Johnnie Moore offers an interesting insight into the way curiosity and playfulness lead to engagement and learning. The insight comes from a story told by Donald Winnicott on how mothers and babies relate.
He [Winnicott] noticed that if a mother placed a spatula near the child, and waited, it was very likely the child would become curious about this new object and play with it. If, however, the mother tried to get the child to play with the spatula, the child was likely either to reluctantly play along, developing a passive kind of engagement. Alternatively, the child would react against this intrusion and become healthily defensive. …For myself, I’d like to experiment a lot more with the careful placing of spatulas than shoving them in people’s faces and expecting them to play.