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For Christmas last year, the big item on my list was the Amazon Echo. I had to have it for my kitchen, which is our central family location, and we use it daily. From asking about the weather to playing music to answering questions and telling jokes, Alexa can do so much. If you are not familiar, Alexa is the Amazon assistant who you can talk to and ask questions to. You link your Echo to all your accounts and she will automatically recognize and sync everything for you.
She has become basically a member of our family and I think we would be lost without her. We have even added some Amazon Echo Dot devices to our house, which are cheaper and smaller versions but do the same thing basically. I will say though I feel like I haven’t even touched the service of what she can do. Constantly there are new apps/services added but it can be overwhelming to know about all of them.
Here is a great list of some free useful Alexa skills you can take advantage of:
With Picniic, parents can combine their family’s calendars, manage to-do and grocery lists, plan the week’s dinners, search for recipes, store medical information and more. And with Alexa, the entire family can use these features even more easily. The new Alexa skills include:
- Adding and retrieving items to the grocery and to-do lists – Parents have their hands full so often that it’s difficult keep to-do lists updated – how many times have you crawled into bed only to realize there’s one last thing you forgot to add to the list. Picniic’s Alexa skill lets parents (and kids) check off and add items, and create new lists for later, hands free.
- Updating the family’s calendar—An easier way to remember each family member’s schedule. Just ask Alexa to add in events while you’re thinking about them, or she can tell you what’s on the calendar for tomorrow for each individual family member.
My Pregnancy is the first Alexa skill to provide pregnancy resources for expectant parents. The skill allows parents to easily count down to the delivery date and get weekly medically-reviewed updates from BabyCenter about how their baby and mom’s bodies are changing. Parents can receive helpful tips, see fetal development images in the companion Alexa app, learn what to expect as their baby grows and more.
The KidsMD skill allows parents to seek general health information for common ailments and medication dosing from Boston Children’s Hospital. Mom and dad can ask for information on medication dosing or common symptoms by interacting with Alexa and providing basic information about themselves. If your kid is showing symptoms, just ask Alexa to find out if it’s the cold or a flu, and hear suggested treatments to help your child feel better.
Short Bedtime Story is a skill that can read bedtime stories to your children. Just say to Alexa: “Alexa, tell a bedtime story to Emma.” Your kids can instantly hear a story that incorporates their own name while you catch up on the latest episode of Scandal.
With the new Food Network skill, it’s quick and easy to get delicious recipes from your favorite shows and chefs. Ask for recipes by name, ingredient, course or chef, and you’ll receive them in your inbox to open at your convenience. If you’re watching The Pioneer Woman, and you see a recipe that the kids would love for dinner, simply ask Alexa: “Give me recent recipes from The Pioneer Woman.”
With Amazon Restaurants, you can have Alexa deliver anything from your order history. If you’ve already been using Amazon Restaurants, just enable the skill on your device to get delivery from the kids’ favorite Friday night pizza joint or Chinese for date night when the kids are with grandma.
This article is credited to Michael Cole, CEO and founder of Picniic.