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Tech News for Kids:
Having Fun Just Horsing Around

reprinted from The Atlanta Journal and Constitution; September 27, 1998

by Yusuf Davis

Sarah Hutchinson of Marietta likes to ride ponies and sometimes paints with a brush. So getting to review a creativity software, called "Paint 'n Play Pony," was like hitting the daily double.

The CD-ROM software lets Sarah design, decorate and dress her own horses or ponies. She can use colors and accessories - like blankets, bows, hats and saddles - to dress up her virtual friend or she can create and print ribbons, certificates and horse-themed decorations.

Sarah said she likes the "P'n P Pony" software and uses it often. "The pictures are good, and the sound is good," the 5-year-old said. "There's nothing bad about it." It's easy to paint the pony or horse.

"I use the mouse to dip a brush into a pail, then paint," said Sarah, who even adorned a unicorn.

Despite pink packaging that has a distinctly "girlie" look, Sarah's brother Billy tried the activity software. He didn't like it. The box doesn't say it, but "Paint 'n Play Pony" is designed for girls. Even though it involves horses, which also interest boys, Billy didn't like the idea of putting flowers, bows and braids in a horse's mane.

"It's too girlish," the 9-year-old said.

Besides painting and decorating it, Sarah likes to feed her pony apples and carrots she gets from a basket.

Sarah also likes other segments of the program. She can read stories about horses and ponies, write her own stories (with story ideas that help her get started) or read stories about famous horses through history, such as Paul Revere's horse and Pegasus from Greek mythology.

There's also a section of Fun Facts about the care and breeding of horses, ponies and their foals.

"There's a lot of stuff you can learn," Sarah said. Recommended for ages 5-10.

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