Guinea Pigs make excellent first pets for children over the age of 8. Caring for one is a great way to introduce a child to the responsibility of caring for and animal, as they are fairly low maintenance and do not require a lot of attention.
It is important that you try to keep Guinea pigs in pairs if possible as they are social animals and like to live in groups. If you feel that you are unable to keep more than one, maybe you should consider a hamster, rabbit or mouse instead.
Before buying a Guinea pig, you should also make sure that you have enough space in your house for the cage. Cages do not need to be huge, although you should set aside an area of around two metres squared to place it. Other equipment that you are likely to need includes a hamster ball, drinking bottle and feeding tray.
In terms of food, they eat dry food, straw and occasionally like carrots or other raw vegetables. When they eat they store the food in their cheeks for digestion later, and this is what gives them their puffed out cheeks.
The best place to leave your Guinea pig cage is in a spare room or in the garage as they can sometimes smell quite a bit. They are also prone to making noises during the night so you do not want to keep them in a bedroom as they may keep you awake. At first they may seem like fairly timid creatures although once they get to know their new surroundings they will grow in confidence and will happily sit on your knee while you stoke them. Fin out more about them here: http://www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html
In terms of lifespan they live up to 8 and 10 years and they make lovely first pets for both boys and girls. Occasionally you may need to trim the claws back a little as they do tend to grow rather quickly. Also the teeth continue to grown throughout their lives and occasionally they can fall out, although this is no particular cause for alarm.
There are many different colours to choose from including tortoise shell, brown, light brown and black. The length of the hair also varies somewhat, with some breeds having very short hair and other longer hair.
The larger the cage that you can give them, the better, as they do like to run around quite a lot. Occasionally, you might want to let them round around in the garden for a short while, although remember never to take your eyes off them as they run very fast and could dart out of eye shot in a split second if you are not careful.