There are so many things you can do with an Amazon Echo, something I quickly learned after getting an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas a few years ago .(It’s no Echo Studio, but still…) I admit I was a little skeptical at first. What’s all the buzz about anyway and what can I actually do with an Amazon Echo?

I wasn’t sure it could really do more for me than Siri or my iPhone, but after having Alexa (reminder: that’s the voice’s name, though it’s come to stand for the device) in my home for a few years now, connected to my wifi and linked to my Amazon account, I have to say that it’s been life-changing.

Wondering about some cool things you can do with the Amazon Echo too? Check out this amazing list, with ideas from checking the weather, to grocery shopping and meal planning, playing games with the kids, comparing airline prices — even skills to help with homeschooling.  Hooray for technology!

This post has been updated for 2024
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44 Cool Alexa Skills for the Amazon Echo

44 cool things you can do with the Amazon Echo: Useful Alexa skills | cool mom tech 2024

PRO TIP:  if you happen to have a family member named Alexa — like, say, you happen to be reading this post, Alexa Chung or Alexa Ray Joel —  you can change the command name in your settings to Amazon so your Alexa is not turning on every time you speak to a living, breathing Alexa. However if you have relatives named both Alexa and Amazon, you’re out of luck.

Also note that some of these commands will need to be enabled in your Skills tab in the Amazon Alexa app

1. Alexa, play David Bowie.

Purchase streaming music on Amazon then stream it right to the excellent Bluetooth speaker in the Echo. Your Echo can also play content from Amazon Prime, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Audible and Kindle Books. So, pretty much anything. All without draining my phone battery or using up data.

2. Alexa, when’s the next time we’ll have a Saturn and Jupiter conjunction?

You can ask Alexa to look up any info you’re curious about, like sports schedules and scores. Ask who won the Golden Globe for best actor in 2020, or which year Cleopatra was born.

3. Alexa, set timer for 10 minutes. 

One of the most basic things you can do with an Amazon Echo is also one of the most useful — set alarms. Whether for the cookies in the oven or the kids’ screen time, it’s really easy to just call out for Alexa to start that timer ticking.

Related posts you should check out:
Alexa Skills for Homeschooling

Alexa Fitness Skills
Alexa Finance Skills
Alexa Meal-Planning Skills
Alexa Skills for the Holidays

4. Alexa, start 7 minute workout. 

The results offer simple exercises like jumping jacks and sit ups, but maybe this Amazon Echo command will get you moving — or your kids — especially if you tend to get stuck indoors during the winter months.

5. Alexa, play NPR. 

I love how easy it is to catch up on the news in the morning since Alexa plays streaming radio on request. Just enable the NPR Alexa skill. Try NPR News Now for a quick catch-up on recent events, or possibly even your local news station.

6. Alexa, what’s the traffic like right now? 

Alexa can tell you the roads to avoid on your morning commute, which is especially nice if you don’t want to wait ten minutes for a traffic report on your local station. You can even get the estimated time of your drive! If you live in a major metro area, check out out Total Traffic for pretty much any big city in the US.

7. Alexa, turn on my humidifier. Check the air quality. Or turn off my bedroom light.
What can you do with Amazon Echo? Connect to smart thermostats and smart home devices like the Ecobee

Alexa can connect to any smart home device, including popular brands like the ecoBee smart thermostat (above), WeMo Smart Switch-enabled outlet, or Ring Smart Video Doorbell — while you keep an eye on those deliveries outside your front door!  Name it according to your device, and Alexa it will turn on and off for you.

8. Alexa, I need a recipe for homemade mint chip ice cream. And add eggs to my grocery list.

Another col thing you can do with an Amazon Echo is great for us cooks. Alexa will provide measurement conversions (Alexa, how many cups are in a pint?), add ingredients to your shopping list, and even give you step-by-step recipes for so many dishes using the top-rated Recipe Keeper Alexa skill.

Users love it for its ability to sync all their favorite recipes across multiple devices, and even sort them by category like chicken, cheese, vegetarian, or breakfast.

You also even tell Alexa to set your Instant Pot Smart Cooker to a certain temperature for that Instant Pot Veggie Curry recipe you’ve been craving.

9. Alexa, how many calories are in this pint of mint chip ice cream?

Ask her questions…but be sure you want to know the answers.

10. Alexa, what wine goes with a mint chip ice cream?

Get wine pairings using the MySomm skill (as in, sommelier) on Alexa or try the Wine Enthusiast Skill. I can’t say I recommend wine with ice cream, but you do you.

