The objective of this study was to explore young children's views on the impact of chronic illness on their life in order to inform future development of a patient-based self-report health outcome measure. We describe an approach to facilitating self-report views from young children with chronic illness. A board game was designed in order to obtain qualitative data from 39 children with a range of chronic illness conditions and 38 healthy controls ranging in age from 3 to 11 years. The format was effective in engaging young children in a self-report process of determining satisfaction with life and identified nine domains. The board game enabled children aged 5-11 years with chronic illness to describe the effects of living with illness on home, family, friends, school and life in general. It generated direct, non-interpreted material from children who, because of their age, may have been considered unable or limited their ability to discuss and describe how they feel. Obtaining this information for children aged 4 and under continues to be a challenge. © SAGE Publications 2011.