Google Home For Kids – How to make the most of it?
About 3 Christmasses ago, we got Google Home for our living room. Apart from our phones, we didn’t have ways to reproduce music in our home, and we thought it would be an excellent addition to our family. We soon realized that it was great to have Google Home for kids because there are so many things you can ask and have them interact with it. So today, I’ll share our favorite things we ask to make the most of it with you.
Note: I am not a techy person, so I will not be explaining how to set it up or talk about its technical features here 😅 I just wanted to let you know beforehand 😉
Very important! Ask things nicely
First of all, I would like to mention something we realized after using it for just one week. We all know how to ask things from AI systems. We ask things like “Siri, what time is it?” or “Hey Google, play Let it Go.” We give orders and commands. After just one week, my daughter talked to us the same way and asked us just like we would ask Google Home. “Mami, bring me water” or “Papi, can you tie my shoes?”
No “thank you.”
Orders and commands. My husband and I were horrified. What was happening? My daughter had always been very polite and asked things nicely. But one week in, she had forgotten those two basic things. So we decided to change our ways, and since then, we have asked politely and nicely Google Home or Siri whatever we need. Why should we not? (I even think Google and Apple should encourage to add it in the commands).
We talked to her about this issue and decided to show her by example. So we now ask things like “please” and say “thank you” (even if the machines don’t reply). It’s a matter of habit. I believe it is essential to treat people with respect, and these devices do us an excellent service, so we should talk to them with care (besides, we do not know how technology will evolve). However, if we get used to giving orders and commands without being nice, they could become tyrants, which is not what we want our children to be.
That point being said, now let me show you how you can make the most of it and help your children be more independent.
Why do we like Google Home for kids?
Google Home has been a great addition to our household. So naturally, we use it, especially during dinnertime. These are some of the things we value about it:
- It plays music and creates a lovely atmosphere.
- We can ask questions and learn from them. It is very educational.
- It can be very entertaining – it tells stories and jokes and plays animal sounds that my children love.
- A way to practice English – we do not speak English at home, so it is an excuse for our children to practice.
- It gives children independence – they can ask questions or request things without help from a grown-up (I have found my daughter dancing ballet, having asked Google for some classical music). Of course, they must be able to form sentences for Google to understand them correctly; my younger child still has some trouble with it. He’ll get there.
Great things you can ask Google Home for Kids
Google Home has evolved, and now it is Google Nest, and there are even displays that show visual answers to some queries you make. I’m sure that we can ask all the things we can currently ask for our Google Home in its evolved versions.
These are some of the things we use Google Home for and the commands to do so:
If you don’t know what a word means, just ask! Google will tell you what type of word it is and explain it to you.
- What does (word) mean?
Spelling is another excellent thing to ask Google, especially when children learn to write and don’t know how a word is spelled. They can request the following and get their reply from Google:
- Can you spell (word), please?
- How do you spell (word)?
Did you know you can get words translated with pretty good pronunciation and interpret conversations with Google Home? It is honestly amazing. My daughter is interested in languages, and she can ask random words or sentences and learn by ear.
- Interpret from (Polish) to (English)
- How do you say (word) in (Language)
- Please, can you translate to French?
Google is also a fantastic ally for all math-related questions. It can count, make operations, give values, roll dice, etc. These are some of the things we’ve asked:
- Please, can you count to 10?
- How much is 10+23?
- How much is 40-27?
- What’s the value of pi? 3.142
- How much is 4×39?
- How much is 1000/4?
- Can you roll a dice, please?
- How many inches are in 1 foot?
You can ask if you need alarms, set timers, or know the time. It is an excellent ally to keep track of time and set alarms for their time goals. For example, my daughter likes to time herself doing sums and subtractions. She allows herself 2 minutes to see how many she can do in that time and see if she is improving her speed. (They do this at school, so she likes to show me and replicate it at home). These are some suggestions of things we’ve asked:
- Start timer for 1 minute, please.
- What time is it, please?
- Please, set the alarm for 3 pm.
It is also a great companion when you need help experimenting or understanding how things work. For example, it can help find temperature equivalents (from Farenheit to Celcius), boiling, and freezing point. These are a few things that we’ve asked Google home.
- At what temperature does water start boiling?
