Teaching mathematics students how to solve problems is important. These students should be taught how to apply the mathematical problems to problems in everyday life. The students should be in a position to do investigational work on the mathematics problem. A problem is a task that does not provide the learner with a clear route to the solution. If the solution to a problem can be arrived at through different approaches, then that problem has some degree of openness. The term 'investigation' is used to describe such an open problem that can be solved through different solutions. An investigation is a good way to enable young learners to use and apply their abilities in mathematical knowledge. There are different levels of openness that are offered by application tasks. Exploratory problem solving is another means by which. Application tasks exist with different levels of openness. Besides investigations, problems that have some degree of openness can be solved by exploratory problem solving. This gives the learner a chance to solve real-life problems using a mathematical approach. As a result, exploratory and investigative problem-solving offer children greater chances for developing the mathematical thinking of young learners. Word problems on the other hand are usually closed problems that have a defined solution and a standard method of calculations is applied. An example of such a problem is: How much change would I receive from a 10 pound note if I bought items costing 2.59 pounds and 3.99 pounds? Once the problem has been rewritten using symbols and numbers in a mathematical format, there is usually a standard method carrying out the resulting calculations. Word problems can still offer valuable opportunities for young learners' mathematical thinking.