11. Alexa, forget wine. Find my Starbucks coffee.

Using Find My Coffee – Starbucks At Home skill, you can take a fun quiz, learn your coffee flavor profile, then have your new favorite Starbucks beans added to your Amazon cart and delivered right to your home.

12. Alexa, play Bingo.

Play Bingo with Amazon Echo calling the numbers. Free printable Bingo cards via Aspen Jay

Download some free printable bingo cards, like these from Aspen Jay, and ask Alexa to join you for an easy family fun night. Unfortunately, she won’t pop the popcorn for you — unless you have a popcorn popper hooked up to a WeMo actually. (See skill 7.)

13. Alexa, what’s the pollen level today? And will it rain?

Wondering whether to pop an allergy pill or bring an umbrella to work? The Weather Channel offers a favorite skill of ours, especially with the weather as unpredictable as it’s been in recent years. You can find out the current temperature, the highs and lows, the pollen count, the UV index, and of course, any chance of rain or snow.

14. Alexa, how do I poach an egg? Jump start my car? Get six-pack abs?

The WikiHow Alexa skill is packed with info about nearly anything. Really. If you know the site, then you know.

15. Alexa, what would my mortgage be on that $12mm house on Zillow?

If you’re a Zillow dream shopper (sigh), the Mortgage Calculator skill can help you calculate the monthly principal and interest payment based on the numbers you provide. Also helpful if you’re trying to figure out whether you should refi.

16. Alexa, what are the best Black Friday deals?

What things you can do with an Amazon Echo if you’re a big shopper? Besides just shopping from Amazon you can find out the best Black Friday deals on Amazon and beyond —Target, Macy’s Best Buy, and more. Just be sure that if you’ve turned Voice Purchasing off, you turn it back on if you want to shop.

And of course, we always hook you up with the best Black Friday deals here, too!

17. Alexa, reorder dog food.

When you empty the last bit of dog food (or AAA batteries or bulk paper towels), just shout out for Alexa to add it to your Amazon shopping cart. In fact, you can add any purchase from your recent Prime shopping history, which means your kids can’t order a new PS5 without you knowing.

18. Alexa, turn down the lights.

We loooove our Phillips Hue Smart Bulbs! Connect your Echo and Alexa can control them through voice commands the same way you can via the Phillips Hue app.

19. Alexa, what’s on my calendar today? 

With this Alexa skill, she’ll search through connected calendars in the app, like your Google Calendar, and pull up your day’s activities while you’re making your cup of coffee in the morning. Nice to remember oh…those 400 things parents have to do every day. You might even get a helpful reminder to sign that permission slip that you’d otherwise have forgotten if you didn’t check that morning.


Why I love Todoist: The first to-do list app I've stuck with for a whole year!

20. Alexa, add “call the dentist” (or, anything else) to my to-do list.

Behold, you’ve now got a reminder saved. While you can use the Alexa app as your daily to-do list, it now offers more comprehensive integration with popular apps like Todoist so you’re not managing multiple lists.

21. Alexa, read my book.

When Amazon Echo is connected to your Audible account, a number of Alexa voice commands allow you to hear any book read to you through the speaker. You can pick up front where you left off, skip chapters, pause, resume — and even change books if this one isn’t doing it for you.

It’s not just audiobooks by the way; Alexa will now read books from your Kindle library.  While I wouldn’t use it as an alternative to hearing Dave Grohl read his memoir, it could be helpful for certain non-fiction books. like reference materials or cookbooks, where the narrator’s own voice isn’t essential.

22. Alexa, read the New York Times parenting column.

One of the things you can do with an Amazon Echo is ask Alexa to read articles — say ones you’ve saved through the Pocket app, which is a great way to save things you mean to come back to. And now it’s even easier!

23. Alexa, Simon says… 

Alexa will repeat whatever you say immediately following the phrase “Simon says,” which is a really fun trick to play on your kids. Especially if you use the Echo’s remote control from another room…and suddenly they hear Alexa say, kids, take the trash out. I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces.

24. Alexa, begin Dungeon Adventure!

This super popular Alexa skill is a digital fantasy RPG, as you might have guessed from the name. Alexa is the dungeon master, and you are…whoever you want to be. You get to fight monsters, cast spells, drink potions, track down gold, go on quests, and purchase items to help you fight bigger much fun! You don’t even have to buy 20-sided dice, because Alexa rolls it for you.

25. Alexa, open Name the Movie

You film fans will love the Name the Movie skill, which provides four clues to help you…guess a movie title. The levels can get harder too, which is fun for families with older kids who’ve moved beyond the latest Disney release.

