list!
3. Control lights!
Decorating the Christmas tree together as a family is one of our favorite traditions. This year, we plugged our Christmas tree right into a smart plug that we linked to our Amazon account. This way, I can control our Christmas tree lights with the power of my voice. The kids really do get a kick out of this feature… and have been known to turn the lights on & off multiple times in a row! 😉
Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree!
4. Put on music!
With the power of your voice, you can ask Alexa to play holiday music. I love that the Echo Dot Kids Edition gives kids access to age-appropriate music and even kid-friendly audiobooks. When they are listening to music on the Echo Dot Kids Edition, I don’t have to worry about the lyrics at all (I can block explicit lyrics). Plus, thanks to various Alexa Skills, Character Alarms and more, the kids can personalize their experience with Alexa in so many fun ways. We have the Echo Show and when it plays music, it displays the cover album art and title/artist right on the screen! Awesome, right?
Alexa, play Christmas music!
5. Ask fun questions!
One of the best features of Alexa is the fact that you can interact with it! You can ask a wide variety of random questions… everything from whether reindeer fly to whether Alexa believes in Santa. My kids have so much fun asking Alexa random questions! It’s an easy way for my kids to learn. For example, they once asked Alexa about what makes plants grow, and Alexa taught them the basics of photosynthesis. Just last year, my daughter was very passionate about geography. She was able to hone her knowledge of state capitals primarily by playing the Capitals Quiz Skill on Alexa! We have a countdown to Christmas in our house, and the kids ask Alexa every morning for the number of days until the 25th.
Alexa, how many days until Christmas!
6. Get new cookie ideas!
Is baking a favorite family tradition? Have Alexa give you recipe inspiration! By simply asking her for some new cookie recipes, you can broaden your horizons and make a new cookie this year. You can even specify paleo cookies or chocolate cookies… or any specific variety. Oh, and if you need ingredient conversions (how many tablespoons in a cup, for example), simply ask Alexa. She’ll tell you! No need to bother with a search engine anymore!
Alexa, what’s your favorite holiday cookie?
7. Read holiday stories!
One of my favorite elements of the Christmas season is reading cute stories about the magic of the season. With Alexa, you can listen to stories via Audible or FreeTime. Cuddling by the fireplace and listening to a beautiful story has never been more fun!
Alexa, tell me a winter story!
8. Make phone calls to relatives!
With Alexa, it’s easy to bring family together via hands-free calling and messaging. We also have the Echo Show, so it’s possible to do video calling and catch up with relatives all over the country. After all, keeping in touch is essential during the holiday season.
Alexa, call the Grandparents!
9. Make announcements!
We have an Echo Show in the kitchen, an Echo Dot Kids Edition in my older daughter’s room and a few traditional Echo devices throughout the house. So when I want to share news with the family, I can simply use Alexa to make an announcement. During an announcement, all the Amazon devices in the house will light up & share the news! The first time Sophia heard the announcement, she was shocked! She thought it was the coolest thing ever!
Alexa, make an announcement. It’s time for dinner, kids!
10. Communicate with Santa!
To make the magic of Santa come to life, we wrote letters to Santa. Thanks to the “Santa’s Letter” blueprint, we can track the letter’s progress to the North Pole. Santa even shares a response with us every week!
Alexa, where is my Santa letter?
We have been really enjoying the Echo Dot Kids Edition. The Parental Dashboard gives me full control over which skills the kids can use and allows me to turn off voice purchasing. With fun activities like Q&A, Magic Word, Song Quiz, Trivia and more, kids never run out of things to do! Kids can even tell Alexa they’re bored, and she will have suggestions for them! FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa provides access to 300+ Audible kids’ books and kid-friendly radio stations. There are also playlists, character alarms, and special Alexa skills designed for kids. FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa is available on all Echo devices and starts at $2.99 per month. If you already subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited on Fire tablets, you can enjoy FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa content at no additional cost. What an awesome value!
Do you have the Echo Dot Kids Edition in your home? How does it make your life easier? Do you know someone that would love to receive the Echo Dot Kids Edition for the holidays?