- Can you tell me what happens if you mix yellow and red?
- What is the freezing temperature of olive oil?
- How much is a lightyear?
- Does it hurt olive oil if it freezes?
- What’s the name of a sunflower
- What is the symbol for Hydrogen?
- Can you tell me what Force is?
- What is the periodic table?
If you need some additional entertainment and you would like to avoid some screens for a bit, you can also ask Google to tell you a story. It will randomly select one from the classics – like Little Red Riding Hood or Cinderella.
- Please, tell me a story.
- Tell me the story of Cinderella, please.
- Please, tell me a bedtime story.
Like most children, my children find it hilarious to ask Google to make certain noises, like sneezes, burps, and farts. Yes, they are that basic and innocent. You can also ask Google to tell jokes. Some actually made me laugh: “What does Thor call his underwear? Thunderwear.”
- What sound does a fart make?
- What does a sneeze sound like?
- Tell me a joke, please.
If your children are interested in learning about animals, it is also a fantastic way to learn. Google has an animal of the day feature, where each day the
- Please, what is the “animal of the day”?
- Can you tell me an interesting fact about (animal), please?
- What sound does an (animal) make?
- What do bees eat?
- Can we play “Animal detective” please? It’s a game where Google Home comes up with an animal and gives you clues for you to guess. If you need another clue, say “Next, please”, until you are ready to guess the animal.
Whatever you would ask your search engine you can ask verbally to Google Home and you’ll get an answer. From geography, literature, weather, anything really.
- What is the longest river in the world?
- What is the most populated country in the world?
- Who was “William Shakespeare”?
- Where in the world is “Barcelona”?
- Which are the colors of the rainbow?
- What types of clouds are there?
There are many games to play, I’ve just selected a few that I think might be fun for children (or you).
Ding Dong Coconut
Ding Dong Coconut is a tricky brain game to help you train your auditive memory. It introduces two sounds, and one word is linked to each sound. Then they play the sound, and you must say the correct word. In each round, a new sound is introduced, and you must remember the combination to win. Just ask, “Please play Ding Dong Coconut,” to play.
Freeze Dance is a fun game for little ones. It gives you directives of the moves you should be doing, and then it rings a bell, and you must freeze in place.
Puzzle of the Day
Puzzle of the Day is a daily crossword puzzle game from Google Assistant. You can link it to your phone to track your progress (which we haven’t done). The level is advanced (my 6-year-old daughter would not know most of the questions), so I believe it is a game for older children or for yourself.
It will try to get you to link, but you can avoid this step by simply asking to “Get started with today’s puzzle, please.”
When the game starts, it tells you the difficulty level for the day.
The game consists of figuring out five words as a crossword puzzle. But instead of having to share letters, here you just have five clues and need to guess them independently.
You have several options after you’ve been given a clue:
- Reveal a letter
- Reveal the whole word
- Ask for more time
- Give up
Each word you guess gives you a certain number of points. And if you finish fast, you get extra points.
Finally, all five words work on a common theme. If you guess the final common theme, you can get more points or lose them.
By playing each day, you can increase levels and go from puzzle novice – to puzzle master.
And if you’d like to play more than once a day, you can join the puzzle league and pay a monthly fee (which we have not done).
It is a family game that everyone would like. Google randomly asks every player a certain set of questions and the winner will be announced at the end. It can be one of the best educational games for kids on Google Home.
Where to buy
We bought our Google Home device on Amazon. Researching for this post I saw that there are more updated versions and that now it is called Google Nest. I’d suggest you go and look for a more technological post to decide which option is best for you, but I am pretty sure that most of these command suggestions will be available (and so many more).
I’d suggest you visit the official Google Home webpage to have a look at all their devices and their latest additions and launches.
Google Home is a good tool for parents and kids
So, if you have Google Home and you only use it for music or tell time, I hope these ideas will spark new ways to make the most of it. You can play games, ask math questions, learn languages, hear animal sounds, and so much more. Squeeze all the juice you can from it 😉
We like having it around because we can all learn from it (us parents included), and it is great for the children to see that we are also curious and have questions that need answering. We are always learning.
If you have any other ideas of things to ask Google Home we would love to know.
Have a lovely day!
P.S. Below you have links to some of our most visited posts in case you would like to get some ideas 😉