×

Amazon's Alexa is adding new 'skills' specifically for kids

  • Amazon is adding its first kid-focused features to the service.
  • It including games from Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop and a storytelling feature.
  • "It is important for us to invest in new technologies that are of interest to kids like home assistants," says Nickelodeon Group's Matthew Evans.
The SpongeBob SquarePants balloon makes its way through the streets of New York during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Getty Images
The SpongeBob SquarePants balloon makes its way through the streets of New York during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A lot of kids are naturally drawn to Amazon's Alexa — it's a lot more fun to talk to a computer than push icons on a screen.

Now Amazon is adding its first kid-focused features to the service, including games from Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop and a storytelling feature.

Alexa already has a ton of games, but adding ones featuring popular cartoon characters could make kids want to play more and learn how to use Alexa at an earlier age.

For example, Nickelodeon's "The SpongeBob Challenge" is a memory game that involves taking food orders at the Krusty Krab and relaying them to the staff. All a child (or adult) has to do to start the game is say: "Alexa, start The SpongeBob Challenge."

"It is important for us to invest in new technologies that are of interest to kids like home assistants," said Matthew Evans, Nickelodeon Group's executive vice president of digital and new business. "It is a natural way for kids to interact with and navigate their world, and talking with and hearing their favorite characters is fun."

Sesame Workshop's game lets kids play hide and seek with Elmo, as well as teaches them the alphabet based on the letter of the day. Amazon Storytime will read kids a story from Amazon Rapids professionally narrated library. The stories are intended for ages 5 through 12. Stories from Audible will be added at a later date.

That's just the beginning. The company says that "hundreds of developers" have told Amazon they're interested in creating skills for kids.

Parents will have to verify consent via the Alexa app before children can start using the kid skills.

"We're excited to provide a fun and safe learning environment for kids on Alexa, and we're looking forward to the new experiences that developers build for kids using the Alexa Skills Kit," Amazon said in a statement.