Now that Christmas is over, you have a chance to sit and sort through all your presents. You can hang your new sweaters and find a place to put all the kids' toys, but if you're wondering, what can my Amazon Echo do, you're not alone. Turns out, there are a ton of cool things you can do with an Echo device, and it can be especially handy for busy moms and curious kids. Seriously — this little device is going to make mom life much easier.
If you’re trying to figure out all the features you can utilize with Echo’s voice assistant, Alexa, you’re not alone, because apparently Amazon Echo devices were given as gifts all over the world in record numbers this year. According to Business Insider, Amazon noted in a press release that “Amazon Devices also had its best holiday yet, with tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices sold worldwide.”
For a mom, the Echo devices are truly heaven sent. They can allow you to do so many things hands-free, which is really convenient when you have your hands full. The commercials may make it sound like its only function is to answer questions about the weather or play music, but there's so much more. Here are 20 of the coolest things you can do with your Echo device, because Lord knows you need an assistant.
1. Order Diapers & Wipes
When your diaper or wipe supply is low, just say “Alexa, order diapers” or “Alexa, order baby wipes.” By setting up your Amazon shopping account online, you’re good to go. You can even order other baby supplies, like baby shampoo or rash cream. All you have to do is ask.
2. Play A Lullaby
One thing that is sure to calm a fussy baby is music, so you can just ask Alexa to play any song you like. You can even set up a playlist ahead of time for your baby through the Amazon Alexa app on your phone. So you can say something like “Alexa, play the baby playlist” or “Alexa, play classical music” to calm your baby (or you) when needed.
3. Set A Timer
The timer feature on Echo devices is super helpful, especially when putting baby down for a nap or when you have something on the stove. You can say, “Alexa, set a timer for five minutes," "Alexa, remind me to feed the baby in two hours," or “Alexa, remind me to turn off the stove in 10 minutes.” If you change your mind, you can always say, “Alexa, cancel my timer.”
4. Set An Alarm
Who needs an alarm clock when you can wake up to your favorite music, podcast, or news with Alexa? Just ask Alexa to set an alarm for you by saying “Alexa, wake me up at 7 a.m.” or “Alexa, wake me up in five hours.” You can set up ringtones, music, or whatever you choose to wake you up through the Alexa app under alarm settings, too.
5. Homework Help
Whether it’s for you or your kids, Alexa can help with quick facts that can make things like homework or math a lot easier. Just ask, “Alexa, what’s 24 minus 15?” or “Alexa, who was George Washington?” for a quick response. You can even ask her to spell words for you and convert measurements when you are cooking.
6. Drop In
The drop in feature is the most used in my home. I have a few Echo devices all around the house and I can communicate with my family throughout the rooms without lifting a finger. I just say, “Alexa, drop in on the kid’s room” and I can ask my kids if they’ve finished their homework, and talk to them like on an intercom. You can even drop in with your phone through the Alexa app, even if you only have one Echo device. Just open the app’s drop in feature.
7. Get A Ride
Need a lift? Just set up and enable the Echo with the Uber or Lyft skills through the Alexa app. Then all you have to do is say, “Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride" or "Alexa, ask Lyft for a ride." You can even ask her how much the ride will cost before you order.
8. Call Your Contacts
One of the coolest features of the Echo devices is the call features. Once you have your contacts set up through the Alexa app, you can make phone calls by simply asking, “Alexa, call Mom” or “Alexa, call John” without even picking up your phone. This is a great skill to use when you have your hands full with the kids, and you need to tell your husband to bring home a bottle of wine.
9. Order Pizza
Sometimes (for me it's most of the time) you just don’t feel like cooking, and nothing’s easier than ordering pizza through your Echo device. Just set up and enable the Domino’s Pizza or Pizza Hut skills on the Alexa app, and say, “Alexa, tell Pizza Hut to place an order" or reorder Domino’s Easy Order by saying “Alexa, open Domino's and place my Easy Order.”
10. Get The Weather Forecast
When you’re in a rush and trying to figure out how much bundling up you need to do, you can ask, “Alexa, what’s the weather?” and find out the day’s forecast. You can even ask for the forecast for the rest of the week, or a specific day. You can even ask “Alexa, will it rain this week?” to figure out the best days to take the kids to the park.
11. Read A Bedtime Story
If you’ve had a long a day and are too pooped to read the kids a bedtime story, just ask Alexa to read one to them. Say “Alexa, read me a bedtime story" after enabling the Short Bedtime Story skill through the Alexa app on your phone. This is also perfect for those days when you need to wind down with your kids — Alexa can read to all of you.
12. Catch Up On The News
Busy moms may not always have the time to catch up on the news, so the Echo’s news flash feature can come in really handy. Just ask, “Alexa, what’s the news of the day?” or “Alexa, give me a flash briefing” for news from NPR, or any other news source you enable through the Alexa app.
13. Stay Fit
If you have a Fitbit, check in on your progress when you enable the Fitbit skill through your Alexa app. Once it’s setup you can just say, “Alexa, ask Fitbit how many steps I've taken" or “Alexa, ask Fitbit how I slept last night” for all the info you need to stay on track with your health.
14. Control Your Lights
A great feature for a mom with little ones is the light control feature with Echo devices. You can get a Phillips Hue Kit, and once you set it up, you can just say, “Alexa, dim the lights” when you’re rocking your baby to sleep, or “Alexa, turn on the lights” if your baby wakes up in the middle of the night. Saves you the hassle of getting out of bed with a fussy or sleepy baby in your arms.
15. Control The Thermostat
Getting too hot or too cold in the house? Set up a smart thermostat like the Ecobee or Nest Thermostats, and tell Alexa to turn the heat up or turn the AC on by simply saying, “Alexa, turn up the heat” or “Alexa, set the temperature to 62 degrees.”.
16. Stay On Schedule
Keeping track of your schedule can be a pain when you’ve got a million things on your plate. Sync your Echo device to your calendar through the Alexa app and you can just ask, “Alexa, what’s my schedule for today?” or “Alexa, when is the next doctor’s appointment?” to stay on track with your schedule.
17. Listen To Podcasts
Love listening to your favorite podcast? Just ask Alexa to play whichever podcast you like and even specific episodes. I like to ask, “Alexa, play the latest episode of Science Friday” to hear my favorite NPR podcast while I clean the house.
18. Find Stores Nearby
Check store hours and timings by just asking your Echo device to do it for you. Say, “Alexa, what time is Target open until today?” or “Alexa, where is the nearest Dunkin Donuts?” and she’ll give you the proximity, store hours, and address that you need.
19. Find Your Phone
When you have little ones running around the house, it’s easy to misplace your phone in a laundry basket or under a pile of toys. With the TrackR skill enabled on your Alexa app, you can just ask “Alexa, find my phone” and your phone will ring loudly wherever it is.
20. Get Mommy & Pregnancy Advice
Sometimes a new or pregnant mom needs some quick advice, so the Everyday Health’s What To Expect skill for Alexa can help with weekly tips and guides for new and expecting mothers. Just ask “Alexa, ask What to Expect for my pregnancy update” or “Alexa, ask What to Expect for my daily tip.”
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