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The role of the practitioner in children's problem solving is to pose challenges and prompt them with occasional questions and suggestions, but not provide the answers for them, says Margaret Martin.

Jack in a box

Create night in the day, or wait until dark, for a host of imaginative activities indoors and outdoors that will help children explore their natural fascination with the night, suggested by early years adviser Judith Stevens.

Having a digital camera to hand puts children at the centre of the picture, whether on screen or in a print display in the classroom, says Harriet Price.

Give children plenty of opportunities to measure and compare quantities, and develop the vocabulary to describe what they are doing, with more activity ideas in our series by Sheila Ebbutt and Carole Skinner.

Mincemeat

Give children a sense of privacy and quiet to help them enjoy the time they spend in your setting's book area.

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

Offer the under-threes simple objects to manipulate and mark with and hone their skills, suggests Marie Richardson

Staging their own shows brought out the best in children whether performing, accompanying or observing, for a project described by their nursery manager Cheryl Cusack.