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Amazon bolsters Alexa ahead of Prime Day

Amazon has released a new range of skills for its smart voice assistant Alexa aimed at boosting engagement with children in Australia and New Zealand.

The skills enable kids to ask Alexa questions like “what’s the news?” and receive fun facts, games and more.

Some skills are specifically designed to be used with particular brands, games or apps, such as Lego, Pac-Man, Sesame Street or Amazon Storytime.

Alexa takes different actions depending on the brand, game or app. For instance, with Lego, users can choose between five themes that combine storytelling with physical play.

Users need to switch on the kid-centric skills in their Alexa app, and can disable them at any time, according to a statement from Amazon.

The move comes just one week before the launch of Prime Day, Amazon’s annual shopping event, which involves steep discounts on a wide range of items.

Set to occur from July 16-17, Prime Day typically offers the biggest discounts on Amazon’s own products, including Alexa-enabled items, such as Echo.

This is the first year that Australian consumers will receive targeted local offers on Prime Day.

Here is the full range of Alexa skills for kids in Australia and New Zealand:

  • Kinderling Kid News: Kids can enjoy a daily news update from Groovy Ruby – expect fun facts, games and more  – by asking, “Alexa, what’s the news?”.
  • Bedtime Explorers: Each episode invites children on an imaginative journey, teaching them easy-to-learn meditation techniques that they can use to fall asleep, or to just relax. To get started just say, “Alexa, open Bedtime Explorers”.
  • SpongeBob Challenge (AU only): Children take on the role of a new Krusty Krab employee tasked with remembering increasingly complicated food orders and relaying them to other staff members who include SpongeBob, Squidward and Mr. Krabs. Test your family memory with Alexa, just say “Alexa, open the SpongeBob challenge”.
  • Amazon Storytime: A collection of professionally narrated short stories for kids aged 5-12. To get started just say “Alexa, open Amazon Storytime”.
  • Lemonade Stand: The game focuses on skills such as careful listening, maths, business and managing expectations and can be played by children with their parents or in a classroom environment. To play the game just say, “Alexa, open Lemonade Stand”.
  • LEGO® DUPLO® Stories: Together with their parents, toddlers can choose between 10 LEGO DUPLO Stories themes — five vehicle or five animal stories — and define the route of the story, while guided by Alexa. To play along, just say, “Alexa, start LEGO DUPLO Stories”.
  • PAC-MAN™ STORIES: A fun and educational choose-your-own-adventure experience in which customers of all ages have to make the right moral choices to complete each adventure set on PAC-MAN Planet. To team up with PAC-MAN just say, “Alexa, launch PAC-MAN Stories”.
  • Sesame Street – Elmo: The family can interact with Elmo by asking about the letter of the day, playing hide and seek and more. The Sesame Street skill encourages children to engage in imaginative play, learn new words, and just be giggly together. Just say “Alexa, open Sesame Street”.
  • Moshi Twilight: Featuring surreal stories with dreamy melodies and calming narration, guided relaxations and soothing sounds, all with a magical Moshi twist. Just say “Alexa, open Moshi Twilight.”
  • Beano: Customers can play the ultimate True and False quiz, stuffed full of sound effects and tricky trivia, and laugh out loud to the best of Beano jokes. Just say “Alexa, open Beano”.

Other skills including, Panda Rescue, Would You Rather for Family, Amazon Math, Tricky Genie, and more.

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