OBJECTIVE: To analyze the perspective of children on their health condition and experiences related to outpatient hospital care and the use of the puppets as a playful strategy to collect data. METHOD: A qualitative study with 16 children diagnosed with chronic diseases recruited in a pediatric outpatient clinic in countryside of Sao Paulo. Data were collected in October 2016 using a semi-structured interview and a puppet to facilitate communication. The interview transcripts were subjected to inductive thematic analysis. RESULTS: We constructed four themes: "Children in ambulatory follow-up: what do they know?"; "Emotions manifested in outpatient follow-up"; "The outpatient clinic of my dreams" and; "The use of puppets and the playful universe of interviews". FINAL CONSIDERATIONS: We identified the reasons and main feelings experienced during outpatient care, as well as the children's preferences regarding the physical and structural aspects of the outpatient clinic.