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.comSMMJ09_EN_mat

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.comSMMJ09_EN_Ginger

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,

, 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, SMMJ09_EN_otter

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,

--Avital Binshtock