My kids keep asking me for a pet. A dog. A cat. But I keep saying no. I was going to give in and get them a hamster, but someone - I can't remember who - convinced me that hamsters weren't a good idea either. Maybe I convinced myself.
It doesn't matter either way because they still got a hamster. Thanks to Maria Bailey and MomSelect my kids, and several of their friends, got a chance to play with and keep Zhu Zhu Pets, which are fun, interactive hamsters that talk, move and navigate around their own habitat. They're pets without the mess and they're extra cute to boot.
I had forgotten all about the Zhu Zhu Pets until I stepped out of my door last week and saw a box sitting in front of my door. I quickly moved into action to host a little gathering of children at our daycare provider's house. I took the loot to her house to set up for the children. Zhu Zhu Pets come with dozens of add-on sets so children can create a custom world for their little hamster friend. The set I had included a complete hamster "habitrail" including kitchen, hamster wheel and a few other tiny hamster amenities.
I set about putting the contraption together and discovered that it was the most difficult part. I didn't allow enough time to put it together, the children started arriving and hoovering around me. After awhile we decided to let them start playing with their hamsters and we all became entranced at the cute little things skittering across the floor. The children oohed and aahed over them while the hamsters squeaked, turned and spun around.
Once the habitrail was constructed the race was on to see who could get their hamster to the end of the trail first. Unfortunately, the trail didn't stand up to the test. Several of us tried to get it clicked together properly, but some parts didn't quite fit. The children didn't seem to notice as they let their hamsters explore.
They rolled through the fun house, went up and down the spiral slide, rode the waves on a surf board and explored under couches and tables in the little blue car. The children chased, ran and jumped, which accounts for the lack of faces in the pictures. :) One of the most popular hamster features was the Go Go Adventure Ball that captured everyone's attention at the same time.
The one below scooted across part of the directions that were forgotten on the floor. His name is Chunk. Yup, they all have names and this particular "family" also came with Pipsqueak, Squiggles and Numnums.
This trio, which includes my daughter and my son (in the center), watched the hamsters go this way and that. Don't be fooled by their blank expressions, they were just waiting for their turn to race their hamsters through the habitrail.
Zhu Zhu pets are recommended for ages four and older, but if there are younger siblings who want to play along I think they are fine with supervision. My youngest (below) and her two friends (twins who aren't pictured) would not be left out of the fun.
The toy is available now at Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Amazon.com as well as other retailers. Check out their site for more information. You'll get a chance to see the cute commercial, if you haven't already, and the hamsters in action. My middle daughter saw the commercial while waiting in the pediatrician's office and she almost fell over herself in excitement trying to point it out.
I donated the habitrail to the daycare provider (my youngest daughter attends daily and the other two go on breaks and holidays) so that she can share it with other children. My kids happily took the hamsters home and haven't stopped playing with them since Friday. (My son discovered that they're strong enough to push some of his toys around!)
Want a pet for your kid that only eats AAA batteries (they last days!) and doesn't make a mess? Then pick up a couple of Zhu Zhu pets and their habitrail; it'll keep them busy for hours!