Acquired: Pet store
Posted Jun 03, 2015
I owned several guinea pigs as childhood pets, and they were the first pets I had that were entirely my responsibility. My guinea pig was very active, often standing on top of the house we put into his cage to look around the room. He needed to be played with and given attention every once and a while, and he was easy to take out of his cage and handle, particularly for a child. He never bit anyone's fingers(unless you happened to be holding a carrot!), and was calm when being carried by younger kids. When taken out of the cage, he needed constant supervision to be sure that he wouldn't slip into a closet or get lost in the house, but with a guinea pig ball, this job of making sure he didn't get into trouble was made easier (just keep away from stairs!).
There were very limited negative aspects to owning a guinea pig. His cage began to smell if it was left unchanged for more than a week or two, and it was important to thoroughly clean the cage to avoid making the room smell. Guinea pigs also have a shorter life span, and last only about 3-5 years.
Overall, I would recommend guinea pigs as pets to families with children learning responsibility. They are calm around children, and make good companions without a 10-15 year commitment. They are more substantial than hamsters, and they lack the incessant noise at night that hamsters make running on their wheels. A great childhood pet!