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Stuff We Like: Green Products to Make Earth Day Every Day

Did you miss Earth Day this year? Let it pass you by without making your annual resolution to recycle more and waste less? Whether you're concerned about global warming or not, it's hard to deny that we have a responsibility to our planet, to respect and take care of it in our daily lives so it can continue to support us and future generations. And as parents, we have the added responsibility of raising our kids to respect the environment. "After all, before long the future of our planet will be in the hands of the next generation," says Dr. Susan Bartell, a child psychologist and Long Island mom. "We must give them the tools they need to ensure that they can take care of it." Here, we've rounded up some cool products that will help you and your kids live a little greener (without breaking the bank!):  

On Track wallpaper from Detroit Wallpaper Co.

Whimsical Designs for Earth-Friendly Walls

The Detroit Wallpaper Co., which launched in December, offers eco-friendly wallpaper designs that are both customizable and affordable. The wallpaper is printed with eco-friendly ink, the paper is 10 percent post-consumer waste, and the remaining pulp product certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. All materials are PVC- and VOC-free. And it's easy to use: wallpaper rolls come pre-pasted and are strippable. The company offers more than 60 customizable designs in six collections, including the Sprout collectionfeaturing designs for kids' rooms that is best described as sophisticated but still playful. Choose from 10 designs, including On Track (pictured), which is perfect for little train lovers. On Track is available in three colors (blue, gray, or multicolor), or you can request a customized color palette. (Prices start at $60 per roll;  

Bee Happy seven-year pen

The 7-Year Ink

Did you know that millions of pens are thrown out every day? You likely have several half-used pens laying around your office, on your kitchen table, in your purse...and no doubt your kids go through quite a few during the school year. But you may not be thinking about how much these little plastic products can add up in landfills. Now that you are, you can make the choice to ditch single-use pens and opt for a refillable model like The Seven Year Pen ($7.50; This little pen hides a jumbo ink cartridge that allows you to write for 1.7 meters (more than 5 1/2 feet) per day for seven years--and then, of course, you can refill the cartridge ($1.99). And it comes in about two dozen kid-friendly designs, including the Bee Happypen (pictured), making it a great graduation gift.  

Funkins for kids

Green Your Next Birthday Party

Planning your child's birthday party? If you're hosting the party at home, forgo the paper plates and napkins and try Funkins instead--they're reusable cloth napkins made especially for kids, and they're big enough to double as placemats. Funkins are double-sided and made from 100 percent cotton with low-impact dyes and lead- and phthalate-free materials. Best of all, they come in tons of cute and kid-friendly designs, from robots to flowers to monkeys (see the full Spring/Summer 2013 collection; $12 each or 3 for $30). When the party's over, send Funkins home with your guests as party favors and keep one for your child's lunchbox.  

Moso bowls by Zak Designs

Eco-Friendly Eats

Speaking of reusable alternatives to disposable items, we love the new Moso collection of dinnerware and serveware from Zak Designs. Items in the Moso line are made using a process that combines 75 percent bamboo fiber (a renewable resource) with wheat starch to create a durable product that's also 100-percent biodegradable. The dinnerware in the Moso line includes a dinner plate and bowl as well as a divided plate and divided bowl, while the serveware includes a 14-inch serving tray and a three-piece nested bowl set. All of the pieces in the line are available in either kiwi (pictured) or azure and feature flowing, organic shapes that make a stylish eco-statement. ($5-$25; all items will be available at beginning May 1)  

wooden nature building blocks

Bring Playtime Back to Nature

Bring the outside inside! Not only are these Nature Blocks great for open-ended play, they're made of all-natural wood crafted to retain the look and feel of real branches, so your little one won't lose touch with the natural material used to make their toy. While your child builds natural-looking structures, he can also examine the textures and knots of the wood and even count the tree rings (a great opportunity for a larger conversation about trees, why we need them, and how we can help protect them). And don't worry--all blocks are sanded so they're smooth and safe for little hands. Recommended for children ages 3-6. (Set includes 36 blocks; $49.99;  

Whole World book with CD

Read All About It

Printed on forest-friendly paper, this mini edition of Whole World by Christopher Corr and Fred Penner introduces children to the world's natural wonders, from the sun and moon to its mountains, valleys, and plains, and it includes kid-friendly tips on how to live a greener lifestyle. It also comes with a catchy sing-along CD featuring vocals by Canadian children's musician Fred Penner. Through the songs and the books 32 colorfully illustrated pages, kids can see and hear the 'whole world' come to life as they learn to respect and care for it. ($13.99; 10 percent of sales benefits global conservation; available fromShak-Shuka, an eco-friendly boutique for kids and their moms).  

Also see: Stuff We Like: Books for Earth Day Earth Day Arts & Crafts for Kids  


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Kaitlin Ahern

Author: Kaitlin Ahern has a degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. See More

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