Hamsters are small, low-maintenance pets, but they need toys to keep them entertained and happy, just like any other pet. Hamster toys don't have to be complicated or expensive, and some of the best ones are created from items found around the house. Most hamsters will enjoy toys that give them places to hide and new things to chew on.
Pet stores carry a wide variety of hamster toys. Plastic boxes and tubes are a chew-proof source of entertainment for any hamster, especially when he or she is given shredded paper or wood chips to store in the toys. Tubes of the same brand often screw together and can be used to create a maze within the cage. Chew toys are also good for hamsters, and keep them occupied and their teeth healthy. Wooden blocks or hamster toys made from pressed alfalfa and binding materials can serve double duty as hiding places and chew toys.
Wheels, whether made of metal or plastic, are a must in any hamster cage, as these will help keep the hamster occupied and exercised. Hamsters are largely nocturnal, however, and if the cage is in a bedroom or any other room where quiet is desired at night, it can be worth looking for a wheel that is silent when turning. Similarly, large plastic balls the hamster can be put inside allow him or her the freedom to safely run around the house; this should only be done with supervision, especially when there are stairs or other, larger pets involved.
Homemade hamster toys can also provide hours of affordable entertainment. Cardboard tubes from paper towels or toilet paper can make excellent chew toys, especially when stuffed with bedding and treats. Boxes similarly stuffed with bedding can be endlessly entertaining, whether the hamster is using them to stack and climb on or burrow inside. Plastic cartons carefully trimmed to remove sharp or rough edges can also double as burrows. If the cage is big enough, pieces of untreated wood can be arranged to make a series of ramps that will often function as chew toys.
Food and treats can also form the basis for different types of hamster toys. A paper bag filled with bedding and a few treats in the bottom will give a hamster something to keep him occupied; hamsters love shredding things and arranging, so when cleaning out the cage and replacing bedding, give him the fresh bedding in a bag and let him do the work himself. A plastic bottle with sunflower seeds or other treats inside will make the hamster work at getting the food out.