A lapbook is one of my favorite ways to make topics “stick” in my kids’ brains.
When I posted a picture of our Oceans lapbook on my Facebook page, I assumed everyone was familiar with lapbooking but apparently that is not the case.
I’m excited to share how lapbooks helped our homeschool, because even my adult children get nostalgic when I pull out their old lapbooks. Plus I have the opportunity to share some awesome lapbooks created by real life moms (not some fancy publishing company), and hopefully convince a few homeschoolers to try one of our favorite learning tools.
What is a lapbook?
In Happy Homeschool terms, a lapbook is a really cool hands-on method of teaching your children about anything! You don’t have to be a homeschooler to use a lapbook to teach your kids. Anyone can make one to help reinforce ideas your kids are learning at school, extra curricular activities, or church projects.
I love them because my kids seem to remember lapbook learning activities better than read alouds or worksheets.
According to Squidoo, lapbooking is defined as:
…making mini-books covering details that you’ve studied. After making a variety of mini-books about a larger topic, all the books are put together in a large folder. The finished product is called a lapbook because it’s large and covers your lap.
Lapbooks take on many different shapes and sizes, it just depends on how creative you are or want to be. We use manila folders and colorful card stock to create our lapbooks. I’m not the most crafty person in the world, so I stick to the basics.
To make the outer cover open the manila folder then fold each side into each other. It should look like the tri-fold boards kids use at the science fair.
Inside the manila folder you can glue or staple card stock to make “pages” or pockets for additional space.
One thing I needed to learn when creating lapbooks was to let it go. (Cue Frozen) Your child’s lapbook shouldn’t be perfect! If you do the work, they won’t learn the material. I had to let go of my perfectionist tendencies and allow my children to make less than perfect lapbooks so they learned the concepts.
I soon realized that when my kids created the lapbook they were learning. When I created the lapbook so it was “perfect” they didn’t learn much at all.
That being said, I did use free templates to create our books.
Once the lapbook has been created it is time to start filling it with information. At first I thought lapbooks were only for science or history, however I quickly realized lapbooks reinforce any subject!
After years of eyeing it at homeschool conventions I did purchase The Ultimate Guide to Lap Books, but the rest of the resources I found for free on the internet.
If you don’t have a creative bone in your body, many of my favorite publishers offer lapbook templates to go with the books. They are inexpensive and many are available for immediate download on
If you are looking for inspiration to start lapbooking I’ve included photos of a few of our lapbooks as well as some reader submitted photos to get your creative juices flowing.
After I realized that lapbooks weren’t only for science and history, we started using them for all our subjects. This lapbook was used with Discovering Jesus in Genesis for our bible lessons. Each day we read one lesson then create a mini book, symbol, or other small craft to put in our lapbook.
Remember all those leftover scrapbook supplies you have in your closet? You can use that themed paper in your lapbooks. This is our Oceans book, I used a manilla folder for this book too, but I turned the book so it opens to the top and bottom not the sides.
This weather lapbook is from Mrs. Jone’s Creation Station.
Our summer cloud science experiment would be a great addition to this weather lapbook.
Tina used a legal size folder for this anatomy lapbook. Lapbooks aren’t only for younger kids! Even high schoolers can make them.
Reader submitted lapbooks
Jennifer used a lapbook to reinforce addition for her younger children.
Money lapbook (from Jennifer)
Obedience Lapbook (you can see the whole tutorial on Peace Creek on the Prairie)
Opera Lapbook (from Jimmie’s Collage)
Eclipse Lapbook (from Jimmie’s Collage)
As you can see from these examples, the possibilities are endless! If you would like more lapbooking resources check if your local library has The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook. I referenced it often when creating our books.
A few of my favorite (free) online resources.
Lapbook Lessons: This free site that contains a wealth of resources including templates, resources, printables, and entire projects. However you may have issues with this site if you use Chrome or Firefox.
Homeschool Share: This is another free site with tons of resources. Free templates and entire projects are available to download.
You might also enjoy:
- When the Homeschool Plan isn’t Working
- How to Create Unit Studies
- Dozens of Free Projects, Experiments & Hands on Fun Activities