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Resources for productive role play, and the best practice for organising and offering them, are outlined by Jane Drake in our series on continuous provision in an early years setting.

Children's perennial fascination with knickers and monsters can be explored fruitfully using this quirky, beautifully illustrated book, says Judith Stevens.

In addition to Aliens Love Underpants (see right), here are some other great storybooks and texts available about aliens and pants! Remember to use the local library - and encourage everyone to share books:

Early years settings put resources designed to encourage scientific research and exploration to the test with young children and tell Sue Hubberstey about their conclusions.

Sometimes overlooked or left to art activities, pattern is fundamental to children's understanding of mathematics, says Judith Stevens.

Make the most of water play by offering the best experiences and stocking the essential resources, as suggested by Jane Drake

What a noise! Sound out the possibilities for developing listening and speaking skills with these ideas from Alice Sharp.

Puppets come in all shapes and sizes and are indispensable in most settings. Early years professionals put their hands up and give their verdicts on the following selection to Sue Hubberstey.

Imagination is the most valuable resource for creating spaces where children love to talk, says Elizabeth Jarman.

The technology workshop can be amply stocked with simple and readily available resources and is an ideal area for adults to work alongside the children, as Jane Drake explains.