Inspiration

I am the eldest among my siblings. The age gap between me and my siblings ranges from 4 years younger to 16 years younger. My parents and most of my relatives are working and I'm a college freshman. They continuously have important deadlines to meet, crucial presentations to prepare for, and other office engagements and on the other hand, I too have assignments, projects and homework. Though we have become accustomed to working in noisy surroundings, sometimes our work requires us to have complete concentration. At those 'sometimes', we wish there would be something to keep the kids busy. Keeping this in mind, I started working on this Alexa skill.

What it does

The kids usually of my siblings age (2-12 years) have a wild imagination. Their imagination is not limited to by the walls of the house or the number of toys they currently have. They love to make up hypothetical scenarios and imagine themselves trying to experience the imaginary. Now, this may seem harmful to the mind, living in a fantasy, but scientific studies show contradiction. 'Pretend play' games actually develop the children's social and emotional skills like sharing responsibility, moral development, develops children's language skills, sharpen thinking skills, and of course, nurturing their imagination. So, keeping in mind the pros of pretend plays, I made the "Alexa Pretend Play" (a.k.a APP), which would suggest the kids options for pretend play whenever they are bored and turn to Alexa for answers. This way, Alexa would be able to push the kids into their colorful would of imagination and keep them occupied while we elders work on our respective official or academic tasks without any disturbances.

How I built it

First, I had to conduct an extensive, almost 2 month long, to find out what the kids mostly think of, what are their wildest imaginations, what do they want to do? After I finished this survey, I filtered out the superficial ideas and concentrated the 'plays' to around 10. Then I randomized the function and collaborated the replies with the randomness of the function. This way, the kids get a completely random suggestion of a random pretend play each time they ask Alexa.

Challenges I ran into

The biggest challenge was to imagining the prompts the kids would use to activate and enable the APP skill. Because they are young and not very efficient in language. Because of this, I had to again conduct an almost 2 month long naturalistic observation of kids playing in my home, parks, play-areas in malls etc and concentrated the most frequent prompts to around 10.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am happy that I was finally introduced to this amazing world of customization. This is my 1st Amazon Alexa App and I am happy that I was able to address such a huge issue of disturbance with a solution that is a win-win situation for both the elders and the kids.

What's next for APP : (Alexa Pretend Play)

This is just the starting for APP. I've already started working on widening the database of pretend plays which the skill can suggest. Apart from simply suggesting the plays, the skill, in future, will start remembering the suggestions. Not only that, it'll also start figuring out whether the kid liked the suggestion or not, and will tailor its suggestions according to the kid's likes.

SKILL ID: amzn1.ask.skill.4ab6de8d-e55c-42e5-bf15-9f08b64d46e8

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