Is your child begging for a new pet this year, but you’re not excited about having to clean up after yet another member of the family? Look no further: Here’s an array of low-maintenance pets for your young animal lover.
Zoomer Chimp (Spin Master)
The latest in the line of Zoomer robotic pets, this little guy has all the moves—standing upright or on all fours. Right out of the box, he knows 10 commands (watch what happens when you tell him to “go bananas”), and you can teach him even more. Zoomer Chimp makes a lot of sounds, has built-in “progressive play” (meaning that he doesn’t always move the same way), and he’ll let you know how he’s feeling by facial expressions and the color of his eyes. His wiggles and dances are adorable and funny, but he’ll need batteries, which aren’t included. Ages 5+. Prices vary widely, so shop around. http://www.spinmaster.com
Zoomer Hedgiez (Spin Master)
Even though they’re part of the Zoomer family, Hedgiez are a little less frantic than their robotic cousins (after all, hedgehogs aren’t known for their wild parties). Hedgiez come in several colors, do tricks, roll around, and love to play, cuddle, and giggle. The fur is soft and can be brushed or styled with the included comb. Hedgiez curl up when tickled (very cute) and blow you kisses. Batteries aren’t included, but a bunch of stickers are. Ages 5+. Prices vary. http://www.spinmaster.com
Chubby Puppies and Friends (Chubby Puppies)
These cute pets have been around for a while, but they just keep getting better. There are a lot more dogs now, and the company has added a variety of other animals, including bunnies, horses, pandas, and all kinds of cats. Some come with their own babies, and others come with “fashion sets,” like a carrying bag for the pup and accessories, such as sunglasses and bows. Larger playsets, such as a dog park and a fashion runway, are available too. Regardless of species, all Chubby Puppies need an AAA battery (included—yeah!) to walk, hop, and waddle. Ages 4+. $7.99 for individual pets, more for fashion sets and playsets. http://chubbypuppies.com
Build-A-Bear Workshop Stuffing Station (Spin Master)
Now you can create your own stuffed toys at home, just like in the stores. Each kit contains one Stuffing Station (which runs on kid power—batteries not required!), two Furry Friends (one bear, one bunny), two shirts, two hearts, two bags of stuffing, instructions, accessories, and adoption/birth certificates. Yes, you can get refills and more animals to stuff. Ages 4+, $29.99. https://shop.spinmaster.com
These pets have sweet faces, soft fur, are zero-tech, and will get your kids outside and moving. What could be better than that? Your Pup will follow you everywhere. Take him (or her) for a walk (indoors or out) and he’ll prance alongside, run, and even give bouncy “jumps” since he literally has a spring in his step. No baggies required. Ages 4+. $19.99 at Toys “R” Us, Amazon, and elsewhere.
Baby So Real (Cabbage Patch Kids)
What if your little one is begging for a new brother or sister instead of a pet? Well, for the first time, CPK has created an interactive doll experience. These life-like baby dolls have those classic Cabbage Patch looks but are loaded with the latest technology. They coo, burp, sleep, and even run a fever, which gives your child a chance to play mommy or daddy in a fairly authentic way—diaper changes included. The doll’s eyes open, close, and look around the room, and it has random reactions, just like “real” babies. As with all Cabbage Patch Kids, Baby So Real is soft and snuggly, and comes with removable clothes (additional outfits sold separately). And yes, there’s an app for that. It’s free, and simulates a baby monitor. Ages 4+. Under $100. http://www.cabbagepatchkids.com