The Echo Dot Kids Edition is an exact replica of the regular Echo Dot, except that it comes with a red, green, or blue protective rubber-case and works in unison with Amazon’s Alexa app to provide content for children of different age groups.
Let’s find out why.
The $80 device carries a two-year warranty, entitling you to a free replacement should your device get damaged.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition also comes with a year of Amazon’s Free Time Unlimited, for up to four children, allowing access to kid-friendly content like audiobooks, e-books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, games, and a lot of other cool stuff for kids.
Normally, it would cost you $2.99 a month to get the Free Time Unlimited.
If you have never owned or seen an Echo Dot before, it comes equipped with seven far-field microphones for accurately picking up your voice commands and a built-in speaker that plays back Alexa’s responses and music.
If you want to connect this to an external speaker system, Echo Dot allows you to do that through the integrated auxiliary out, or via Bluetooth, whichever you prefer.
Enclosed with the device is a charging cable, plus a booklet that talks about some of the things your kids can ask of Alexa.
The four buttons on top of the device include:
- The Alexa button, for activating the voice assistant
- The volume up button with the (+) symbol
- The volume down button with the (-) symbol
- The Mute button to pause or disable Alexa temporarily, which actually means that Alexa will not respond to the keyword command, “Alexa,” until you un-mute the device.
You can actually enable the kids’ mode on your existing Echo Dot; all you need to do is subscribe for the $2.99/month Free Time Unlimited and download the Alexa app on your Android or iOS device.
The obvious question to ask, here, would be:
Why have the Echo Dot Kids Edition, in the first place, when the Echo Dot can serve the purpose?
Yes, your regular Echo Dot can pretty much do the exact same things in conjunction with the Alexa app, but the problem is that when you have Free Time enabled on your device, you cannot control your Alexa-enabled smart-home devices from that particular Echo Dot.
Therefore, it does make a lot of sense to have a dedicated device for your kids, which you can monitor, customize, and manage through your smartphone, using the Alexa app, while you keep your existing device for your own grown-up requirements.
To set up the Echo Dot Kids Edition, all you need to do is turn on the device by plugging it in and, then, download the latest version of the Amazon Alexa app on your Android or iOS device.
To connect to the device, access the Wi-Fi settings on your phone and connect to the Echo that pops up, and you’re good to go.
You can access the Kids’ Room option from the app menu and, once inside, you can change the name of the device and the network if you want; you can add Bluetooth devices, which means you have an additional option of connecting to external speakers, in addition to the auxiliary out, as mentioned earlier.
There are myriads of other things that you can setup and customize using the Alexa app; here are some of them.
You have options that allow you to add Alexa gadgets and Echo remote.
You can access the Sound option to adjust your alarm volume and select the alarm tone from the included choices, so your kid can wake up to some really interesting tones, designed specifically for kids.
The Free Time option in your app menu allows you to enable this kid-friendly feature, giving your kids access to some great fun stuff.
Please note that when you set up your device for the very first time and link it to the app, you will be asked if you want to sign up for Free Time.
So, make sure that you set up your account with Free Time in order to get the feature enabled, after which you will be able to access the Free Time app.
The Amazon Free Time app allows you to add all your children by name and then customize their accounts, individually, according to their age.
For example, you can set different time limits for weekdays and weekends, for each of your children.
If you have set the “Bedtime” for 9:30 pm and the “Stay Off Until” time to 7:00 am, Alexa will not entertain your child’s voice command requests from 9:30 pm to 7:00 am the following morning.
So, if your kid puts in a request to Alexa after the 9:30 pm cut-off time, Alexa will respond with a polite, “Sorry, I can’t play right now. Try again later.”
You can even control how much time your children can devote to a particular activity, like, for example, you can limit them to, say, 20 minutes a day on apps, or books, or movies.
You can set up conditions like not allowing them to watch movies or listen to music until they have given 30 minutes to books.
You can set an age range for each of your children to control what they can access; so, if you set up an age range of 10-15 years for your 12-year old kid, the app will only show Free-Time Unlimited and web content appropriate for that age parameter.
The best part is that the Parent’s Dashboard allows you to, actually, monitor the Echo Dot activity for each of your children.
Through this you can keep a tab on how much TV your children watch; how many games they play and for how long; the time they devote to books, and so on.
At just $79.99, the Echo Dot Kids Edition is fantastic value for money and a great gift for your children for kid-friendly entertainment, with a lot of educational input.