Remember My Little Pony? Crayola Paint 'n Play Pony now offers a similar idea on the computer screen. In virtual play, 5-10 year-olds will have lots of latitude on the imaginary front, although they won't have the tactile benefits of stroking fake silk hair like that on the unrelated toy, popular in the 1980s.
But there are strong benefits to having a pony on the PC. You can color, brush and braid your pony's mane and tail. Groom your pony with special bridles and dress it up in beautifully designed blankets. Give it a special backdrop and take it for a ride in the country.
If that seems too art-driven, there are more general educational benefits in the software from IBM (www.ibm.com). A built-in writing feature lets youngsters pen pony tales, and a reference area explains about famous horses. A stable also contains information on breeds, as well as care and nurturing of horses.