Exploratory Play





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An infant's reflection in a handheld mirror with a text overlay reading "EXPLORATORY PLAY 7 months to 3 years" by SIREN FILMS, educational context.

This kind of play is commonly called ‘heuristic play’ and is often presented as a treasure basket. By observing these sequences of children at play you will see various examples of developing concentration which in turn indicates the development of each child’s cognitive ability at each stage. This study makes it easy for you to analyse and record the evolution of each child’s learning processes taking place during these heuristic play sessions.

Following the same children as they grow older also offers a you a wonderful opportunity to observe how their learning and schematic processes develop and evolve over time. The sequences are suitable for practicing various observational techniques, several objectives for observations are suggested in the user notes that are supplied with the film.

  • Understand the value of heuristic play when uninterrupted by adults
  • Understand the link between heuristic play and the development of unique learning processes (schemas)
  • Learn how to observe and record cognitive development over a period of time
  • Practice various observation techniques, being able to repeat if necessary

How ca I use this video? +

  • For use in seminars and lectures
  • A  perfect resource for in house training and CPD
  • Generate discussion and reflection on practice
  • The notes provide you with an overview of each section and will guide you to the critical areas of note
  • For formal observations with objectives to lead to evaluations
  • For informal observations to notice aspects of learning/development/feelings
  • As a longitudinal study – to understand the way babies/children develop and progress
  • The sequence structure also makes the film flexible to learn at a time and pace that is convenient



A brief explanation of contents and how to use.

0 - 12 months introduction

Introducing appropriate exploratory play for this age group.

Jamie - seq. 1a

7 months – Looking at baby’s interest in a treasure basket.

Jamie & Megan - seq. 1b

7 months – Observing schemas and behavior, two babies side by side explore a treasure basket.

12 - 24 months introduction

Understanding aspects of experimental play with increased mobility.

Benjamin - seq. 2a

12 months – Sorting and comparing objects – Developing schemas.

Megan - seq. 2b

23 months – Good for observing communication of ideas.

Jamie - seq. 2c

23 months – Relating objects in a creative way, looking at sustained interest and learning.

2 - 3 years introduction

Looking at cooperative play and the ‘what if’ approach.

Jamie & Megan - seq. 3

Looking at social behavior and non verbal communication.

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DOWNLOAD INCLUDES: 8 x MP4 HD file (143 MB) – Comprehensive user notes to support your training (PDF download via email)

PERMITTED USE: Supporting in house training, lectures, research/development work and for supporting presentations

NON PERMITTED USE: REPRODUCE, COPY or SHARE Siren Films material in any way – Use on a closed intranet system (academic licenses are available) – Upload, share, embed or distribute any Siren material on the Internet or in any other format – Hold a public, profit making screening (see website for full t&c’s)




With Siren’s instant online access you can rent this training film for 1 week, 3 months or a year. Our most affordable option makes this training accessible to watch on any device to train as many staff members from one setting* as you need. You will need a reasonably fast internet. You can test this by watching one of our trailers. If that works your good to go.

(*Terms and conditions apply – see website for full t&c’s)