This article is backgrounded by researchers using of visual methodology for naturalistic research to document young children’s learning. Recent interest in the speed and immediacy of mobile phone video capture leads to new opportunities in educational research. This small study aims to find if mobile phone video is an appropriate research tool for the capture of fleeting moments of learning, in toddler initiated play. Inspired by participation in an ethically approved pilot project: ‘Studying Babies and Toddlers: Cultural Worlds and Transitory Relationships’, the study uses a cultural-historical Theoretical approach to analyse mobile phone video data of one toddler’s pontaneous play activity. It is argued that greater attention be paid by educators to transitory moments of toddler play in relation to their pedagogical significance. A fortuitous moment of toddler initiated symbolic play activity is video captured on mobile phone and used for discussion. Drawing on Vygotsky’s concepts of the social genesis of higher mental functions and perezhivanie, the toddler’s initiated symbolic play activity is analysed. Analysis is supported by visual methodology, where video image data are linked with transcript to create a narrative of the moment of toddler’s initated play. Data are found to exemplify the ontogenesis of higher mental functions being culturally mediated and supported in the toddler’s symbolic play activity. Futhermore, findings show how tactile and visual qualities of a cultural object attract a toddler’s sensory responses, which in turn, activate the creative moment of symbolic play. The toddler’s momentary playful action captured on mobile phone video, sheds light on how symbolic activity reflects thinking processes to offer insight into how toddler (Luci) can, in a passing moment, imbue a cultural object with new symbolic meaning. Findings imply that using mobile phone video for later review, makes it possible for educators to pay more immediate attention to toddler’s activity in frequently overlooked transitory moments of play. Potentially, the ubiquitous mobile phone can help educators discover the pedagogical significance of a toddler’s smallest moment of symbolic activity, and in practice, offer ethical and caring extension to support their learning.