Anyone who uses a Google Home or Echo with Alexa on a regular basis knows how helpful these smart home devices are. Whether you’re checking the weather, finding out about the traffic conditions for your daily commute, or streaming your favourite playlist, Google Assistant and Alexa will give you instant advice or help.
But beyond the information you can access just by asking, did you know how much fun using your Google Home or Alexa can be? Because there’s so many cool Easter eggs and games built into these devices, you can center an evening of family fun around either and you’re guaranteed a lot of laughs.
This weekend, when you’re kicking around and looking for something the entire crew can do, try these fun family activities you can do with Google Home or Alexa.
Play with Akinator
The next time you’re looking for a family game, ask Google Home or Alexa to play 20 questions. This trivia game is built in, and all you have to do is say, “OK Google, let me talk to Akinator,” or “Alexa, open Akinator,” and the game will begin.
If you’ve played this on the app, you know how amazing it is when Akinator guesses what you’re thinking, and it’s even more fun playing with your assistant and the family.
Gather everyone in the kitchen, sit them down around your island or table, and get ready for some cooking fun. Google Home and Alexa can bring out your inner chef by offering recipe ideas and answering other kitchen questions. Google Home has access to over 5 million different recipes through multiple sources, and Alexa uses skills to link to your accounts on sites like Allrecipes.
You can send any recipe to Google Home and it will walk you through each step of the process, only moving on when you’re ready for the next task. That makes it easy for kids to help and keep up with what you’re doing. When you’re cooking with Alexa, you can ask for recipe help simply by saying, “Alexa, ask Allrecipes for an Instant Pot recipe for chicken.” She’ll come up with ideas you can try based on your account.
Enjoy a family vacation slide show
You know those vacation photos you’ve been meaning to show everyone? You can check them out together on your big screen by saying, “OK Google, show me the photos from our Disneyland vacation.” Your assistant will stream those photos to the Chromecast on your TV, and the entire family can relive the memories.
Turn your living room into comedy central
One liners can be cheesy, but when they’re told one after another by your Google Assistant or Alexa, they can actually be pretty funny. Ask your smart device to tell you a few jokes. You’re bound to laugh.
A new twist on family game night
There are quite a few games built into Google Home and Alexa. If you ask your Google Assistant, “OK Google, are you feeling lucky?” she’ll play the music of a classic game show and ask you how many people are participating. There’s even applause if you get the question right, and the applause decreases the more you get wrong.
If you say, “OK Google, crystal ball,” she’ll ask you to gather around and tell you your future. With Alexa, you can play Jeopardy. There’s new clues every day, and you can play some of the same fun categories you see on TV.
Learn about the world
If you want to teach your kids about the world, Google Home and Alexa can turn it into a fun, family activity. Ask your Google Assistant or Alexa to tell you a fun fact about the pyramids in Egypt, and she’ll tell you who built the first and largest pyramid, how tall it is, and where it’s located. You can find out how many people live in Los Angeles, what the deepest part of the ocean is, and get recommendations for documentaries about animals in Africa.
Have Halloween fun
The lead up to Halloween can be as much fun as the day itself, and you can use your Google Home and Alexa to bring a little bit of spooky fun into any evening. Ask your Google Assistant to scare you, and she’ll say something like, “OK, the Wi-Fi is down” and scream as though she’s terrified. You can also use her to “get spooky” and she’ll play a spooky soundtrack, and, if you have smart lights, she’ll blink them off and on.
Alexa will stream spooky sounds if you ask her to play a soundtrack. You can say, “Alexa, play Monster Mash,” and she’ll stream your favourite scary song.
Play Bingo with your Google Home or Alexa
Everyone loves to play Bingo, but no one wants to be the Bingo caller. Get your assistant to call out the numbers on your favourite family game, and everyone has the opportunity to be the winner.
Add some magic to Christmas
Holidays are more fun with a Google Home or Alexa in the house, and having these smart devices in your home at Christmas is really magical.
If you want to decorate the tree and have a ceremony where you turn it on for the first time in front of friends and family, Google Home and Alexa can control your Christmas lights. They’ll both stream Christmas music, and Google Home can play your favourite holiday tunes as your lights flip on.
They will both read Christmas stories like The Night Before Christmas, and Alexa can use the Christmas Sounds Skill to play different holiday sounds like fireplaces crackling, horse hooves tapping in the snow, or the sound of Christmas carolers in the distance.
One thing you have to try with Google Home at Christmas is calling Santa. If you ask to call Santa’s hot line, you’ll hear ringing and be connected to the Head Elf. He just might put you through to the big guy himself, and there’s nothing like a call to Santa to remind kids that the big day is just around the corner.
Host a dance party
While Google Home and Alexa are great for games, trivia, and helping out with common tasks, they are also amazing speakers that can fill a room with sound. The next time the kids are full of energy, ask your assistant to stream a playlist from your music service and enjoy your favourite tunes with the entire family.
These ten family activities only scratch the surface of what Google Home and Alexa can do. The next time you’re wondering what to do with the family, just say “OK Google,” or “Alexa.” A world of possibility will open up.
You can find the perfect voice assistant for your family at Best Buy.