The purpose of this study was to observe, analyze, and document young Nigerian children’s interactions with novel play materials at their crèche. To date, limited studies have examined Nigerian infants’ and toddlers’ independent engagement with novel play materials. The children’s exploratory and play behaviours—cognitive and social play—were observed. An a priori coding scheme was used to simultaneously analyze cognitive and social play behaviours in the children, eight participants between 7- and 24-months of age. Over the course of four weeks, children were introduced to 11 novel play materials. Observed cognitive play behaviours included functional play, pretend play and constructive play, while social play behaviours consisted of solitary, parallel and simple social play. Although the results showed developmental progression in exploration and play, the varying degree of novelty of the play materials may have influenced children’s exploration and play. Despite these findings, children exhibited various exploratory and play behaviours with the introduction of play materials in a setting in which there were none.