How to Have Fun with Amazon Alexa

Whether you’re stuck at home or just bored, Alexa’s a surprisingly entertaining friend.

Yes, Alexa’s incredibly useful, but she can also be a lot of fun. Let’s talk about how to have a blast with your Amazon Alexa.

(Just a heads up: some of these activities will require you to download skills that hook to your Alexa app. Don’t worry, though—Alexa tells you when she needs a new skill to complete a request.)

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Is Amazon’s Alexa your only quarantine buddy?
If so, this guide is perfect for you. If you don’t have Alexa but are considering getting an Echo during your convalescence, the Amazon Echo Dot is your least expensive option. (It’s also the smart speaker we used to test the activities in this review.)

Listen to music with Alexa

Ready to jam? Say, “Alexa, play something you can dance to,” and she’ll find you a song. If you want to request something more specific, like “Baby Shark,” you need a monthly Amazon Music, Spotify, or Pandora subscription. Alternately, you can have Alexa pull up your favorite radio station.

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Waking Amazon Alexa
Don’t forget Alexa’s wake word. When giving her marching orders, you should call her by name.

You can also ask Alexa to sing for you. That’s right, not play. Sing. Alexa’s singing is, well . . . it’s something else. But trust us. You won’t regret it.

Read a story with Alexa

Alexa can tell you a bedtime story that she made up herself, or she can channel Audible or Kindle to read you your favorites.

Alexa originals

If you’re curious about what kind of stories Alexa makes up, we’ve got an example for you. Here’s the opening of a tale Alexa told us.

“You see, there’s a rhythm to it,” said my father as he bounced from one edge of the court to the other, trying to teach me how to play pickleball. “If you think too much about it, you’ll fall apart. It’s like dancing.”

I noticed that my father moved like a much younger man.

Alexa’s stories are short: just a minute or two. But they can be delightfully wacky. (She once told us a story about the life cycle of a can of cranberry sauce.) And, to break up Alexa’s sometimes-monotonous inflections, there are subtle sound effects.

Audible and Kindle audiobooks

Alexa can read your latest pick through either Audible or Kindle. The Audible app funnels a full audiobook through your Echo. Kindle, on the other hand, reads to you using Alexa’s voice.

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Audible
If you need something to listen to while doing the dishes or going for a run, Audible books are a good option for story lovers.

Make lunch with Alexa

At your request, Alexa suggests recipes and orders brunch. You don’t have to open a single app.

Cooking

Need a recipe? Ask Alexa, and she’ll provide. She can even order the ingredients for you.

Or, if you’re trying to clear out your pantry, you can work backward by saying, “Alexa, find a recipe for olives and potatoes.” Once you’re satisfied with the recipe, Alexa will send it straight to your phone.

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Echo Spot and Echo Show differences
If you have an Amazon Echo Spot or Echo Show, you already have a screen available. Some of the activities we talk about might work a little bit differently with your devices. For instance, an Echo Show will bring up the recipe on its screen.

If you don’t want to refer back to a device while cooking, Alexa can read you the recipe, step by step.

Ordering food

Homemade pumpkin trifle dessert made from pumpkin puree, cream cheese, cookie crumbs and whipped cream. Extreme selective focus with blurred background.

With Alexa, you can, of course, order groceries through Amazon and Whole Foods. But you can also enable skills to place an order through GrubHub, Domino’s, Starbucks, and Panera Bread, to name a few. You can even install a skill that will track down seasonal pumpkin spice treats to tickle your tastebuds.

Sadly, you can’t order with DoorDash or Postmates.

Tell jokes with Alexa

Alexa’s not just fun; she’s also funny. If you want to crack a smile, you’ve got a few options.

Ask Alexa to tell you a joke, and she’ll gladly oblige. Or you can get more specific and ask for any of the following:

  • A knock-knock joke
  • A Shakespeare joke
  • A Harry Potter joke
  • A Disney joke
  • A Star Wars joke
  • An Avengers joke

(Those are just the ones we’ve uncovered ourselves; there could be more we don’t know of.)

Alexa will even tell you haikus.

Alexa also does riddles if you prefer those. She’ll even tell you haikus (although those may or may not be amusing).

Play games with Alexa

It’s game night! Alexa’s skills let you play oodles of games on your own, with a stranger, or with friends.

Games for you and Alexa

When there’s no one to hang out with but Alexa, the two of you can play games like True or False or Tic Tac Toe. You can also try more sophisticated options, like adventure games.

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Akinator
Do you remember the Akinator genie? This bare-bones website used a 20 Questions-style game to guess the fictional character you were thinking of. Now Akinator’s an app that you can access through Alexa.

