About Us

An imaginarium refers to a place devoted to the imagination. There are various types of imaginaria, centers largely devoted to stimulating and cultivating the imagination, towards scientific, artistic, commercial, recreational, or spiritual ends – Wikipedia


Better World Imaginarium is a purpose-driven business focused on building global awareness for global collaboration. The world will be delivered to children through toys, books, education, and community engagement.

Toys, Books, & More!

Better World Imaginarium features high quality and unique toys that are not only fun, but also instill a love of learning. We select toy companies that support positive social justice practices such as fair trade toys, sustainable manufacturing, fair labor practices (i.e. no child labor), or a commitment to giving back.


Our selection of children’s literature includes multicultural books, bilingual books, and engaging non-fiction about world regions and cultures. In addition to books published in the United States, we search for books published in languages other than English and by non-U.S. publishers. In keeping with the philosophy of supporting the local community, an effort will be made to feature local authors, artisans, and musicians.


Better World Imaginarium encourages visitors of all ages to touch, play, and explore. This is a child-centric environment where everyone should feel comfortable, relaxed, and entertained. Our goal is to create memories for generations of children.

Community Engagement

Better World Imaginarium is registered as a Benefit LLC. The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation defines the purpose of benefit corporations with “the increased purpose of considering society and the environment in addition to seeking a profit.”  As part of its mission as a Benefit LLC, Better World Imaginarium is an integral part of the Catonsville community. This includes active engagement in downtown improvement efforts and sponsoring events that bring children and families downtown on a regular basis like our Sunday Crafternoon.


Your support helps us support a number of local organizations and PTAs. Each year on the weekend before Thanksgiving, we celebrate National Independent Toy Store Day with a fundraiser for the Believe in Tomorrow Foundation to support the Children's House at John's Hopkins. We are also a member of the Catonsville Women's Giving Circle, a philanthropic movement that provides grants to local charitable programs and organizations. We are also happy to support fundraising efforts of publics schools and organizations serving children in the greater Catonsville area.

About Dr. Sway

Dr. Sway (aka Lisa Swayhoover), the owner of Better World Imaginarium, received her Ph.D. in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014. Her research focused on lesson plans and teaching methods in the upper-elementary grades to teach about global social issues and develop global competence. She has 20+ years working in international education and has been active in the internationalization of K-12 curriculum, teacher preparation, and higher education at the local, state, and national levels. Before starting her Ph.D., she was the Study Abroad Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. While a Ph.D. candidate she was a Senior Policy Analyst in the International Relations office of the National Education Association (NEA) in Washington, DC.


Before opening her dream toy store, Dr. Sway taught a course for undergraduate students at Towson University focusing on urban education and previously taught a course for aspiring teachers at the University of Maryland, College Park on the selection and use of age-appropriate and multicultural children’s literature. She was also an educator at Port Discovery Children’s Museum in the Inner Harbor, Baltimore where she led story time, musical programs, and other developmental activities. While at Port Discovery, she also taught several series of afterschool enrichment programs in schools throughout Baltimore City and surrounding Baltimore County.


Dr. Sway has traveled to more than 40 countries on every continent (except Antarctica). She speaks some German and loves to learn how to say Hello, Thank You, and other fun phrases in lots of languages.


Dr. Sway is also an aspiring balloon animal artist. However, she needs lots of practice.