Consultation Techniques!

This section contains loads of fun, engaging techniques for consulting with children. The techniques can be used with children and young people with a range of abilities. The techniques can also be adapted to use with both older and younger children.

*If you require any further support and advice on how to make sure you're involving ALL children in consultation activities contact us*

Fishing for Answers / Hook-A-Duck
Hook a duck

Laminate the fish with a paper clip in between the sheets of paper or screw a hook into the head of a rubber duck. Rods can be bought from most children's toy stores (try here) or tie a piece of string to a stick and attach a magnet on the end of the string. Write questions or statements underneath the fish/ducks. Float the ducks in a paddling pool or make a paper pond for the fish.

Now go fishing! Let the children take it in turns to hook a duck or catch a fish and answer the question on the bottom. Recordings of the children's answers can be written down or if you are using statements, 'nets' can be labelled 'agree', 'don't agree', 'not sure' and children could put the ducks or fish in the appropriate net.


Picture Voting

Picture Voting

Picture voting

Children vote on a range of visual choices around a particular question or issue by attaching stickers to their chosen answer. Choose an issue that can be clearly expressed using pictures of different choices. For example, you might want to find out about favourite play equipment, planning snacks, ideas for a new lunch-time club or even destinations for a visit. Find as many suitable (and realistic!) images for the children to vote on. Try and find images that are clear and easily recognisable.

Find somewhere to display your pictures at the children's eye level where they will all be able to access them. The children can be given one sticker for one vote or you could give them 3 stickers - they could put all 3 on one choice or spread the stickers around if they have more than one 'favourite' answer. Remind the children that there isn't a 'right' or 'wrong' answer.


Graffiti Wall
Grafitti wall The graffiti wall is a simple technique that enables you to collate lots of children's views on one topic or issue. Simply think of one question that covers what you want to find out, hang a giant piece of paper or material on to a wall and leave pens or paints for the children to use to write with. This is best left for the length of a session to allow the children time to think about their response and come and write on to the wall. The ideas can then be recorded and grouped for further discussion.


Questionnaires can be a good way of finding views from large groups of children. If you make the questionnaires fun and creative children will really enjoy completing them.
Click on each of the links to download samples of questionnaires from previous consultations. Please contact us if you would like us to help you design a survey to meet your individual needs.

Education welfare officer
survey for pupils missing
  Wisewood Children and Young People's survey
'Everyone can play' questionnaire   'RecyclerBull' recycling questionnaire
'All About...after school' questionnaire   Burngreave Sports Project questionnaire

'Indoor and outdoor play' questionnaire

Activity Sheffield service user
survey, 2007

'Having fun after school' - extended school questionnaire   Drugs and Alcohol Advisory Service questionnaire
Hinde House extended school questionnaire      


Big Brother Diary Room
Big Brother

The Big Brother Diary Room is an excellent tool to use when the issues you are discussing may be sensitive or confidential. Our Big Brother diary room is a double toilet tent purchased from a camping shop and painted! You sit in one side and the child sits in the other - all they see is a small hole with a lens poking through. You ask questions and record their answers. It's always a very popular tool so it's advisable to make a list on a 'first come, first served' basis.

If you would like to borrow our Big Brother Diary Room tent and video camera, please contact us.


Feely Boxes
Feely boxesClare and feely boxes

Feely boxes are a fun way to initiate discussion about a subject. We have used them in the past as starting point to talk about topics such as healthy food and the material to be used for the external walls of a new building at an adventure playground.


Cut a hole in one side of a box, large enough for a hand to fit through (but not too big so they can't peep!) and stick some black material on the inside of the box so it hangs down over the opening. Place one item in each box and add a voting card in front of each box to allow them to indicate a choice.


Badge Making

Badge making

Badge making can be used as a fun activity when the child's response can be given in one or two words or a picture. The example in the picture on the left was in response to the question "what qualities do you think makes an ideal playworker?". All you need are some arts and crafts materials and a badge making machine - contact us if you want to borrow ours. Children generally love making badges so make sure you give them time to make one to take home with them.






