Having a guinea pig is nearly a rite of passage for many people, as many have fond memories of owning a guinea pig or having one as a classroom pet. Your child is likely to start hampering you about having one the minute she sets her eyes on her very first guinea pig. Whether or not you are ready to let your child have one, you can still plan creative, guinea-pig themed activities that teach her more about these furry rodents and how to care for them.
Books on Guinea Pigs
Read non-fiction and fiction books with your kids that teach them about guinea pigs. For kids ages 4 and older, "I Love Guinea Pigs," by Dick King-Smith, teaches young children about the history of guinea pigs, how they should be cared for and fun facts. Another book for that age group to check out is "Charlie and Lola: I Totally Know About Guinea Pigs," by Lauren Child, follows a brother and sister team as they try to care for and lose Lola's class guinea pig. For kids 9 and older, "Your Guinea Pig: A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing," by Wanda L. Curran, provides in-depth information on properly caring for guinea pigs.
Guinea Pig Crafts
Work on cute guinea pig crafts with your kids. You can make guinea pigs out of large pom-pom craft balls. Purchase the pom-pom balls in tan, cream and light brown colors to represent guinea pigs. Use strong, tacky glue to attach two pom-pom balls together, then let your child paste on felt eyes, nose, ears, tail and pieces of fishing line for whiskers. You can also make paper bag guinea pig puppets using white paper lunch bags. Give your child tan and brown markers to create the guinea pig look on both sides of the bag. Have your child cut black eyes, brown ears and a pink nose from construction paper to glue to the bottom flap of the bag. She can use white pipe cleaners for the whiskers.
Guinea Pig Games
Have your kids and their friends play outdoor games with a guinea pig theme. Young children can play a different version of "duck, duck, goose," using the words "hamster, hamster, guinea pig" instead. For another game, assign half the kids to be guinea pigs who have escaped their cage. The rest of the kids have to get them back by tagging the guinea pigs and bringing them back to the designated 'cage' area. However, another guinea pig can free a caged one by tagging them back in. If the kids can get all the guinea pigs bag into the cage before a certain time, they win. Otherwise, the guinea pigs win.
Guinea Pig Visit
If you are considering letting your child have a guinea pig as a pet, visit a local pet store so that your child can see and hold one. A pet store clerk can talk to your child about how much responsibility is involved in caring for a pet and what needs to be done on a daily basis. You can let your child think about it and come back in a few days to pick one out. If you don't feel your child is quite ready for her own guinea pig, consider letting her visit with a friend or family member that has one she can play with every once in a while.