26. Alexa, start Trivia Battle!

If you’ve got a family who enjoys a little friendly competition, the Trivia Battle Alexa skill is a fun thing you can do with your Amazon Echo. You’re even competing against everyone in your state for rankings. So this is serious business!

27. Alexa, what happened on this day in history?

How cool is this? The This Day in History (by A&E) skill will tell you exactly what happened on this day in history. As you might have guessed from the name. When some of the things you can do with an Amazon Echo are educational like this one, it really helps justify the purchase.

28. Alexa, what Chinese restaurants are nearby?

Now you can support your favorite local restaurants through Alexa. Or, ask Alexa whether the local bakery is open right now. Because any time is a good time for croissants. Or sesame noodles. Or tacos. Or…

29. Alexa, how am I doing on my steps?

What can you do with an Amazon Echo? Connect with the Fitbit Sense 2 Smartwatch to track steps, sleep and more

The Fitbit skill for Alexa lets you check your progress, check your sleep quality, track your heart rate, or start an exercise session. Just hook it up to your Fitbit Smartwatch of course. That Fitbit Sense 2 Watch is calling our names!

30. Alexa, tell a Dad joke.

She’ll tell you one, but we won’t guarantee it will be a good one.

31. Alexa, roll the dice.

This is one of my favorite cool skills you can do with an Amazon Echo Dot. It’s perfect for those games that are missing dice, or for younger kids who can’t manage to roll dice without knocking over all the game pieces on the board.  And for all you gamer geeks out there, Alexa will roll 10-sided, 20-sided, and other dice too!

32. Alexa, add milk to my grocery list. 

Using AnyList, Lisa’s favorite meal-planning helper, Alexa will add items to your grocery list. That way, when you hit the store, you can just check the app on your phone and everything is right there. Genius!

33. Alexa, read us a bedtime story.

Use the Short Bedtime Story skill from Webguild to –you guessed it — read your kids a bedtime story. You can even personalize the story, so Alexa reads right to them. Of course it’s no substitute for you reading to your kids, but it is a pretty cool thing that Alexa can do. Especially if you listen together.

34. Alexa, tell Sleep Sounds to play some white noise.

If you don’t already have an app like Calm, start a white noise machine using Alexa for free. Try Sleep and Relaxation Sounds for options like a fireplace, rainstorm, wind chimes, or a babbling brook. Ocean sounds are a favorite for me right now.

35. Alexa, I need to meditate.

These days, we’re all big fans of mindfulness enabled by tech. Which is less ironic than it sounds. Use Alexa to access Guided Meditation. Quieting our minds, if only for a moment, is something we parents could all use more of these days.

36. Alexa, Open Escape the Room

For a more advanced game than Bingo or Simon Says, try Alexa, Open Escape the Room for six fun Escape Room games of different levels. There are even walk-throughs and hints if you get stuck.

37. Alexa, send a text message

Using the Alexa app on Android (sorry iPhone users!) it’s easy to use SMS to text “can’t wait for dinner Friday night!” to a friend in your contact list. Even while you’re busy with your hands in the sink

38. Alexa, make a phone call.

Use Alexa to make a phone call, or call other Echo devices around your house, turning it into a helpful intercom system.

39. Alexa, more cowbell.

The same way Siri has had fun answers for ages to questions like What does the fox say? And what’s the meaning of life? you can try one of the many, silly Amazon Echo Easter Eggs out there. Questions and statements to try include  Alexa, to be or not to be? And, Alexa, rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock. There are dozens! Movie fans might try Alexa, use the force! Or Alexa, who shot first?

40. Alexa, we need a dinner conversation topic.

Need something new to discuss at family dinner? Try a few rounds of Would You Rather? with the Either/Or game skill. Don’t worry, it’s G-rated.

41. Alexa, open up The Magic Door.

Try this popular choose-your-own adventure skill as you journey through fantasy worlds filled with gnomes, princesses, wise wizards, and witches.

42. Alexa…Earplay!

These are interactive story-based games for adults and teens (think film-noir secret agent spy thrillers and mysteries) that also let you choose your own path as the story progresses.

43. Alexa, where can I fly for $300?

Thanks to the MyVoiceTravel skill, there are all kinds of ways that Alexa can help you plan a vacation, track a flight, even compare prices between airlines. Worth a shot!

44. Alexa, ask for a fart.

No, I have not told my kids about this one yet. But then, they probably knew it before we all did.