This methodological paper is concerned with the use of ‘child-centred’ methods to gather data from young people about their leisure lives. Specifically, a set of activities were devised that enabled young people’s voices to be heard, and their lived experiences to be understood. Inspired by research undertaken in primary schools, classroom-based activities which included creative representation, mind-mapping, pupil interaction and role play were used in a series of ethnographic case studies as part of a national secondary school physical activity research project in Wales during 2007-2009. This paper is an exposition of these activities for researchers and professional practitioners to gather information. Through an evaluation of their efficacy with the young people themselves, the methods were found to be effective for data capture and as a focal point for subsequent interviewing and focus group discussions. They also engaged the young people and enabled rapport to be developed between the researcher and the researched. The success of these methods in specific educational settings has implications for teacher-researchers and professional practice with children and young people in other contexts.