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Alexa Skills Challenge Offers $250,000 in Prizes for Best Kid Skills

By Robyn Fisher, Amazon

October 30, 2017

We’re thrilled to announce Alexa Skills Challenge: Kids with Devpost, an opportunity for developers to publish a stellar Alexa skill for kids under the age of 13 for a chance to win their share of cash and prizes totaling $250,000. All eligible participants will take home a limited-edition Echo Dot. Twenty finalists will take home $5,000 and will get their skill promoted by Amazon across multiple channels. On top of all that, the winners will get:
 

  • Grand Prize: The winner for the overall best Alexa skill will be chosen from the finalists and will receive $20,000 in addition to their $5,000 finalist prize, for a total of $25,000 in cash. The grand prize winner will also get a cool trophy to show off to their family, friends, and fellow students/co-workers.
  • Bonus Prize – Kid Favorite, Parent Approved: The winner for the best skill as voted by kids and their parents will be chosen from the finalists and will receive $5,000 in addition to their $5,000 finalist prize, for a total of $10,000 in cash.
  • Bonus Prize – Best Skill by High School Students: The winner of this bonus prize will receive $10,000 and need not be a finalist. The winning individual or team members must be age 13-18, and currently enrolled in a high school in the US and Canada.
  • Bonus Prize – Best Skill by University Students: The winner of this bonus prize will receive $10,000 and need not be a finalist. The winning individual or team members must be currently enrolled in an accredited university.
  • Bonus Prize – Best Educational Skill: The winner of this bonus prize will receive $5,000 and need not be a finalist. This prize is intended for the best Alexa skill that helps kids under 13 learn something new such as critical thinking, listening comprehension, spelling, math, science or other valuable skill or subject.
  • Bonus Prize – Best Skill Designed for Echo Show: The winner of this bonus prize will receive $5,000 and need not be a finalist. This prize is intended for the best Alexa skill for kids under 13 designed for Echo Show.


These prizes are to be split among team members, or hoarded if the winning skill was built by just one person. To be eligible, skills must be designated “child-directed” in the Amazon Developer Console, submitted in English for the U.S. Alexa Skills Store, and accompanied by a complete submission package on AlexaKidSkills.devpost.com.

Round 1 begins now. You have 11 weeks to build and submit your skill for certification and provide your submission package to Devpost by January 10. Submit sooner and take advantage of the holiday season—when more families can enable and experience your skill on new devices in their home. This will give you more time to get ratings, feedback, and improve your skill as needed. On January 30, we’ll announce the 20 finalists. In round 2, Amazon will promote the 20 finalists’ skills and customer engagement will become a selection criteria. On February 28, we’ll announce the winners.

If you’re interested in participating—and we hope that you are—we recommend that you sign up for our webinar on November 8 to learn best practices for building kid skills. Here are some resources to get you started.
 

Get Ready

If you’re interested in participating—and we hope that you are—we recommend that you sign up for our webinar on November 8 to learn what kids find engaging when it comes to voice experiences. We'll share tips and best practices for building skills that educate, entertain, and engage kids under 13. Here are more resources to get you started.
 

Why Kid Skills?

In August, we announced that Alexa now supports kid skills. This was an important moment for us because we strive to make Alexa a valuable service for the whole family. What’s more, much of our developer community had expressed interest in creating skills for kids. We’re looking for high-quality kid skills that create valuable and enriching experiences for the next generation.

 

What Are We Looking For?

The Alexa Skills Challenge invites developers to build an Alexa skill that educates, entertains, and engages kids under 13. We’re looking for skills that invite young listeners to explore new things, to be creative, ask questions, solve problems, and be proud of their accomplishments. A great educational skill should inspire learning. Maybe your skill will help kids set goals, or get into a routine, plan a project, or follow step-by-step instructions.

But sometimes kids just want to have fun! So we’re looking for highly entertaining kid skills too. Consider skills that have interactive stories, funny jokes or sounds, or a sing-along with other kids. Create something kids will tell their friends about on the playground.

Your skill will be judged on:

  • the quality, creativity, and originality of your idea
  • the implementation of your idea including ease-of-use and whether it performs as expected
  • its potential impact including its ability to educate, entertain, and/or engage children under 13
  • its accompanying submission package including the skill description and ID, video demo, and other materials
  • customer engagement including factors such as minutes of usage, the number of new and recurring customers, customer ratings, and more


Check out our guide, 7 Tips for Building Standout Skills Your Customers Will Love. All of those tips apply for kid skills, but even more so when dealing with short attention spans. Make your skill memorable. Make your skill easy to use. Make your skill delightful. Explore some of the most engaging kid skills to date including: Tricky Genie, The Tickle Monster Game!, The Name Game (banana-fana), and Listening Comprehension Practice. Check out the case study on Tellables, the developer behind Tricky Genie and Listening Comprehension Practice.

Register for the Alexa Skills Challenge now. We look forward to seeing what educational, entertaining, and engaging skills you build for kids!

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