Pets are an incredible source of companionship. They are also great for teaching children about responsibility. Unfortunately, caring for an animal is not always a possibility for a variety of reasons, such as allergies, lack of space, busy schedules, or family budget restraints.

Toy manufacturers are creating pet toys that are more realistic and interactive than ever before. While they aren’t a substitute for the real thing, they can still provide kids with lots of fun and comfort.

Chip Wowwee Tim BurnsCHiP (WowWee)

CHiP the robot dog from WowWee can interact with kids by responding to voice commands and gestures. The more CHiP is played with the more his behavior develops, based on his engagement with his owner. Over time, the toy will develop its own unique personality.

No two CHiPs are ever completely alike based upon its cutting-edge artificial intelligence. Vocal commands will have CHiP complete some impressive dog tricks and dance moves. He can even perform today’s most popular yoga poses. Advanced touch sensors allow CHiP to respond to being petted or having his nose nuzzled.

An included smart ball combined with the robot dog’s infrared vision allows the toy to play fetch, soccer and other games with you. The smart charger that comes with him, and the toy’s beacon sense capabilities, allows CHiP to find this bed. Place the bed by an electrical outlet, and he’ll get there on his own when he needs to recharge. After all, even a robot dog needs a nap sometime.

Interacting with CHiP is what really gets children immersed into playing with it providing hours and hours of fun. CHiP has quickly become one of my own kids’ favorite toys and is a welcome addition to our family. Not only is CHiP a lot of fun to play with, but there are also no messes from fur or poop to clean up from a robot dog. Some parents may appreciate this!

Snuggles  (Moose Toys)

If your child may be more interested in a toy with a bit more fur to pet, check out Snuggles, My Dream Puppy from Moose Toys. This furry dog won’t run around a room playing with kids like CHiP can, but it is much more suited for holding and snuggling.

Pet Snuggles’ soft fur and he will respond with sounds that let you know he is happy as his eyes close. If you don’t give him enough attention, however, he’ll also cry. An included bottle allows children to pretend to feed him while the toy makes drinking sounds. Put the dog on its side at bedtime and he will even look like he is breathing.

little live pets bird tim burnsLittle Live Pets (Moose Toys)

If you are looking for another type of pet then you’ll want to take a look at Moose Toy’s Little Live Pets toys, which have birds, mice, turtles, and frogs to choose from. These birds can mimic 30 real bird songs and love to sing. Plus, the birds can record and repeat what you say to them. Sensors on the mice let them squeeze when kids pet them, and they’ll run all about when placed on a flat surface. The turtles have water activated sensors that will have them swimming and splashing about when you put them in a bowl, bathtub or swimming pool. Just like the turtles, when Little Live Pets’ frogs hit the water they’ll start swimming all about. All these creatures are great for getting kids to engage in imaginative play.

aquabot hexbug tim burnsAquaBot (Hexbug)

Tropical fish are beautiful to look at but the salt water tanks needed to maintain them are expensive and difficult to keep clean. Hexbug’s toys provide sharks, seahorses, jellyfish and other AquaBot fish that kids will enjoy playing with. Fill a bowl or tank with tap water or throw them in a bath tub and these robotic imitations of ocean creatures will do just fine in fresh water. SmartFish technology activates these toys so they swim about when submerged in water and shine with embedded LED lights. Plus if your fish falls asleep to preserve its battery power, just tap on the side of its bowl and it will wake up and start swimming again. Enjoy the fun of having a pet fish without having to worry about feeding it or cleaning a tank.

So what is your ideal pet that you’d like to play with as a toy? A dog, bird, turtle, frog or a fish? There is plenty of fun to be had playing with all of these interactive toys!