As a parent of triplets, I’m willing to try every trick, hack, or shortcut that makes my family’s life easier. The Amazon Echo (or Alexa ) delivers big in all of these areas.
I purchased the Amazon Echo in 2016 as part of a PrimeDay deal. It was a late birthday gift to myself, and at the time I had no idea how big of a role it would play in my day to day life!
For those that are still living in 2009, the Echo is a handsfree, voice-activated device that uses ‘Alexa’ to play music, control smart home devices, provide weather/traffic information, read the news and so much more.
I like to think of it as a home speaker on steroids!
What has ‘Alexa’ done for me?
Here are the top 5 ways we use the Amazon Echo almost every single day!
Music playlists – As an Amazon Prime subscriber the, Echo is connected to my Prime Music account and can stream thousands of artists and titles. Using Prime Music – I created playlists of songs that my triplet boys can enjoy during playtime and meals. Depending on their mood, I have 5 different playlists that make the rounds at our house. From kids music (A,B,C’s, the Hamster dance, Elmo & the Chicken dance), Bob Marley, Big Poppa and Rock & Roll (Beastie Boys, Limp Bizkit, Guns and Roses). The boys love to get up, boogie and sing along! (Be sure to check out the video below!)
Shopping lists – Having Triplet boys, you can probably imagine that I do a lot of shopping. I used to be able to just go to the store and buy what we needed using my short term memory. Well, those brain cells no longer exist. Alexa to the rescue! Whenever we see a need for something around the house we just ask Alexa to add it to the shopping list. I use the Amazon App on my cell phone when I am at the store and check each item off as I put it in the cart!
Random questions – Alexa has answers! Want to know how many cups are in a quart? Ask Alexa. How many miles to the moon and back? Ask Alexa. Who won the NBA title in 2015? Ask Alexa. I know I could just use my phone and Google it, but it’s so much easier to Ask Alexa!
News, traffic and weather – You can get local news and weather information by entering your info into Alexa’s preferences. Then just Ask Alexa what the weather forecast is for today. Now you know how to dress the kids if it’s going to be nice enough to take them to the park.
Alexa Deals – Amazon has exclusive Voice Shopping Deals for Prime Members – just ask Alexa, what are your deals? I have purchased 120 ct. Huggies for $21.99 using voice shopping – normally they are $34.99 ~ $$37.99
As promised, here’s a video of our triplets dancing to music courtesy of their friend ‘Alexa.’
Here are a few Bonus Tips. (I know I said I was only going to post 5 – but these are too good not to mention)
Timers – Need to cook that pizza in the oven for 15 minutes, just tell Alexa – ‘Alexa set timer 15 minutes’. This is very useful when you are in the kitchen, your hands are dirty and your short term memory brain cells are fried!
Skills – The Echo comes with built in skills, but you can also add more skills to extend its functionality. Skills are like an app for your phone. After the skill is installed you can control smart home devices like televisions, lights and thermostats!
Easter Eggs – Alexa has a ton of fun easter eggs programmed into it. One of my favorites:
Say “Alexa, where do babies come from”?
Alexa replies – “Err, ummmm, that’s a question for Mommy or Daddy”! J
Power User Tip – Buy a battery base for your Echo and make it portable. I purchased one for $40 and take the Echo out to the backyard when the kids play outside. Make your phone a WiFi hotspot, connect your Echo and use it wherever you have a strong enough cell signal!!!
…and that’s just the start! There are exciting new skills being added on a daily basis. They have a new app called Alexa Calling that connects your phone to the Echo so you can make voice calls and send SMS messages.
The newly released Echo Show (7” touch screen) looks pretty slick as well.
Hmmm. What a great idea! “Hey, Alexa…”