The everyday local environment of incidental spaces routinely encountered by children is an important contributor to their social development and general health and well-being. There remains, however, a significant loss of connection between children and outdoor settings and this is increasingly raised as an issue that may have long-term implications. It is now recognised as important that the voices of children should play a pivotal role in the arrangement and content of their spatial realm and that achieving this will require ways to understand children’s perceptions of place and how this contributes to individual and social development. This paper outlines UK based doctoral research to develop a range of participatory tools to facilitate exploration and evaluation of the spatial experiences of primary school age children with particular reference to their perceptions of the outdoor places they encounter in their daily life patterns. The study involved the participation of 68 UK primary school children in a longitudinal qualitative study exploring their neighbourhood place experiences which were both manifest in positive and negative recurring themes. The themes evolved from the first two phases of participation were collated into a Leitmotif code tested in a final phase by using a range of adaptive photoelicitation methods, to test a range of themes relating to place or object-specific experiences; feelings and emotional significance; social networks; and imagination and temporal aspects. The study revealed a ‘fine grain’ to the children’s neighbourhood place perception, manifest in both positive and negative experiences.