How to turn any Amazon Echo into a Kids Edition
The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is a nifty little bundle, but did you know that you can turn any Amazon Echo into a Kids Edition version? If you have an old Echo speaker that you'd like to give your child — or a spare Echo Dot that you picked up in an Amazon bundle — then you can make it act just like a Kids Edition. It doesn't require any extra hardware, and it'll take you mere minutes to complete.
Products used in this guide
- Affordable Echo speaker: Echo Dot (3rd Gen) ($40 at Amazon)
- Parental controls, child entertainment: Amazon Kids+ ($3-$10/mo at Amazon)
Set up Amazon Kids+ on an Amazon Echo
Amazon recently changed the name of its FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited service to Amazon Kids and Amazon Kids+. We use both interchangeably here because both terms can still be found in some of Amazon's marketing materials.
- Open the Amazon Alexa app.
- Tap the Devices tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap Echo & Alexa in at the top left of the screen.
- Tap the Echo device you want to convert.
- Under General device settings, tap FreeTime (this should be converted to the newer Amazon Kids+ name soon).
- Tap the toggle for FreeTime to enable FreeTime/Amazon Kids+ on your device.
- Tap Setup Amazon FreeTime.
- Enter your child's name, gender, and age.
- Select a profile icon.
- Tap Add Child.
- We need to grant Amazon permission to collect data about your child's habits and usage. Tap Continue.
- Sign in to your Amazon account.
- The Parental Consent agreement will be displayed. Tap I agree.
- You'll need to decide which Alexa Services you want accessible on Amazon Kids+.
- Scroll to the bottom and tap Continue.
With setup complete, you can use the free tier of Amazon Kids+ on Alexa immediately. With that free tier, you can use many of the Kids Edition features such as:
- Explicit song filtering (through Amazon Music or Spotify Premium)
- Educational Q&A and progress reports
- Adjustable age filters and content controls
- Sharing a parent's paid content with child profiles
- Thanking children when they say please
- Time limits and bedtime-enforced quiet hours
- Easily disable voice purchasing
- Quickly engage 1-12 hour pauses
Do I need Amazon Kids+?
While Amazon Kids+ is not required, it does enable your child to do a whole lot more with an Amazon Echo device — as well as other devices thanks to the Amazon Kids+ app for Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire tablets. The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a year of Amazon Kids+, which gives your child access to the following content:
- Premium Alexa skills and licensed character alarms
- Hundreds of Audible audiobooks
- Kid-friendly playlists and ad-free radio stations from iHeartRadio, Disney, Nickelodeon, National Geographic, and more
- Age-appropriate apps and games (on Android and Amazon Fire phones, tablets)
- 10,000 popular videos and books (on phones, tablets, Fire TV)
Without Unlimited, you'll need to have an Amazon Music or Spotify subscription for your child to access music with the explicit music filter turned on, and you'll have to purchase and add audiobooks to your child's account before they can listen to them on their Kids+-enabled Amazon Echo. If you already have an ample music and audiobook library to share with your child, Unlimited may not be needed, but it definitely upgrades your child's experience.
How to sign up for Amazon Kids+
- Open the Amazon Kids+ Subscription page.
- Click Start your 1-month free trial.
Your trial will start immediately thanks to Amazon 1-Click. If you don't cancel your subscription before the month is over, the payment method associated with Amazon 1-Click purchases will be charged.
Our top equipment picks
Technically, you can activate Amazon Kids+ on any Amazon Echo product, but if you're buying a new device for your child, it certainly makes sense to buy the newest Amazon Echo Dot, which is compact enough for any child's nightstand or plushie-covered dresser and is the most affordable for the parent as well.
A plush but powerful little hockey puck
The Echo Dot is child-sized but has almost all the same features as its big brothers. The newest model packs a bigger speaker and better microphones into nearly the same size profile and gives it a cuter, cuddlier look.
Again, any Amazon Echo speaker could be used with Amazon Kids and Amazon Kids+, but the Echo Dot's small size and plush look make it perfect for smaller rooms and smaller hands. The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is basically a third-generation Echo Dot with a better warranty, so it'll even look the same as a real Kids Edition — minus the pretty rainbows, of course.
Note: Amazon recently introduced the Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen), which is now available for pre-order. We will update this list when we get our hands on the new speaker.
Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen)
Amazon's new Echo Dot Kids Edition is round, has a larger, more powerful speaker than the previous generation, and comes in fun tiger and panda versions.
Going all-in on child-proofing your Echo Dot
In order to get the full "Kids Edition" experience, you'll need the following equipment and services to get rolling. It won't give you that "two-year worry-free warranty," but it can help you get most of the protection and features.
Mission Cables Skin for Echo Dot (3rd Gen) ($10 at Amazon)
The fabric sides of the Echo Dot 3rd gen make it look cuddlier, making it more prone to spills and stains. This silicone cover should help keep the Echo clean and safe from your kids (as long as water's not involved).
Amazon Kids+ (From $3/mo at Amazon)
This subscription can expand the parental controls over your child's Amazon Kids+ account, but it also opens your child up to whole new worlds of content and possibility.
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Jeramy is the Editor-in-Chief of Android Central. He is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.