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A Super Easy Way to Begin Lapbooking : The Simplest Lapbook Ever


How to Start Lapbooking

So you've heard about lapbooking and seen pictures or videos of other people's finished lapbooks all over homeschooling blogs. You're intrigued and want to make a lapbook with your own children. But where to start? How can you transform that plain, boring manilla file folder into a beautiful record of your children's learning? This page will get you started, step by step.

Top Six Ways to Make Lapbooking Difficult - surefire ways to ruin your lapbooking experience

Before we get started on our step-by-step, let's explore some of the WORST things to do in relation to lapbooking. These will certainly kill the enthusiasm for lapbooking in your homeschool:

  1. Forget that lapbooking is simply a tool for learning. Instead, let lapbooking take over your homeschool and totally lose sight of your original educational goals.
  2. Become so focused on the finished product that you forget the process of learning and creating. After all, what would Grandma say if this minibook is not perfect?
  3. Become so focused on your own plans for the lapbook that you don't allow your children to express their creativity through this medium. Wear yourself out over planning every detail instead of guiding your children as they create the lapbook.
  4. Immediately buy five or six expensive lapbooking resources before you even find out if this method suits you and your children.
  5. Force lapbooking on a child who hates it. If you think it's fun, then it must be fun. Insist on using lapbooking.
  6. Try to cram all of the lapbook into one day's work.

Why Lapbooking is Addictive

Obviously, not everyone loves lapbooks, but for those who do enjoy their first one, the urge to keep creating them is strong! Before you know it, you'll be evaluating every brochure or magazine with the thought, "This would make a great graphic for a mini-book!"

Why does the lapbooking bug bite so hard? Here are five reasons:

  1. inexpensive materials -- paper, scissors, tape, markers; no need to buy prepacked kits
  2. creates a product to keep for years to come
  3. capitalizes on the creativity of your children
  4. not difficult to do; anyone can learn how
  5. not another boring worksheet. Lapbooks are fun and creative!

STEP ONE - Make Some Mini-books

Visit each of these links. Make two or three of each style of book. Use whatever paper you have on hand -- plain old white or colored, large or small sheets. Don't worry too much about the details right now. Just have fun making the blank mini-books. Get your children involved at this step too!

  • One Page Book
    The simplest of the mini-books. This one is so easy and fun! Be sure to teach your children how to make this type of book. They will LOVE it! Use any piece of paper, any size.
  • Layered Book
    For variety, you can change the widths of the paper, use a duo or trio of colors.
  • Accordion Book
    Back and forth, back and forth. Fold it up like a fan. Voila! An accordion book!

Video How Tos

If the written directions above are still leaving you a bit unclear, check out these great videos!

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord writes a great blog called Making Books with Children. Here is a video she made, giving step by step directions for the one page book which she calls a hot dog book.

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STEP TWO - Study your regular homeschool currriculum.

This step is SO easy because you were already going to do this, right? Just go about your normal homeschool routine.

You need just a few minutes of preparation. Think about what topics you are studying; take a glance at your plans for the next few weeks. Choose one topic among these for your first lapbook. It can be absolutely anything, but science and history topics are some of the easiest. Choose one that you'll be studying for about two to four weeks. The topic can be very broad.

When you are finished with your regular, daily homeschool lesson, ask your children what they learned today. THAT is what you can put into the mini-book.


Pull out the blank books you made in step one. Let your children choose what type of book they want to use for today's topic. Then make the book! Write text, add drawn pictures, glue in images printed from the internet or cut from magazines.

Remember the back of the book will be attached to the lapbook, so leave it blank. Make an attractive title page on the cover of your book.

Don't worry about doing it "right." As long as you're documenting what you learned, it's RIGHT. Of course, this will vary depending on your child's age and ability. So tailor your expectations accordingly. A preschooler will have mostly drawings. But an intermediate student will have much more text.

Put this mini-book to the side and continue making mini-books each day until all your blank ones are used up. How will you know when you're done? When you've finished studying the topic, you're finished making mini-books.


STEP THREE - Assemble the lapbook.

Once you've finished studying your particular topic, gather all the mini-books you've made.

Take your file folder and fold it as instructed at Homeschool Helper. Design your cover. You can use coloring pages printed free from the Internet or cut color photos from old magazines. Don't worry if your image crosses the opening in the center front. Go ahead and glue it on. Then go back and cut it open along the file folder edges.

Next play around with the layout of your minibooks inside. Once you're happy with your layout, affix the mini-books into the file folder base. I prefer to use double-sided tape. But use whatever you have on hand.

Now your first lapbook is complete! Show it off! As your children show it to visitors in your home, they are reviewing all they learned.

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