Parenting

Five Environmentally Friendly Products for Kids

| by Sierra Club

The
arrival of a firstborn can cause even the most narcissistic,
Hummer-driving wastrel to get a little green -- and we're not talking
the queasy shade that comes from wiping up baby spew. That first look
into your baby's eyes is a window to the future, providing motivation
aplenty to keep the planet alive for at least one more generation.
Given the recent explosion of eco-products for tots, we thought we'd
narrow the options for you.

Teach your children well with readings from BIG EARTH, LITTLE ME
(Scholastic Inc., 2009), a just-published flap-and-picture book for
four- to eight-year-olds that's short on plot but long on "simple ways
to help the earth." Messages include "I can recycle" and "I can use
both sides of the paper." The cheery collage-style illustrations have a
granular, earthy quality and are printed with organic soy-based ink.
$6, scholastic.com

ZoLi's BABY OHM
is a diaper-changing mat that maintains its grip on a surface, rolls up
yoga-matstyle, and comes in bright pink or blue. It's free of latex and
polyvinyl chloride and is 100 percent biodegradable. $20, zo-li.com

From birth to first flush, the typical American baby mucks up 5,000
diapers, which translates to 21 billion disposables dumped annually
into U.S. landfills. Biodegradable brands ease the planet's pain--and
so do HAPPY HEINYS,
made of reusable cloth and available in 22 colors and several sassy
patterns. Their one-size styling enlists snaps and Velcro to
accommodate kids from 8 to 35 pounds, thereby reducing a child's, uh,
waste stream. $18.95, modernmommygear.com

SPRIG'S TRUCK TOYS,
for ages three and older, let little Sequoia and Astrid pretend they're
driving in an environmentally respectful manner. Made in Canada, the
toys are battery-free, paint-free, and made of recycled plastics and
reclaimed wood. When tykes roll the Discover Rig (above) forward, motor
sounds and eco-educational songs play. When they pump the Baja Scout up
and down, its lights turn on. Accompanying adventure-guide characters
plug in via USB and chat about climbing mountains, traveling in
rainforests, and exploring the outback. $20 to $60, sprigtoys.com

Aurora Naturally's ECO-PLUSH ANIMALS
depict threatened and endangered species like koalas, polar bears,
wolves, otters, and penguins. The critters' remarkably soft exteriors
are handmade in Indonesia from 100 percent soy fiber, and the stuffing
comes from the kapok tree, a sustainable rainforest crop. $15 to $30, currentenergy.com/store

--Avital Binshtock