Turn your Google home devices into a learning tool for kids with these fun hidden commands

Kate Mendonca
Shopping Editor

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Image courtesy of Google Nest.

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In 2019, nearly six million Canadians used a smart speaker at home, with Google Nest (formerly called Google Home) reigning supreme as the most popular device, followed by Amazon’s Echo speakers.

While we all may be familiar with using Google Nest to check in on the weather, play music, and plan out our schedules, there are so many more features available that you may not be taking advantage of. Parents and kids alike can put Google to use in both fun and educational settings, providing hours of entertainment while we’re all staying safe indoors. 

Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of the best Google Nest features that families can use to stay busy and keep learning going.

Study and learn from home

If you’re looking to use your time at home together to explore new interests or stay up to date on school subjects, YouTube recently launched a new feature that makes it easier than ever to learn from home. Learn@Home features channels on a variety of subjects, from math, to science to world history, and has a wide variety of content tailored to different age groups. When kids are feeling restless, they can even go on a virtual field trip with videos that will take them from a tour of Indonesia’s coral reefs to the Sydney Opera House.

Looking to brush up on math skills? Just say, “Hey Google, talk to Multiplication Test” to practice a little mental math and stay on top of time tables.

Getty Images.

Storytime for the whole family

If the kids are asking for storytime while parents are working, get them to interact with Google devices by saying, "Hey Google, tell me a story." Google Assistant will read a short family-friendly story for free, with even more choices available when it comes to bedtime routines. 

Google brings stories to life with sound effects as you read select Disney Little Golden Books aloud, like “Coco,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen,” and “Moana.” Simply ask your smart speaker "Hey Google, let's read along with Disney” or say a specific book title like, “Hey Google, read along with Frozen 2.”

Play a trivia game or take a fun quiz

Transform your living room into a game show competition with a range of games and quizzes that the entire family can enjoy. Test your knowledge by asking “Hey Google, play Jeopardy,” or simply say, “Hey Google, play a game” to pick from a variety of games for your family. 

If personality quizzes are more your speed than trivia, ask, “Hey Google, play What’s Your Inner Animal” and find out once and for all if you’re a polar bear or a flamingo.  

Stay in touch with family and friends

If you’re using your cell phone to stay connected, Google Duo is a simple, high quality video calling app that brings you face-to-face with friends and family. Available on Android and iOS, you can use the app to stay connected with loved ones and even join a group call with up to 12 people. 

Considering picking up a Google device for yourself? Shop a selection of smart home devices below.