Family Money Saving Tips

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Kids

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children
Written by Oana Schneider

Before we start counting down names of pets you could get for your children, there are a few things to actually worry about. And worry a lot! We know that kids love having a little buddy to play with at all times, but make sure you are well-informed before purchasing anything. Without further ado, here are a few guiding lines:

Know What You’re Getting Yourself Into

Everybody loves puppies and kittens, but make sure you are well aware of what having one of them around the house means. For starters, they will need medical care, vaccines, food, playtime and someone to clean after them. Like it or not, pets are just kids that never grow up, so prepare yourself for a life of spilled milk, water, soup, chewed on shoes, hairy rugs, drooling and heavy breathing. Did we mention the walks in the park that need to take place every day?

They Grow Up so Fast

Also, pets will grow up faster than your kids, which means that your little puppy can become a huge dog within a year: imagine how hard it is to bathe it then! That goes for normal pets like dogs, pigs and cats, but you don’t have to go so far to please your little one. Here’s a list of pets you could get without worrying about size or maintenance.

Low Maintenance Pets for Kids

1. Ants

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

If your children are very curious and generally interested in how life works, ants will be a great idea, just make sure they stay in their little space. There are a few advantages: you don’t have to clean after them, take them out for a walk, feed them very often and you can also explain to your children how a society works, how people are just like that, going to work and building their own homes. The downside is that your little ones could get bored very easy, and that’s when it’s time to move on to another kind of pet.

2. Hermit crabs

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

You could try hermit crabs: they are clean, don’t need a lot of maintenance (just feed them regularly and keep their box closed). The bad part is that, no matter what you do, it will still be impossible to pet the hermit crabs, so your kids might feel slightly frustrated. We recommend that you move on to a new pet in at least 6 months.

3. Fish

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

Each kid should have their own golden fish: they are low-maintenance, cheerful, vibrant and don’t make any noise. If you have a lot of them, you’ll need to clean the fish tank quite often or the fish will get sick. Plus, they need to be fed regularly, so it’s best not to leave that to your children. However, a small ball with just one gold fish could be the way to do it!

4. Small lizards

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

If you don’t have a natural fear of lizards, why not buy one? Take Geckos, for example: they are nice, friendly, don’t bite and rarely need any kind of maintenance. You don’t have to bathe them, clean after them too often or go overboard when it comes to food. The downside is that you might step on them, as awful as it sounds. They have a tendency to explore every little corner of the house, if you let them loose. If you don’t, they become depressed and then sick. However, they are very fun to be around and your children will absolutely love having a small lizard!

5. Tortoises and turtles

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

They might be slow, but also very adorable! You can buy a very small one for your child and watch it grow. It would be a great way to find out more about nature, its creatures and especially turtles. The good thing is that these tiny pets enjoy vegetables, so you can feed them small amounts of green peppers, tomatoes, strawberries or apples. If your little one doesn’t mind a pet that less active than they would expect, that’s the way to go!

6. Small birds

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

Time to adopt a singer? Go for a small bird then! All they need is a nice cage, grains, some medicines every now and then and lots and lots of love, which I’m sure your little one will be more than happy to provide! However, there are a few things you need to be careful about: first of all, loneliness drives birds crazy, so you have two options: either buy more than one or let your bird out of her cage to really enjoy freedom. If you have a nice basement where your kids can play, set the bird free and close all the doors in the house.

7. Chinchilla

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

If you don’t like chinchillas, you don’t know what you’re missing. These adorable creatures with soft fur and curious whiskers doesn’t need a lot of space: just a nice glass box, food and a spinning wheel for the daily dose of fun! Teach your children to feed it and they’ll have a great time. You shouldn’t expect them to take care of the chinchilla all the time, because kids forget things and the little creature might be neglected or even starve to death. Choose to do everything together and don’t miss the chance to teach your children about nature and animals.

