What’s a Lapbook and How do I Make one?

What’s a Lapbook and How do I Make one?

What is a lapbook and how do I make one?

You may or may not have heard the term “lapbook” around the internet homeschooling community.  It’s a fun way to organize information in a file folder, which uses reading, writing, cutting and gluing skills.  Think of those giant Tri-fold posters from when you were a kid- these are the much smaller, much more convenient and easier to keep-for-a-long-time ‘modern’ version of those.

Making them is super easy.  You can buy a pack of file folders for very little at most office supply stores, and then fill them with information in a fun way your kids will enjoy. To make a file folder into a lapbook, you simply open it, fold the two sides inward towards the middle, and then go back and add printables, pictures etc.

What fun info goes in a lapbook?

Well.  I love lapbooks, so if you’re using CSH (which of course you are… I mean you’re reading this aren’t you?), you’ll find lots of lapbook printables on the blog.  You simply read the instructions, print out the pages you need, fold and or staple, and glue them in! The CSH lapbook printables already come with pictures and information written in them so you can just assemble the lapbook.  The internet is also full of other lapbook printables, which you can easily find doing a google/bing/yahoo search.

Why would you make a lapbook?

The act of making the lapbook IS a learning activity. Your students will read the printable pieces they are cutting and gluing. Or if it is an open ended lapbook, they fill out the pieces with information (from books, the internet, that old encyclopedia collection on your shelf) before gluing in.  Cutting and pasting is a useful skill that sometimes gets overlooked in the home class-room.  Start off even your non-readers doing lapbooks so they can practice holding scissors correctly, glue-sticking without making a huge mess and laying out pieces before gluing (planning ahead).

Once they’re made, use the lapbooks as review material. Pull out completed lapbooks to review information you learned weeks ago.  Your students can use lapbooks to self quiz.  Often material is presented with a topic on the outside of a flap and the answer or information on the inside of the flap- this makes them great for self quizzing. Your students can use lapbooks to quiz each other.  Let each student have a lapbook from which to ask the other students questions. Use the finished lapbooks as car entertainment. Throw one or two in the car/van for your kids to look at while you drive around doing errands. Switch them out whenever you think of it!

What if I hate file folders, but I think lapbook printables are neat?

Well, lucky for you there are no blogging police, so if you love the printables but don’t care for file folders or lapbooks, use the printables in whatever way you want. Sure they were designed to glue into a file folder, but who says you have to do that?  I promise I won’t be offended.  Some people print the flap pages/flip books etc, and then glue them into a spiral bound notebook, or onto cardstock to stick in their 3-ring binders.  This gives you the option to just use the parts you want.

Are there any CSH Lapbooks for Tour I?

I’ve made lots of lapbooks over the last three years that fit into the CSH program.  For Tour I, be sure to check out:

Animals Lapbook

Southeast States Lapbook

Mid-Atlantic States Lapbook

New England States Lapbook

Great Lakes States Lapbook

Plains States Lapbook

Rocky Mountain States Lapbook

Southwest and Pacific States Lapbook

And there are plenty of other free Lapbooks out there that align with Tour I.  Here are a few of them I’ve found:

Free Anatomy Lapbook

Free Weather Lapbook

Free Electricity Lapbook

Free Magnetism Lapbook

Free US Presidents Lapbook

Free Native Americans Lapbook (you need a TPT account for this one)

Free Daniel Boone Lapbook

Free American Revolution Lapbook

Free Civil War Lapbook

AHHH there are so many! Do I do them all?!

Um, no. Don’t try to do too many.  You can pick just one subject to do lapbooks for (like geography might be a good one).  Or just do lapbooks as a fun ‘extra’ when your students need something different to do.  Once you show them how to make a lapbook, it is a great independent school activity.  You can set your ‘big’ kid lapbooking while you teach reading to your first grader or clean crayon off the wall from your toddler, or teach calculus to your highschooler- or whatever else requires your one-on-one time.

If your students really love lapbooks, and you don’t mind printing lots and buying glue sticks, then let them do as many as they wish! There are plenty of resources, and if you want a lapbook you don’t see here, just type in google “Free (insert subject here) lapbook printables” and see what pops up.  File folders are a pretty in expensive item to get, and buying them in bulk is really economical.  Consider getting fun colors too 🙂

We hope this post takes some of the fear out of lapbooking, and gave you an idea of the value of lapbooking!

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