One adventure game is called Tricky Genie. Tricky Genie is that jerk genie from every fairy tale, the one who makes things more complicated than they need to be. Alexa presents you with a problem, and you have to choose from three sacks to identify the best solution to the problem. Simple yet endlessly entertaining.

There’s also Dungeon Adventure. This D&D-style choose-your-own-adventure game requires you to roll for attributes, hit points, attack impact—you name it.

Other Alexa adventure games include Magic Door, Earplay, and Bosch (based on the Harry Bosch detective novels). The sky’s the limit when it comes to Echo-based derring-do.

Games for you and strangers

When you play Price It Right or Song Quiz, you compete with someone else in the world who’s also playing. This is a neat way to connect with another person without revealing your identifying info. (Especially since playing against bots, even a sophisticated AI like Alexa, gets old after a while.)

Group games

Even when you have someone else to hang with, Alexa adds to the fun.

If the board game you got at the thrift shop doesn’t have dice, Alexa will roll virtual dice for you. If you want to play Truth or Dare, Alexa will generate questions. If you want to move around, Alexa can lead you in a rousing game of Freeze Dance.

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Echo Buttons
If you want to play trivia games in a group, you can imitate the thrill of hitting a buzzer by using Echo Buttons. Sadly, they’re currently out of stock on Amazon, so you may have to look for them secondhand.

Work out with Alexa

Do a home workout with Alexa.

If you want to get in shape, do a home workout with Alexa. Adults can try the 7-Minute Workout skill, while kids and kids at heart can go for Animal Workout.

Get help from Alexa

It’s hard to have fun if you feel like your life is spiraling out of control. Alexa will help you get organized so you can stop stressing and start enjoying yourself.

Taking notes

Just think of something? Worried you’ll forget it? Alexa can keep track of it for you. You just say, “Alexa, note that the best jalapeño poppers are at that diner on Fifth,” and she’ll take care of it. To retrieve the note, you say, “Alexa, what are my notes about jalapeño poppers?”

Washing your hands

Cropped shot of a woman washing her hands at a sink

If you’re sick or worried about getting sick, you need to wash your hands properly. Alexa can assist you by playing a song that will last for the full 20 seconds of handwashing.

Using Alexa Guard

Do you keep putting off buying a home security system? Until you take the plunge, you can use Alexa Guard to help secure your home.

On its own, Guard sends you notifications when it hears a smoke alarm or breaking glass. When paired with smart lights, it turns the bulbs on and off to make it look like you’re away.

We wouldn’t recommend Alexa Guard over a full security suite, but it’s a neat way to be safer until you get better security. You can also use it in conjunction with Ring Alarm or ADT home security systems.

Alexa Easter eggs

One of the most engaging things about Alexa is her many secret voice commands. You can spend hours testing funny questions and requests to see how Alexa responds.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • “Alexa, make me a sandwich.”
  • “Alexa, what’s the meaning of life?”
  • “Alexa, do you wanna date me?”
  • “Alexa, who you gonna call?”
  • “Alexa, may the force be with you.”
  • “Alexa, I am your father.”
  • “Alexa, set phasers to kill.”
  • “Alexa, beam me up.”
  • “Alexa, avada kedavra.”
  • “Alexa, alohomora.”
  • “Alexa, wingardium leviosa.”
  • “Alexa, lumos.”
  • “Alexa, where’s Waldo?”
  • “Alexa, find Chuck Norris.”
  • “Alexa, meow.”

Amazon Alexa FAQ

What can’t Alexa do?

We suspect that Alexa’s limits have yet to be discovered. There could still be Easter eggs that no one’s thought to try yet.

But we do know a few things that Alexa definitely can’t do. She can’t call 911 on your behalf, for instance. She also can’t do voice memos.¹

Can Alexa tell me if I’m sick?

This is one thing that we know for sure Alexa can’t do. Don’t get us wrong; Alexa can help you screen for some diseases. For instance, she can lead you in checking yourself for COVID-19 symptoms.

But Alexa can’t actually tell you if you have COVID-19 or another disease. She can only help you rule it out through a lack of symptoms.

If you do have telltale symptoms for an illness that requires treatment, you need to contact a medical professional, stat.

Which Echo should I buy?

It depends on what you want to do with your Amazon Echo. If you simply desire the joys of creating a smart home and associating with Alexa, an Echo Dot is the way to go.

But if you’re an audiophile, we recommend the Echo Plus or Echo Studio. Or, if you have kids, try the Echo Dot Kids Edition. It comes pre-equipped with parental controls.

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