Exploratory play is about asking questions: “What happens when I do this?” “What if I did it this way?” Experimenting with materials and pushing their limits encourages us to consider a wide range of possibilities when problem-solving. Playing around with objects and ideas helps us see that there may be more than one solution.
Playing with games and puzzles helps hone our ability to recognize and understand categories, patterns, and associations. Being able to recognize patterns and find new ones helps us bring together what we know to find a single solution to a problem. Being able to break out of patterns and fixed mind-sets allows us to pose questions differently and approach problems from new perspectives.