The Nadel family- Enjoy reading our everyday adventures!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Caleb reading a mini-book...

Our lapbook supplies- papers, scissors, trash bag, glue, etc.,

Caleb cutting a mini-book about soccer...

Caleb writing a mini-book about basketball.
What is a lapbook? A lapbook is a file folder decorated and filled with educational mini-books of information all about a certain related subject. There are a lot of free lapbooks online, if you search for lapbooks on google or swagbucks search pages. Lapbooks can be for nearly any theme, such as polar bears, basketball, chocolate or Thomas Edison. Lapbooks can be about a person, animal, sport, place or part of history. It is a great way to study something in-depth and not do a plain old book report. You can be creative with a lapbook, doing lots of cutting, coloring, gluing, and design. My older daughter loves lapbooks because she is creative and enjoys cutting and pasting. When she was younger, I did more of the writing in the lapbooks, and she did more of the folding and pasting. Lapbooks can be made for all ages, from preschool to high school. They can be as simple as you want or as elaborate as you want.

What is Lapbooking?
Here are some great sites that will explain lapbooking.  I could rewrite all the info here, but since others have already explained it so wonderfully, I will direct you to their site instead. 

How To Get Started
Ok, I know there is a lot of info here.  The best thing to do first is look at the examples of different lapbooks.  There are some really awesome ones and they are sure to get you excited about lapbooking.  After you look at the pictures, read the links under What Is Lapbooking.  These sites give a lot of information on how to do a lapbook.  Next, I would down load one of the Freebies of which there are several and try one of them with your children. After this, I would try one on your own.  If you need ideas, look under Theme Ideas.  First step, read Folding a Lapbook and Extensions.  Second, go to Folding Basics, Folds, Folding Definitions, and Templates to learn how to make your booklets and under Scrapbook Supplies, Clip Art and Coloring Pages to learn how to embellish your booklets.  Next, read about Assembly and Adhesives.  Finally, read about Closures.
Theme Ideas
So you want to make a lapbook, but not sure what you want to do it on?  Well here is a great list to get you started.
As you finish studying each part of the unit, have your child do a booklet (folds are below).  Store each of your booklets in a baggy until you are done with the unit (or subject).  Based on how many booklets you have decide what type of lapbook you need (simple or one with extensions). If you want to paint (not necessary) the file folders do this before assembly.  After you have the lapbook together (let it dry), if you need to adhere patterned paper do so now, then arrange the booklet on the lapbook (if it is dry).  When they are in a pleasing display then glue them down.  (See Adhesive below on how to do this) After this, finish decorating it.
Folding a Lapbook and Extensions
To make a smaller lapbook if you don’t have a lot of booklets to go with it, just take a file folder and do a Shutter Fold (see below) with it.  You can make a simple extension by attaching a piece of 8½ x 11 cardstock with tape to the top of the middle part on the inside so it just lifts up (like on a hinge) to reveal what is underneath.  Some more complex extensions are shown in the next two links.
OK, I have the booklets now how do I put it all together?  One of the best, inexpensive glue IMO is the Elmer’s Blue Gel glue.  It is not as watery so it doesn’t bubble quite as bad.  I would put the glue in a small cup and have a spreader for the child.  The thinner you make the glue on the paper the smoother it will look.  Another great thing to use but much more expensive is the Xyron.  This will hold it together well and because it is a dry adhesive it doesn’t bubble and get soggy.  But like I said, it is expensive. I usually use glue sticks or rubber cement. I buy the glue sticks when I can get them in September on sale and we use them all year on our lapbooks. 

Coloring Pages
Coloring pages are great for the cover of a lapbook.  Most probably should be trimmed down and to work on a lapbook they will have to be cut down the middle.  Just follow your file folder as a template so it will match up well. Keep in mind if you are going to put a flap or overlap (see closures for details) on it because it will change how you have to cut your picture.  Another thing you can use them for is for diagrams or reduced down and used in the booklets or on the front of booklets as long as they are not too involved.  Simpler pictures could be used for the covers of shapebooks. 

Lapbooking Examples

Here are my two favorite places to see lapbooks, get free lapbooks and lapbook ideas:

I have done several of Jamin's lapbooks, including "All About Money", "Goodnight Moon", "Chocolate", "Bees", "12 Days of Christmas", and maybe others. has a great list of lapbooking resources with minibooks and samples and information. (first link) They also have an extensive list of free lapbooks, including various books, animals, character traits and more. We have done their elephants lapbook, parts of the Five in A Row (FIAR) lapbooks and parts of the Thomas Edison lapbooks. 

One more place to get some free lapbooks and wonderful ones to buy:

I have a large file that I have gathered from various websites with links, examples of folds, etc., If you are interested in this file, please let me know and I can email it to you. 

Here is the list of lapbooks we have done:
All about Me
4th of July
10 Commandments
Labor Day
Thomas Edison
Columbus day
12 Days of Christmas
The Nativity (all in Fall 2007)

Holland (country)
Martin Luther King Jr.
Valentine's Day
St. Patrick's Day
Easter (partly a notebook with worksheets)
Fire Safety
Attentiveness (with curric. from Konos)
Dental Health 
(all done in Spring 2008)

Psalm 23/ Sheep
Roman Numerals
Christmas Around the World (notebook)
done in 2009

Preschool/ Kindergarten ones we've done:
Goodnight Moon
Five Senses

And maybe a few others that I've missed! 
Right now, we are working on a "History of Sports" lapbook for Caleb. I am trying to do something to fill up a little extra school time and something he will be interested in. Rebekah doesn't have as much time to do lapbooks in middle school, but she has started an Australia lapbook this fall. 

Lapbooks are great to show to grandparents, (and other family members) to sit and read together about what the kids have learned in school. They might just learn a few things, I know I have by teaching my kids about the various subjects. We love to look back at our old lapbooks too, and re-learn the information included in the lapbooks. I pull out our Thanksgiving lapbook to study again each year during Thanksgiving. I do the same with the Columbus Day, Christmas and spring holiday ones. 

 If you want pictures of any of our lapbooks, let me know. I may post pictures as I have time in the next few weeks. I think it is fun to look at what others are doing in school!

Even if you don't think you will do many lapbooks, they are great to use for a subject your child may be interested in, just to keep them learning and busy!

1 comment:

  1. New homeschooling mom here. Thank you for the detailed info--this is great!


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