A choosing board helps visually present options to a pupil, add structure to activities that can be confusing and can be used to break down a time table and help the pupil to access classroom activities.  There are 2 ways these can be used – either freeflow or with a box of activities.

Using Choosing Boards with a box of activities

A choosing board can be used in conjunction with a box of items (a treasure box/basket, a box of items used for speech and language groups, etc) to help the pupil access the activity.

  • Show the pupil the box and then present them with the choosing board.
  • Display the symbols/photographs of the items in the box that they can choose from.
  • The pupil should be encouraged to remove the symbols/photo they want and exchange it with the leading adult for the corresponding item.
  • If the pupil does not want the item they have selected, the symbol should be shown alongside the item to reinforce what they have requested.  Then return the symbol to the board and try again.


The items may need to be visible to begin with to be used as objects of reference alongside the symbol.

Use up to 4 symbols depending on the child’s abilities – start with a choice of 2 and build up to 4

Once the item has finished, the symbol should be removed from the board completely and replaced with another symbol if there are more items available.  This will also help the pupil to visualise the activity finishing/coming to an end.

Using Choosing Boards with free-flow activities

In Reception, it is likely that you will display ‘freeflow’ or ‘choosing’ or ‘play’ during free flow activities as using a symbol for each activity on offer would make the timetable very long.

Show the pupil that it is time for ‘freeflow/play/choosing’ on their timetable and then use a choosing board to help them select an activity that is available. Use up to 4 symbols depending on the child’s abilities – start with a choice of 2 and build up to 4

You may need to use objects of reference alongside the board to make the symbols clear.  Encourage the pupil to select a symbol and give it to you.  Lead them to the activity they have selected.  If they do not want to do the activity they have selected, show them the symbol to reinforce what they have chosen and let them select again.


Choosing board being usedChoosing board being used Choosing board being used