What is a Lapbook?

Last week 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 super excited because now I have the opportunity to write a post and share some awesome lapbooks created by real life moms (not some fancy publishing company), and hopefully convince a few homeschoolers to try one of my 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 like lapbooks because my kids seem to remember lapbook activities better than just listening to read alouds or filling in 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. Personally I use manila folders and card stock to create our books. I’m not the most crafty person in the world, so I stick to the basics.

Lapbook Examples

Currently we are using 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.

This is our Oceans book, we haven’t started it yet. 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.

Here are some lapbook examples sent to me by readers. If these don’t get your creative juices flowing I don’t know what will!

Addition lapbook (from Jennifer)

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 lapbook examples, the possibilities are endless! If you would like more lapbooking resources check if your local library has The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook. I finally bought a copy this year and reference it often.

You can also find numerous free lapbook resources online.

Lapbook Lessons This free site contains a wealth of resources including templates, resources, printables, and entire projects. The only problem with this site is that it doesn’t display properly in Chrome or Firefox.

Jimmie’s Collage I think I’ve found my new favorite homeschool site! Jimmie has several awesome lapbooks on her blog and lots of great ideas! Click over to her site and be inspired to take your homeschooling up a notch.

Homeschool Share This is another free site with tons of lapbook resources. Free templates and entire projects are available to download.

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  1. I love these! I use these with my kindergarten students. When we do a topic we do a four part method which involves a system sometimes termed as ‘plan, do and review’, led by the children. When they choose what they would like to learn (currently we are doing Weather) we have two discussions: 1. What do we know already? 2. What would we like to learn/know? This is all recorded. We then study our topic and all the information phots crafts etc go into our lap book, along with the two set of discussion we had at the beginning. At the end of our topic we have two moer discussions- 3. What do we know now that we didn’t before? and 4. What would we liked to have learned if we were to do it again? Sometimes the last discussion leads us to another couple of weeks of the topic. Again this is recoreded int he lapbooks. It is really good for them as they can go back through them and reinforces what they have already learned.

    Yours are brilliant! I will be borrowing some of your fantastic ideas!
    Allison 🙂

  2. Thanks for posting about lapbooks on FB! I saw the post yesterday and we made our first one today – it was a super fun way to review and summarize the main topics we’ve learned on seedlings! Looking ahead to the summer and studying the 50 States! Thank you!

  3. From a public school teacher’s standpoint, these are great (I spent ten years in first grade, and am now loving being in third). In our world, we call these foldables or 3D graphic organizers. They are wonderful tools to synthesize learning, and great for those kinesthetic learners (as most little ones are!) Keep up the great work!

  4. We did our first lap book last week!!!!!! Love them! Our’s was on ‘compassion & mercy’. We used the veggie tales Jonah movie to anchor it…….then did origami whales :), looked up meanings for both words, and watched a national geographic documentary on whales! All around good fun and learning!!!!! Thanks for the great idea!!!!!!!

  5. I homeschool my kindergartener, and I’ve been eager to try this! I was first worried that making a lap book would take too much time/energy right now, because I’ve got to babies, as well. However, once you mentioned that the lesson seemed to stick with the kids longer through this process, I am now convinced to try them! My 5-year-old is crafty and loves to write. I think she’d really enjoy it. Thanks so much for the resources!!!

  6. Stephanie says:

    I’ve been looking through your website and I love it. This on the lapbooks is just awesome! My son and I are doing oceans also right now. Instead of a lapbook I bought a huge roll of contractors brown paper for covering the floor when painting. Anyways what my son and I are doing is this. We cut a huge length of paper. At the top we put the sun and drew some waves and painted the ocean water of the sunlit level. (We’re going by levels in the sea covering basic animals and so forth) We’ve put the animals that we have studied along and made crafts that could fit on it. We basically have our own little graph of what the ocean looks like with animals & plants. It hangs on our wall in our entry way. Also we do a little animal report with what we have learned about. Yesterday was humpback whales and today was blue whales. Thanks for your ideas. I really like them.

  7. Thanks for sharing real examples! it is frustrating to see perfect examples time after time. Great post.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    So glad I found this!!! Much less intimidated now! 🙂

  9. I’d not heard of these before but absolutely love it! Can’t wait to have a go at some with my little ones, what a great idea

  10. Thank you for this fantastic post. I posted one of our old lapbooks recently and when someone asked what a lapbook is… I found this post to direct them to. No need for my explanation. Yours is fantastic. Thank you very much.

  11. Nancy Billings says:


    Thank you for the great photos of your terrific lap books. I have been home schooling for over fifteen years but had only heard of lap books recently. I love the idea! I’m going to give it a go when we start up school again in August. Thank you for the easy access to this creative idea.

  12. I like the idea. It makes you to be more creative.

  13. Thanks for the resources! This is something I’d like to try with my oldest son (he’s 7)

  14. Tracy VanDemark says:

    Thanks for these! I am a bit confused though. Are these something you help the kids make after they have studied a topic or are these things you put together yourself for the child to interact with? I just watched a video on youtube about lapbooks and was surprised to notice there were things left blank that needed to be filled in so it looked like a giant fun workbook to give to the kids to complete. Can you elaborate?

    • Lapbooks are something the kids make (usually with help) as they are learning about a topic. I would not call it a workbook, but they vary so much, it is hard to define.

  15. Thanks I finally understand what and how to use a lap book. I am very excited to try to use one.

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