Update April 2012

All the gear infants, tots, children and parents need.

Alanna Weissman

Animal Planet
As this month brings Earth Day, teach kids about environmental responsibility with The Greenzys (DK), a beautifully illustrated children’s book about animals that unite to ensure trees remain on the Earth. The tome truly comes to life with separately sold companion plush toys that portray four main characters: Violet the giraffe, Willow the elephant, Yew Yew the panda and Peat the penguin. Purchase the title and play pals at www.abesmarket.com.

First Lullabies
Allow your baby-to-be to reap the benefits of listening to music in utero with Lullabelly. The belt plays tunes from your iPod or other MP3 player at a volume audible but not harmful to little ones in the womb. The Lullabelly even lets moms listen to music and has a separate volume control for earphones. Check it out at www.lullabelly.com.

Little Munchkins
Keep tots safe and snug during sleepy time with the ComfortSafe Mattress by Munchkin. Free of phthalates and other harmful toxins, the crib mattress has a higher-than-average number of wire coils, resulting in a firm, comfortable experience that reduces the risk of SIDS. Some models are dual-sided, with a firm surface for babies and a softer surface for toddlers. To purchase, log onto www.target.com.

Happily Ever After
Kids and adults alike adore Twice Upon a Time (Aladdin), due for release at the end of April. The sequel to Half Upon a Time, the acclaimed follow-up by middle-grade author James Riley reinvents classic fairy tales like never before. Learn more at www.rarebirdlit.com.

Always Near
Keep kids protected when danger strikes with Nearparent. The GPS app lets users enter a support network of family and friends. And in the event of an emergency, kids simply press a button on the app to alert the entire support network of the situation. Always be near your children at www.nearparent.com.

Language Learning
Toddlers and young elementary school children learn Spanish with interactive Bilingual Fun DVDs. Instead of simply having kids listen and repeat, as many other language programs do, Bilingual Fun engages participants in active song and dance numbers. Share the enjoyable and effective method with your kids by going to www.bilingualfun.com.

Soft and Squishy
Fans of the popular SqwishLand toys and online community can create a character with the DIY Paint-Your-Own Rare SqwishLand Kit. Each set includes a blank five-inch SqwishLander, paint and a brush. After completing a SqwishLander and uploading it to a special web site, users vote monthly on their favorites. Selected characters become a three-quarter-inch SqwishLander, which will be sold in stores and vending machines. Discover the details at www.sqwishland.com/diy.

Life Lessons
Kids learn about responsibility and teamwork with Duckie Goosie Fixes His Roof (CreateSpace) by father-and-son authors Landen and Lance Sanders. The tome tells the story of Duckie Goosie, who has to help his neighbor Monkey Doggie clean up after roofing strips blow into his yard. Get a copy of the delightful read at www.amazon.com.

Cyber Shield
When it comes to online predators, arm your kids so they remain out of harm’s way with SocialShield. The service monitors not only your child’s activity but his friends’ and checks it against more than 50 data points, alerting parents about situations, such as cyberbullying, child predators, inappropriate posts and pictures, and other risky business. Download the technology at www.socialshield.com.

Confectionery Delight
All things Easter abound with Jacques Torres Chocolate. Available for the holiday, the sweet treats come in dark and milk chocolate flavors. Choose from Backpack, Cowboy, Smiling and Wheelbarrow Bunnies, as well as Sitting Rabbits, Colored Fish and other spring-themed designs. Visit Jacques Torres Chocolate in Manhattan and Brooklyn or buy products at www.mrchocolate.com. 

This column appeared in the April 2012 issue.