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Amazon Video makes family content available to all customers, no Prime needed

Amazon is opening up its family-centric programming to all of its customers, regardless of whether they have an Amazon Prime subscription. Normally only available to Prime subscribers, titles include the Amazon Original series Just Add Magic, Pete the Cat, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, and more, as well as licensed content like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, Peep and the Big Wide World, Arthur, and several other big names. However, most movies on Prime are still for subscribers only.

You can find the whole selection of free content on Amazon’s site. All you need is an Amazon account to view the shows. If you don’t have one, you can create one for free.

One of the hardest challenges for families practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak is figuring out how to keep kids busy. With the usual strategies off limits, good options are few and far between, especially if the parents are trying to do their jobs from home. And while few parents relish the idea of increasing screen time as a solution, there’s no question that the right content can keep kids engaged while also passing along some worthwhile messages.

To access the free shows, you can use any of the typical Amazon Prime Video platforms: On the web using a browser, and on a streaming device, tablet, phone, or smart TV using the Amazon Prime Video app.

Releasing these family-oriented titles for free is Amazon’s latest in a string of moves designed to ease the burden for those trapped at home due to COVID-19, the official name of the coronavirus. Earlier this month, Audible — an Amazon subsidiary — opened up a library of free audiobooks for kids and teens, saying that as long as the schools remained closed, the books would remain free.

The company also launched special subscription pricing on its FreeTime service for kids: $1 for three months. FreeTime combines various forms of media including games, books, audiobooks, apps, and videos. Parents can create custom learning goals within the FreeTime app, which may temporarily help offset the lack of school-based instruction.

Looking for a new device to run all of these free or discounted services? Amazon has options there too, with discounts on its Kids Edition Fire tablets and Kindle eReaders.

Obviously nothing can fully replace the quality of the interactions kids get through school and playing with friends but for parents desperate for alternatives, these Amazon services can at least add some variety to the steady diet of online games and YouTube videos that have become the virtual babysitters for youngsters stuck at home.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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