8. Chipmunks

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

It’s time to move on to the next low-maintenance pet on our list: who doesn’t like chipmunks? If you think you can keep up with this little fella, you should really buy it!  Before you do, however, stock up on nuts, walnuts and peanuts, tell your children to watch out for scratches and you’re good to go. Although some people prefer keeping them in a cage, it’s best to set them free around the house every now and then. Once they get used to you and your family, you won’t have to worry that they will run away. They can be just as loyal as dogs!

9. Guinea pig

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

Pretty much every child had a Guinea pig growing up. Prepare yourself for your share of cuteness, softness, restless chewing, wall-scratching and every now and then biting. However, this little fella is quite, doesn’t require a lot of attention and will do just fine on carrots, grains and some good old hay. The main problem with Guinea pigs is obesity. Kids love them so much that they keep feeding them all day long. Since Guinea pigs are far from being the most active creatures on this planet, all that fat goes straight to their skin tissue.

10. Cat

10 Low Maintenance Pets for Your Children

Yes, you knew this was about to happen. After experimenting with all kinds of pets, every family has to buy a cat or a dog eventually. We chose cats because they don’t need walking, too much bathing, or extreme grooming treatments like a Poodle would, for example. Just purchase a short-haired cat, give her all your love and affection and, if you have a camera around, you can make a bunch of cute homemade videos. Plus, your kids will love playing with it, just make sure to get it checked out periodically in order to avoid parasites and diseases. Other than that, your life will soon become cat-tastic!

Last Updated on

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois and was part of our team as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget and has a degree in Communications.


  • Rats should be on this list! I have had several of the pets similar ones to the above listed (bugs, hermit crabs, rabbits, etc.), but none of them were as good as a pet as rats are. You can teach them tricks such as to come when you call them and spin in a circle. The give kisses just like puppies. They very seldom bite if at all. The only time I experienced a nip was when I first got them and was taking them out of their box. Moreover, they are very clean animals. They tend to choose one spot of their cage, and the rest of it remains tidy. Rats are my number suggestion for anyone who wants to surprise their child with a pet!

    • I absolutely agree with you! Even though I do not own pet rats myself, I am quite aware that rats are not only cute and easy to take care of, but also very intelligent. Rats have an IQ around the same as a dog. Even though they are pretty crazy when it comes to breeding, I believe overall they are very easy maintenance and are amazing pets.

  • I like the idea of easy care pets, but I would like to suggest that the fish choice be changed from goldfish to betta. I keep fancy goldfish, and they are a joy – but very messy fish that require adequate filtration, aeration, etc, far beyond life in a bowl. I think the stereotypical “goldfish bowl” is part of the reason people think they are short-lived fish. They sadly poison themselves and die. In reality, when they are cared for properly as I mention above, they can live for years and become very large!

    I hope your readers fully research the recommended tank size, filtration, heaters, etc that are required for the fish they choose, not to mention proper water change technique and feeding practices. 🙂

  • Huh. A lot of these pets are creatures I would never think of owning — even less giving to my kids! I mean, some of them are pretty cool, chipmunks and all. I guess I’m just too conventional and I’ve let them have a cat before I ever bought them something like an hermit crab!

    I think animals that they can play and cuddle with are better overall than things like fishes. But then again, I never liked fish, or even anything remotely scaly!

    • Yeah. Chinchillas and Chipmunks. I did not know that they can be pets. My thinking of what is a pet is extremely narrow too. I think the first half of the list could be a could starter for small children and a good step by step update. Somehow giving children responsibility in a very controlled manner.

  • Ants as pets? Well that is certainly an interesting entry into this list! Even more interesting than you thinking that cats are low maintenance!

    Fish and hamsters are probably the best ideas to be honest.

    • It really depends on the cat, I’d say. A family should never get a cat and then keep it outside most of the time. However, cats are sometimes very affectionate and require a lot more work than most people realize, so I’d have to agree that they’re not exactly low maintenance animals.

