I was getting the 7 year itch in homeschooling. I’d tried almost everything – except lapbooking. The kids and I were both stuck in a rut and we needed to do something fast before homeschooling turned into something that looked too much like, well, boring school. And then I found the lapbook that made all of the difference in our homeschool and I found a new and engaging way to get my kids excited about learning. So to kick off my list of 7 favorite lapbooks, I’m starting with a standby favorite – just in time for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday in March. Maybe your next homeschool pick-me-up is waiting among my list of favorite lapbooks – and I’d love to hear which one’s you’ve tried, and what you would recommend!
We’ll be reviving this favorite one this year with the younger kids who don’t recall too much from this the first time their older siblings studied about St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland, and everything Irish (it’s geared for kids ages 4-9, but is easily adjustable). Even if we weren’t Irish we would chose this type of lapbook, described by the publisher as a Project Pack, because of the thoroughness and quality. You’ll be able to find other lapbooks that are free online, but the sale price of less than the cost of shamrock shakes for the kids is worth the investment. This lapbook includes:
- Research Guide – This includes a bibliography which makes trips to the local library a breeze when I need to stock up on extra resources, and it also includes links to websites that are helpful (reducing that wasted searching time).
- Core Concepts – These descriptions of what the lapbook covers help you determine what (if any) other subjects you’ll need to be studying during this time.
- Project Ideas – These include fun, hands-on activities that take the kids away from the lapbook and into their imaginations – great extensions for what they are already applying.
- Sample Pages – This publisher does an amazing job describing how to fold a lapbook, use a lapbook, and gives sample pictures of real world lapbooks so you can get an idea of the finished product.
If you’re looking for a fun and easy lapbook for your studies of China, check out this one from Randomosity. The highlight of this lapbook creation is the booklist she includes for supplemental reading. Then you can choose and print exactly which pages and types of topics you want to include in your lapbook. We like to make sure we add a map, and then throw in some cooking with Chinese recipes to help round out the experience. Our local college also hosts International Nights where we can go and learn more about various cultures – our program guides get added into our lapbooks.
These easy to read and engaging stories get kids thinking about other times, events, and conflicts (usually in world history). These lapbooks are great supplements to further your reading with your kids. If your kids enjoy the Magic Tree House series, grab hold of their enthusiasm to keep talking about the books. This lapbook for the first book covers character analysis at a very elementary level, vocabulary from the story, and a small amount of science. These lapbooks are beneficial for kids who need a little more reinforcement with their reading comprehension, and then help them become more critical readers as their skills develop.
4. Civil War Lapbook
This is one of the best civil war lapbook tools you are going to find when you are trying to teach across several ages and abilities. The youngest learners can use the activities that rely more on basic skills of cutting, coloring, and pasting, but older children can be challenged by the ideas they tackle. The basic pages and inserts allow you to customize how much your child needs to contribute. You can have younger kids just write simple words, or have older children research and write short paragraphs describing their reactions and ideas. It includes topics and activities such as:
- Civil War Uniforms
- Flags of the Time
- Civil War Quilts
- Morse Code
- People of the Civil War
It is intended to be used in conjunction with the book Great Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself, but my kids are using it as a supplement to the experiences they are having and the things they are learning as part of a historical re-enactors guild which performs plays related to Abraham Lincoln.
5. The Polar Express Learning Lapbook by A Journey Through Learning
We love reading aloud in our home, and lapbooks are wonderful ways to extend those stories into something more. One of my favorite ways to bring a good book to life is to use a lapbook, and the holidays are a great time to do this. Even shorter books like The Polar Express can work well with lapbooks because each time we read the same book with our kids we can discover something new. This particular lapbook is the perfect way to study during the holiday season – you get to play with jingle bells, experiment with hot cocoa, and even explore elements of story writing. It is intended for early elementary readers.
Other favorite holiday lapbooks include:
6. How The Grinch Stole Christmas by JoAnn S.
This is actually a unit study, but all you need to do is print the activities and have the kids attach them into a plain lapbook template. Activities ranging from making your own rock candy (learning about caves like where the Grinch lived), and exploring holiday customs in other countries. And it is free!
7. The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg, lapbook prepared by Jolanthe Erb
This story of the legend of the Easter egg draws upon Biblical lessons, but the lapbook created by Jolanthe Erb also includes social studies activities on the history of the Faberge Eggs, math concepts, science lessons on parts of eggs, and more. This is available for free use by the creator.
8. 4th of July
Over at The Frazzled Mama you can find some fun ideas to build your own Independence Day lapbook. Sshh – just don’t tell the kids they are learning in the summer. Who could imagine such a thought? These are great activities to print and bring along to the cabin, to the campsite, or to use on a hot summer afternoon.
9. Thanksgiving Lapbook
There is a link here at Joann Griffin’s site for printables to be used in a Thanksgiving lapbook. The pages are simple and not very detailed, but what I like most is that she just took a general interest she had and found a way to use some graphics to turn it into a lapbook. If you add some great Thanksgiving books for early learners, her pages can be fun (and free) supplements.
When you’re searching for lapbooks, don’t forget to check out my top three general favorite sites:
These sites have great tools – some for free and some for cost – but they all can contribute immensely to your children’s learning experiences.
Don’t forget to share your favorite lapbook resources and I’ll get them added to a list to share.
Are there any topics for lapbooks you can’t find? Let me know that, too. When we work together, we learn together!