What Is Lapbooking? Customize Lapbook Ideas: Materials Needed & Steps To Make Homeschool Fun For Your Kids 2021


A couple of years ago I heard a homeschool friend mention that her kids were enjoying Lapbooking Ancient Egypt.

Simply put, lapbooking is a portfolio that you can customize to show what your child has studied, be it a book, a country, or unit study.. Think of a book report, but funner. Lapbooks can be on just about any topic and can include anything that can be displayed on paper. For example, we used lapbooks to pull together our unit studies on continents. Our lapbooks contained colored flags, recipes, vocabulary words, charts, and more.

The wonderful thing about lapbooks is the way the serve to help kids learn and remember what they have studied.

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Lapbooking? 

So I pulled her aside to asked her to explain. She did, and ever since, our family has loved making lapbooks. They are a way for a child to scrapbook in a folder whatever unit or topic of study she is working on. Any child of any age can utilize lapbooking and almost any subject under the sun can be made into a lapbook.

How To Make A Lapbook?

Materials you need to make your own lapbook:

The basic structures of your lapbook:

  1. Start with a file folder opened up.
  2. Fold one side in to the middle crease.
  3. Now fold the other side in. This is called a Shutter Fold. This is the front of your lapbook. You can write the tile of your subject/unit or draw a picture, place stickers, etc. If you need more inside space, just fold a second file folder the same way and glue the left, outside folds together to make a longer lapbook.

Inside your lapbook:

Now you’re ready to add things to the inside of your blank lapbook. Some ideas for what to include are:

  • coloring pages of flags, food, nature
  • lists of common foods or ways of dress
  • main characters in a book
  • photos of the topic you are studying
  • short essays or stories related to the topic

Here are a few examples of lapbooks my children did in elementary school.

Pennsylvania State Study

We used a single shutter fold lapbook, cut into the shape of Pennsylvania, and the kids added the state capitol and Pittsburgh, map-style.

Inside, you can see some of the elements we added, as the state flag, Facts about William Penn, the founder, and other information.

On the inside, we added a taped fold-out to make room for the state flower, state bird, and a state map.

Another year we studied the Middle Ages, and created a castle-shaped lapbook. You can see the photos that the drawbridge is velcroed on. The kids loved this lapbook and kept thinking of more ideas for info that they could put in it.

Opened up, you can see all the great stuff that the kids made. In the lower left-hand corner is a photo of a cardboard castle all the kids helped to build. They each wrote a princess or knight story for their writing projects, found out what foods people ate back then (in brown triangle fold), and, in red, you can see that they researched the Feudal System and placed info into flaps.

Ideas For Lapbook Subjects

There are many resources on the web pertaining to lapbooking. For free lapbooks and tutorials, go to homeschoolshare.com or lapbooklessons.com You can purchase lapbook kits at currclick.com or homeschoolinthewoods.com or handsofachild.com. The kits are sold by subject. Currclick also offers a few free lapbooks to try. There is also a great book called The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook. This resource shows you folding instructions and includes lots of project ideas for kids of different ages.

To read more about lapbooking, you can read Lapbooking Made Easy

There are as many ideas for lapbooks as there are days to make them. If you take your preschooler to the zoo, come home and paste photos of animals, a map of the zoo, a funny memory or favorite animal, and zoo stickers and you have a great little science lapbook.

Teaching your youngster the alphabet? Why not help him make a lapbook for every letter? For A he can cut out pictures of things that begin with that letter; you can read books that are all about the letter A, visit an apple orchard and take photos, bake a pie and paste the recipe into the lapbook.

For older students a lapbook can make a great book report. If you daughter is reading a book about Laura Ingalls she can do historical research and find photos to print that show other real pioneers in daily life. She can copy pioneer recipes, color styles of clothing,  detail historical happenings at the time Laura Ingalls lived, etc. The ideas are limitless, and make lapbook perfect for any age of student.

Some of my favorite lapbooking ideas:

  • Home Economics unit study
  • Lapbooking continents or countries
  • Art History
  • Biographies
  • History Units
  • Bible stories
  • Career ideas
  • Field Trips

And so many more.

Take some time and peruse the websites to look at other photographs of student lapbooks to see even more ideas for making your own. And most importantly, have fun with it. Lapbooks are such a fun tool to gather together all the pieces of the book or subject you are studying. My kids love making them.

Have YOU made lapbooks yet?

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