Background. Children with disabilities are at risk for limited daily occupational participation. This paper presents a phenomenological study describing the meaning of participation in activities outside of school to children with physical and neurological disabilities and their parents. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight children and their parents. Results. Nine themes, organized under three categories, describe what successful participation means, and the personal and environmental supports and barriers to participation. Successful participation is defined in terms of being with others and being able to perform tasks independently. Conclusions. This study demonstrates that children with physical and neurological disabilities enjoy the same activities as those children without these disabilities. Activities allowing children to experience enjoyment have the best chance of ensuring children's participation. The role of the parent in providing opportunities for participation, and the importance of environmental and personal resources are particularly important. Finally, implications for occupational therapy and research are discussed.