Gloria Mills is the buyer and one of the founders of Enchanted, a toy store in the Upper East Side that strictly stocks no electronics or plastic. “Electronics, like game boys, are didactic. They tell the children what to do,” she says. “But with a dollhouse, you can turn it into a garage or a house or a shop, and after some time the child makes of it what they imagine. It requires them to think creatively.”
It was begun by parents of the nearby Rudolf Steiner School, the first Waldorf school in the United States with a curriculum that encourages imaginative thinking instead of rote learning. A not-for-profit organization, the store’s proceeds go toward hosting workshops in the neighborhood, donating toys to children in need and funding the tuition remittance program at the school.
Already in their fifth year, Mills hopes that more children may have access to toys that help them think creatively. “It may be that every child in New York is brilliant, but if you don’t nurture that then the child can only develop so far.”