Using Amazon Alexa to Mess With Kids this Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us, and for most people that means getting together with friends and family. This year there will be a new guest at many of these gatherings: Amazon Alexa.

It’s estimated that there are already over 5 million Echo devices in the U.S., and considering that these devices are currently backordered on Amazon until January, that number will rise dramatically by the end of the year.

Fact: Kids Love Alexa

Last week my sister’s family came over our house, and my 5-year-old nephew Stephen was enthralled with Alexa. He first started by telling me to ask her things, then began asking his own questions directly. It was funny seeing what he wanted to know. My favorite was “Alexa, where is Dylan (his best friend) right now?”

My company, Sayspring, makes a prototyping platform for voice applications that lets you easily create conversations with Alexa. So I created a project to entertain my nephew, and hearing Alexa speak to him directly, and address him by name, blew his mind.

Here’s what it said (there’s also a demo video at the end of this post):

I decided to share how I did it here, so that everyone else can entertain and amuse the children (and adults!) in their lives during the upcoming holiday break.

How to Have Alexa Say Whatever You Want

  1. Go to and create an account (it’s free).
  2. Connect it to your Amazon Alexa account (it will tell you how to do this).
  3. Create a Project with the child’s name and add a default greeting.
  4. Add commands for Alexa to recognize, and corresponding responses for each.
  5. Say “Alexa, ask Sayspring about {The Name of Your Project}”
  6. You will hear the default greeting you entered, then just start talking to Alexa. The session will end when there’s a Response with no Reprompt.

That’s it. It’s free, takes just a few minutes, and is endlessly fun. Here is a video of the project I created for my nephew. Happy Holidays!

Experience the power of prototyping for voice using Amazon Alexa. 
Create an account at to get started.

If you have any thoughts or questions, give me a shout on Twitter.