Ever feel left out when you brother was collecting baseball cards or Pokemon cards and they just weren’t your thing? Now there’s Bella Sara Trading Cards for girls! Open up the Bella Sara School Tin and you’ll find cool items including three card packs from the all-new Native Lights expansion, as well as one card pack from Ancient Lights (each pack contains seven randomly selected trading cards each with it’s own unique code), a puzzle in its own carrying case, and one exclusive digital object that girls can activate online at the Bella Sara website.
Using the Bella Sara website is free. If you want to fill your stable with a herd of pink and purple sparkly horses and unicorns you will have to purchase trading cards such as the ones that come in the School Tin. Each Bella Sara Trading Card has a unique code to access horses on the Bella Sara website. When the horses are activated they will need to be “virtually” taken care of! They will need to be fed, brushed, watered, cleaned up after and kept happy. The cards can be traded with friends, but the unique code can only be activated once. These cards are geared toward girls ages 5 and up, but I can tell you my 2 year old boy would happily sit and watch his sisters play with the horses online for at least an hour!
Although there really doesn’t seem to be any educational value to the trading cards, the company claims to be a safe and fun-filled online world to explore with games, puzzles, coloring pages, storybooks and quizzes. Girls earn horseshoes by playing games online and by collecting (buying or trading) and activating cards. The horseshoes can be traded in for digital objects that are then used to decorate and furnish the online cottage, for plants, or for other online pets. The new Native Lights line of cards does attempt to introduce girls to Native American culture through images and stories, through information included on their website.
My daughter, 9, enjoyed the Bella Sara website and trading cards and asked to play it on a daily basis even though she has a real pony. She especially liked the jousting and other exciting games that she could practice online. The graphics are incredibly beautiful and the website is updated with new games and different levels of interactivity that will keep a child entranced for hours on end. The cards are reasonably priced and there is much more merchandise that can be added to the Bella Sara Trading Cards collection such as jewelry kits, sticker kits, scrapbook kits, plush toy horses, and apparel. Bella Sara has won awards such as the National Parenting Center’s “Seal of Approval” and Dr. Toy’s “Best Products—Spring 2007” and has reached into over 240 countries around the world.
As a child, I am sure I would have been thoroughly enchanted with the world of Bella Sara, since like most girls, I loved horses! However, as a parent I am thankful that as a child I played with real horses and toy horses that I could hold in my hands. I am glad that I drew my own pictures of imperfect horses that came alive in my own imagination. In the world of Bella Sara, which is truly a virtual world, there is nothing left to the imagination; it has all been created for you. After the first few days of having her cards activated I had to limit the time I allowed my daughter to sit in front of the computer playing in this virtual world.
As a parent who does not encourage video games, I would not purchase the Bella Sara Trading Cards for my children because I do not want them spending too much time in front of the computer doing non-educational activities. However, as far as video games go, this is one of the more innocent ones I have encountered. It was purely horse fun through the eyes of a young girl. Like most video games it seemed to become addictive the more you played it. If you are a parent that doesn’t encourage mystical magical creatures, you would probably not want to encourage your child to explore the Bella Sara World.