Bullseyes can be used in two different ways...

1. A target is displayed, the rings mark a different option. Children are given a sticker to place on the ‘ring’ indicating their preferred option.

2. The targets can be used as an evaluation tool for questions such as 'did you have fun today?', 'did you enjoy snack?' or 'did you feel listened to?' Ask children to stick a sticker according to how close to the centre their response would go. You could give an example like "if you have really enjoyed yourself today then put your sticker in the middle, if it was OK then put your sticker futher out, if it was rubbish then put your sticker on the outside."

The rings for the bullseyes are cut out of coloured card but you could just draw rings on a piece of paper and ask children to draw a crosses instead of using stickers!


Treasure Maps
Treasure maps Treasure maps are very useful for exploring with children what's good or bad about their area and pinpointing locations. Print out a map of the area you are wanting children's views about - Google Maps are good as they allow you to zoom in as much as you want and are accurate. Decorate the map with parks, woodland and key buildings (eg. schools) to make it easier for the children to orientate themselves. Ask them to think about what they like and dislike in their area; on green flags ask them to write a positive comment and negative comments can be written on red flags. The children can then stick them in the map in the appropriate area. We have also used flags with 'zebra crossing' style design on them and asked children to indicate on the maps where they find it difficult to cross the road.


Operation Consultation
Operation Consulation


Using the popular children's game 'Operation', we have developed a consultation technique which requires the children to indicate their response to a set question by selecting the bone from an appropriately labelled hole. The questions and overlay sheet can be altered to suit the issues you are wanting to investigate.


Rate or Slate
Rtae or slate This is a great way to get a very visual result on what children think. We often use it to evaluate sessions, by asking the children at the end of a session to 'rate or slate' it. Children are presented with a scale labelled 1-5 (1 being negative and 5 being positive.) Children are asked to rate their answer to a question by putting a sticker on the scale.


Suggestion Box
Suggestion boxpostbox


This technique is great for secret voting and for gaining opinions on more sensitive and personal issues. Children are given a slip of paper which they can write or draw an answer on. Children then post it through the box. Suggestion boxes are old boxes that have been covered in bright paper. A slit needs to be cut into the top or side of the box for completed answer slips to be posted through.

Suggestion boxes can also be made to look like letter boxes! For this activity you could make the pieces of paper the children write or draw on look like postcards and address them to an appropriate person. For example, for the 'Adopt a School' consultation we carried out for South Yorkshire Police, the postcards were addressed to 'My PCSO, My School'.


Token in a Jar
Token in a jar Jars or plastic cups are set up with options clearly written on them. Children are given a token to put in the jar that represents their preferred choice. Tokens can be anything from pieces of pasta to cut out pieces of coloured card. We recommend that you cover the sides of the jars or plastic cups so that the children can't see others' responses. This means the children are more likely to think for themselves, instead of putting their token in the most popular option.


Parachute Games
Parachute Games This is a great active way to gather a whole group's opinions. The parachute is lifted up and down and a statement is shouted out beginning "run underneath if...". If children agree with the statement they run under the parachute, swopping places with others around the circle. This technique gives an overall picture of how many children agree with the questions you are asking but you will need someone to observe the activity and record the number of children running underneath.


Yes, No, Maybe (Runaround)
This is an active way of collecting children's opinions. You will need three large pieces of paper with a smiley face on one, a sad face on the second and an unsure face on the third. Position the pieces of paper around the room and shout out your question. Ask children to run/hop/skip/walk/tip toe/jump etc to their preferred answer. You will need someone to record how many children went to yes, no, maybe. Add in some fun questions too!,


*For these and more ideas for consultation techniques order your copy of:

'Let's Get Everyone Involved'

FREE to Sheffield-based organisations

£10.00 to organisations outside Sheffield

Contact us to order your copy.