It’s pretty amazing what you can do virtually these days, which has definitely made these last few months much easier for families. From online classrooms to card games, to lots of other fun things in between, there are no shortage of cool ways for kids to learn, friends to engage, and families to build connections.

Well, parents: we’ve got a new one that covers all three of those points. Meet My Talking Tom Friends, a new, free virtual pet game from our sponsor Outfit7, where you get to care for and play together with Talking Tom and his five friends. Yes, kid-favorite Talking Tom is back with a whole new, super cool experience, and we decided to share 8 reasons why families need a virtual pet, in case you needed us to tell you to go play (you didn’t really need us, right?).

1. All the fun without the clean-up! The fun part about virtual pets is that you don’t have to clean up after them. Well, that’s not entirely true. In My Talking Tom Friends, you do have to help them take out the trash, but that’s just a good habit!

2. No lint brush required. It turns out that virtual pets don’t shed, so there’s no extra hair to have to lint brush off your clothing. This way, you can spend your time doing other things, like decorate Tom’s house, or style his friends’ outfits. Their hair-free outfits, of course.

3. They make learning fun. Whether it’s exploring all the ins and outs of caring for a virtual pet or working on the puzzles and games that are included, there are a bunch of opportunities for the whole family to learn.

 Talking Tom Friends: Virtual Pet app | Sponsor

4. No early morning wake-ups. Once you put your My Talking Tom Friends to sleep, you don’t need to figure out who’s going to get up to take them out in the morning. These virtual pets love to sleep in.

5. No arguing! There’s no arguing about who’s going to do what for which pet and when. With your virtual pets, everyone can hop onto the game and play, whether they just want to pick the perfect pair of shoes for Angela, or they want to give Hank a bath. There are plenty of fun things for everyone to do.

6. Inspires creativity. With My Talking Tom Friends, players get to create their own unique story of friendship and playtime. From designing their house to getting them dressed, and pretty much everything in between, you get to make a story involving these 6 fun-loving characters.

7. Build connections. We always love finding games that families can play together, and that’s exactly what you can do with this game. Parents might love a little downtime working with Angela in the garden, while the kids are flipping pancakes in the kitchen with Becca. Even if family members aren’t on the app together at the same time, they’re still playing together. The game also encourages you to build emotional connections with the characters, caring for their needs and looking after them as you play.

8. Teaches responsibility. Thinking about getting a real pet, or maybe you already have one and you need to work on responsibility? A virtual pet can be the perfect testing ground. Watch how your family members are engaging with My Talking Tom Friends housemates, and you might just get a little sense if they’re ready for the real thing.

Download My Talking Tom Friends, free on iOS and Android, today! Thanks so much to our sponsor Outfit7 for creating such a fun, interactive game for families.