“Hey Google, Can You Help Me Have Fun With My Kids?”

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is everywhere we look these days. Most of us had our first experience with AI when Apple released Siri – a virtual assistant who could help us complete tasks like setting timers, adding events to our calendars, and making phone calls – all without having to touch our devices.

Since Siri’s launch, two of Apple’s major competitors released their own AI devices – Amazon’s “Alexa” (Echo, Echo Mini) and Google Home (Google Home, Home Mini, Home Max). These intelligent bots are the most advanced consumer AI devices on the market, and with price points starting at $29, more and more homes are finding this advanced technology as a part of their home’s ecosystems.

While technology can often bring us to a place where we shut out the world (our kids included), here are 5 of our favorite ways to interact with Google Home to connect with our kids – and have some fun in the process.

1. “Hey Google, play musical chairs!” – this launches Google into a guided game of musical chairs. Asking first, “how many players are there,” this game of musical chairs is just as much fun as you remember playing as a kid – only you don’t have to worry about someone needing to press stop on the cassette player. This game has funky beats and is always random in when the music stops – so you never know who’s going to win!

2. “Hey Google, play Freeze Dance!” – similarly to Musical Chairs, this guided game really engages toddlers and pre-K children in some unique and fun dance moves, such as the peg-legged pirate, the shimmy, and the alien crawl. Participants dance in the instructed dance moves until the music stops and the AI host says “freeze”. At this point, everyone in the room freezes in place for 5 seconds, leaving some funny poses and faces to giggle at.

3. “Hey Google, set a timer!” – as you’re probably well aware, kids like structure and boundaries, even though they often rebel against it. One of our favorite ways to engage with the Google Home is to set timers. If it’s almost bedtime, “Hey Google, set a timer for 5 minutes.” If they’re needing a little motivation to put the iPad down, “Hey Google, set a timer for 3 minutes.” Before you know it, they’ll be asking you to set timers for everything. “Hey kids, it’s almost time to go.” I’m not ready yet, set a timer.

4. “Hey Google, play Mickey Mouse Adventure!” – This “choose your own adventure” game stars, you guessed it, Mickey Mouse, but your kids are in control of the action! In this activity, Mickey Mouse is a magician, but is running late for his magic show – and he needs YOUR help to get him there on time. What follows is a running list of questions that change the story based on your kid’s decisions. “Should we take a bus, a taxi or a subway?” “Should we turn left, or turn right?” The game ends with a little magic trick that is sure to blow your child’s mind!

5. “Hey Google, play Sound Pet!” – this game is essentially a Tamagotchi, only you can’t see your pet at all. This pet requires all the love and care that a real pet needs, including virtual food and water – and don’t forget to feed them, or else they will get very upset! These pets can also play games, and even make their own unique sounds.

What games or tasks have you found that help you connect with your family? Let us know in the comments!


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