Making a play area for your hamster will allow him to take a break from his normal cage. It can also be entertaining for you, your friends and family to watch your hamster have fun with his toys and obstacles. Use several cardboard boxes to make a large playpen, or use the largest cardboard box you can find to make a multi-level space for your hamster to explore. Fill that space with the hamster toys, or make a city that he can run around in using smaller boxes and tubes. With a little help from your parents or other adults, you can even make a hamster slide using common items you can find at the hardware store.
Method 1 of 3: Make a folding cardboard playpen
Step 1. Find medium or large cardboard boxes
Use two large cardboard boxes or four medium boxes. Go to a nearby store, or ask your parents to take you to one. Try to find boxes that are as clean as possible.
If you want to make a playpen with higher sides, use four medium boxes. If not, you should just use two large boxes, especially for a small pet like a hamster
Step 2. Flatten the boxes
Once you've found a few boxes, flatten them out in case the store you bought them from didn't. Do this by unfolding the flaps that fold together to create the bottom, or cut them if they are taped together. Once you've taken the boxes apart, cut a corner where the two sides meet so that the boxes are fully extended.
Use scissors or a utility knife to cut the boxes. Ask an adult to help you if you are not allowed to use sharp objects unsupervised
Step 3. Cut the caps
After you've completely flattened the boxes, cut the lid flaps that made up the tops and bottoms. Once you've cut the flaps, you can discard them or save them for use in another project. After cutting the flaps, you will only have long rectangles of cardboard left.
If you are using four boxes, simply flatten each of them and cut their flaps in the same way that you would with two large boxes
Step 4. Make four long strips
If you started with two large boxes, cut each one in half lengthwise or horizontally. Use a ruler, a measuring stick, and a pen to make a line down the center to serve as a guide. You will get a total of four long strips.
If you've started with four medium-sized boxes, just use the rectangular strips as they are after cutting the flaps
Step 5. Cut long slits in each strip
Mark a line about 1 inch (3 cm) from the end of each long, rectangular cardboard strip. If you extend each strip, the line should extend from the top to the center of the two strips, and from the center to the bottom of the other two. These strips will snap together to form the edges of the pen.
Don't cut the slots too thick or they won't fit together comfortably and the pen won't be as stable
Step 6. Assemble the pen
Find an area in your home with a hard floor surface. It is preferable that it has tiles so that it does not absorb any rest of your pet's excrement. Quickly sweep the floor and wipe it clean with a paper towel to make sure there are no crumbs or anything you don't want your hamster to eat. Line up the slots on the strips and fit them snugly.
Step 7. Fill the playpen with your hamster's favorite toys
Take any toy that you can remove from your pet's cage and place it inside his pen. Use any other hamster toys you might have, such as tubes, burrows, or plastic balls. Make rooms using tissue boxes and cutting doors in them so the hamster can get in and out. Another thing you can do is fold the flaps that you cut out of the boxes to make little wigwams for hamsters.
Method 2 of 3: Use a Large Cardboard Box
Step 1. Find a large box
Visit a nearby supermarket or department store. Go shopping with your mom or dad the next time they do it. Ask someone who works at the store for the biggest box they have in the back.
- If you get a box from a supermarket, make sure it has no food stains, grease, or dirt.
- Supermarkets and electronics stores are excellent for this purpose because their boxes, compared to supermarket checkouts, generally do not have traces of dirt.
Step 2. Cover the bottom of the box
Place an old, soft towel on the bottom of the box. Then cover it with some hamster-safe litter or bedding material. These materials include wood chips, shelled corn on the cob, coarse sand, and other materials that you can find at your local pet store and are labeled hamster-safe.
- Make sure the litter is chemical free and safe for pets.
- Stay away from the straw because the tough strands could hurt the hamster's cheeks.
- Also avoid using fluffy bedding products, such as cotton wool, because they could get caught between the hamster's toes and paws.
Step 3. Create several levels
Use smaller boxes, like tissue boxes, to create levels for your hamster to explore. Cut the lids off the boxes so they don't have the top and bottom. Then cut out small doors that the hamster can enter or exit through. If you're using tissue boxes, be sure to get rid of any plastic, jagged, or sharp edges at the opening.
Method 3 of 3: Fill the Playard with Hamster Toys
Step 1. Use toys and tubes from the hamster's cage
Be sure to fill your hamster's new play area with toys, whether you've built a multi-level play box or made a collapsible playpen. If inside your hamster's cage there are toys and obstacles that you can remove, take them and place them inside his new pen or box for him to play with. You can also use a tray to place snacks inside the pen. Place them throughout the pen in various places for your hamster to find.
Step 2. Use cardboard tubes to create tunnels
Use empty paper towel or toilet paper tubes to make tunnels for the hamster. Make sure they are large enough so that your pet can navigate through them. Create a larger tunnel system by pushing the cardboard rolls into any of the other tubes that you could have made for the hamster, such as tubes made from a chewy material or plastic.
Step 3. Cut entrances and exits into small boxes
Get several empty tissue boxes, cereal boxes, soda can boxes, and other homemade cardboard boxes. The size of these smaller boxes will depend on the size of the box or playpen you used for the play area. Cut doors in them and make a small town for the hamster to explore.
Step 4. Make a hamster slide
Go to the hardware store or ask your parents for a ride. Find a short, flexible plastic tubing. Use the largest pipe you can find: a pipe that has the longest circumference or contour. Cut it in half so that you get two long, slide-shaped figures.
- If you or a parent is skilled with carpentry, you can make a slide ladder out of a small wooden frame or box. Use non-toxic glue to attach 5 to 10 wooden dowels for the ladder rungs. You can also ask an adult to drill holes through the wooden frame and use a hammer to tap the dowels gently through them.
- Use a small, sturdy square of wood for the top platform of the slide. Drill holes and use screws or dowels to attach them to the wooden ladder, or glue them together using a non-toxic glue.
- Have an adult drill holes through the slide shape and the wooden square, and use a screw to attach the slide to the hidden side of the square. Sand a groove in the platform so that the slide fits better. Make sure the pointed end of the screw doesn't stick out through the top side of the wooden square.
- Finally, if you want to add a bit of color, use food coloring and water to stain the wooden parts of your hamster's new slide.
- To make sure your hamster stays safe, don't leave it unsupervised.
- Make sure there are no openings that the hamster could escape through.
- If your hamster likes to nibble, make sure he has chew toys in his playpen to keep him entertained.