Yes they are fun to watch , if you get one that likes to be handled ten even more so...but you need to put the time into taming for it to pay off.
Easy to keep? Fairly. I do a proper deep clean once a week, and a half clean inbetween. They need to be fed and watered every day, as well as some out of cage time. Either in a ball or free range in a very safe place!
They eat hamster food and the odd bit of fresh veg. Treats can be anything from a piece of cheese or chicken to mealworms.
They are nocturnal so will be up at night, if you get one get a wooden wheel as these are completely silent apart from the patter of feet. I have trained our two to come out about 5 for dinner. they are about for a few hours then go back to sleep until the early hours. Yes hammy will be happy to sleep anywhere during the day
They need a big cage - minimum guidelines from the RSPCA are 80w /50h/50d . If you look around you should be able to find a good deal on one ,. but this will be your biggest start up expense!
They are great pets but I always think they are more of a adult pet than a childs..... have you thought of Gpigs? They are fab for every one!
We are on our second hamster and have 2 GPigs- however, they are mine . Not ds's, not a family pet, mine! This is ultimately because I know I would be the one looking after them. I would not get a pet, even when ds is 18 and wants one of his own, unless I want it too!
If you are not pre-pared to take hammy ( or any other pet) on if/when your ds gets bored then don't get one!
Good news (or bad news- whichever way you look at it) is their lifespan is quite short at 18months - 2/3 years. Our girl lived til 22 months and I was devastated when she went, but ds did deal with it very well.
Another vote for rats ,we've had hamsters ,rats and guinea pigs and the rats were by far the best for children. We had 3 different sets ,2 boys, 3 boys then 2 girls and they have all been brilliant ,friendly and very clever. The only reason we don't have more is that we finally persuaded DH to get a dog and he would eat anything small and furry ( has tried several times to eat the rabbit who is now living in the equivalent,net of a secure unit!)
My hamster is really, really spoilt! He gets a mixture of hamster food and parrot food because he likes the nuts and seeds best. Every night he has a treat, usually some fruit or veg, sometimes some pastry, but his favourite is custard cream biscuits!
He has a hamster toilet that he wees in, he poos in one corner and then chucks them out through the bars on to the hall floor! He is really tame and has never bitten. We've had him since he was 5 weeks old, he was really really tiny, and we have handled him since day 1 so he isn't frightened. He snuggles up to DS2 and goes to sleep on his shoulder!
I love hamsters, so many people think they are boring and don't do anything, but they aren't. I get really attached to mine, the longest one of ours has lived is nearly 3 years.