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Using simple tools with simple rules will reward children with a wealth of learning and skills development, says early years consultant Linda Pound.

In this the eleventh National Strategies feature on the Early Years Foundation Stage, Kim Porter, senior adviser at Every Child a Talker, and early years regional advisers Jonathan Doherty and Kairen Smith, reflect on the nature and challenges of risk taking and being brave.

In our National Strategies series Dr Andrew Lockett, Early Years Regional Adviser (NE), Anne Lamb, Early Years Senior Regional Adviser (EE M) and Jan Lepley, Senior Adviser, reflect on the importance of being outside.

Whether they are fashioned from hedgerows or built for purpose from tents and playhouses, dens should be personal retreats for children and places that inspire their imagination and learning, says Diana Lawton.

Observe how absorbed the children can become in particular schemas when you provide resources and activities suggested by Diana Lawton.

Building dens is a natural and important pastime in children's social and emotional development. Anne O'Connor explores how adults can support this form of play while respecting children's need for privacy