      • We once had cats. We did not need to look after them too much. We only gave them a large place to roam around and sufficient food ever day. I think we have the low maintenance kind of cats?

        The only complaint I had when we had them was they are sneaky. One cat once ate our lunch and that drove us mad for a bit. We changed to a dog there after.

  • I’m not sure that everything on this list is actually low maintenance, but there are some great pets on this list. I’ve owned a few of them over the years, and hamsters are pretty low maintenance, except for when you have to clean the cage. It’s always smart to start kids out with easy to handle pets rather than a dog or cat because kids often can’t care for those types of animals.

  • I never had most things on this list other then dogs and cats. We always had one of each growing up plus some farm animals. Everyone pitched in. I can see for a younger child why these pets would be better though.

  • Also, one thing to consider is how long the pet could eventually live, not just cats and dogs. Birds can live quite a long time too, so it’s important to pick a pet that they will not get bored with easily and you’ll have to find a new home for. Make sure they are responsible and interested enough so that you can keep the pet for its life, assuming nothing extreme happens like sickness in the family or a move that require you to get rid of the pet.

    • This is important to take note of. I am glad you mentioned it. When I was younger both my sister and I were given parakeets. Neither of us were up for that kind of responsibility throughout the years. We were both busy with school and trying different sports or instruments. Eventually, the parakeets were given away.

  • I added pets that are low-maintenance, not no-maintenance, to begin with. If you think you can get a pet and then never ever do anything about it, you are wrong. However, some pets are easier to take care of than others. I know there are some very high maintenance cats out there, but I would probably never buy my kid something like that. A common cat is just as good as any. And cats are easier to deal with than dogs, to be honest. We’ve recently adopted a dog and taking care of it wouldn’t really be a great pain, but it just chews on every single shoe I have and already managed to tear apart the only basketball we had in the house. This was my consideration when I wrote the article. If you have any other ideas for pets, please share!

  • I am strong believer that it is important for children to have pets while they’re growing up, because it gives them the chance to learn to look after something, and to love something that belongs to them. I love fish, because they don’t take all that much effort to look after, yet they can look very pretty. Children can spend large numbers of hours looking at their fish, so I think that it is a great thing to buy for them. And, if it is the right time for you to get a pet, it is a great and unusual birthday gift for your child, so this might be a good time to buy a pet for them.

  • A friend of mine has a turtle as a pet. It grew so large now. Her father created a pond for that turtle to roam around in. Since that turtle is estimated to live a long life, I think she can pass down that turtle to her children.

    It was a rescue and not bought on a pet store. Pets can grow old and large, happy that this turtle found a good place. Good thing too that this turtle is low maintenance. The large and old turtle will be taken cared of even on the next generation.

  • I would opt for the super low maintenance pets like ants or fish, its amazing how children can lend personalities to these unresponsive animals. A child can make a friend with anything, no matter the size or level of intelligence. If you want something even lower maintenance go for sea monkeys! The next level down would be a pet rock 🙂

    • Ain’t that the truth! My son has been treating our turtle like it was his long lost brother! I would often walk in on him giggling in the corner talking to it and telling it jokes he just learned from his classmates. Turtles are quite the patient animals too. Ours never even hides in its shell anymore; it’s gotten used to my son constantly petting it.

      Here’s a tip if you’ve got turtles: they absolutely love bananas!

  • This article is an absolute lifesaver for me. Everyone in the house has always wanted a pet, but are always too busy for a pet that requires a large amount of maintenance. Even though we knew pets such as fishes were low maintenance, we all wanted a pet that we could interact with. We are all planning on getting a pet lizard or a pet turtle now.

  • Um. You should never let a lizard free roam. They will not get depressed if they are not let out to free roam. Also if you are going to move on from hermit crabs, don’t own them they are very complex animals

  • Great post. It’s good to teach kids the responsibility of caring for another living thing. I’d never heard of Hermit Crabs before actually, they look pretty cool.

Leave a Comment