I discovered the world of lapbooking a few years ago when we started homeschooling, but I have never actually used them because I was never fully prepared. Finally, for third grade, I have planned ahead and incorporated them into our curriculum. I have everything ready so when it is time to use them, I don’t have to frantically search, size and print everything on the fly.
What is a Lapbook?
A lapbook is a hands-on, visual learning tool that uses a file folder filled with foldable inserts (called mini-books) that cover key details of your lesson. Your child writes inside the foldables, cuts them out, then assembles and decorates their lapbook. Lapbooks can include as much or as little as you desire. Our lapbooks will basically be unit studies, but they can also be used for book reports, biographies, science projects and portfolios.
For me, I like the idea of lapbooks because my daughter has trouble retaining information and I want to find ways to hold her interest. She can read about a subject and write a paragraph or complete a worksheet, but if you ask her about it in a month, she will forget the majority of it. Not only do lapbooks engage the learner and make the lesson more memorable, they also encourage creativity, provide a nice visual reference for the future, as well as incorporate and improve fine motor skills.
Lapbooks can be used for any subject and any grade level of learning. There are plenty of free resources on the web to fit your needs. Check out this one someone made for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Our Third Grade Lapbooks
I have decided to use lapbooks for our U.S. State and World Country studies. I thought this would be the easiest way to try them out. As I mentioned, you can find many free lapbooks online, but me being me, I needed to create my own templates. I knew what I wanted to capture for each state and each country, so I simply designed the foldables and sheets to fit the folder flaps. I also wanted to incorporate maps and flags, so I found, sized and saved all of that in advance.
Here is an empty version of our state lapbook (click for larger version):
The state and country maps will be colored and labeled appropriately, noting border states/countries, capital/largest cities, etc. The U.S. and world maps will have the state/country colored in, oceans labeled and a compass rose, to give a visual frame of reference. The flags will be colored, there is a place for drawing either a bird, tree, flower or animal and she can color and jazz up any part of the lapbook she wants.
And here is an empty version of our world country lapbook:
I really wanted to keep ours simple to begin with, so our foldables are just flaps. The fancy foldables look so cool, but she is not able to write inside those tiny flaps yet. As your child grows, you can use more complex stacked foldables, wheels, fans and other mini-books to insert into your lapbooks. You can also expand your lapbooks, up to three or four file folders, to hold all the upper grade level information.
If you are interested in incorporating lapbooks into your homeschool, or even if you want to create a lapbook for an interest led project for your kids outside of school, you can find tons of information on the web. I would highly recommend jumping on Pinterest first. If you are lucky, you can find exactly what you want for free. If you are anything like me and need to create your own, it might be a little more involved, but still not to complicated.
Here are few link that I found useful: