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What is a Lapbook?

What is a Lapbook and how will it help you?
What is a Lapbook?
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One of the best ideas to use in projects with children is to make a Children’s Lapbook

A lap book what…?

Patience, I’ll tell you all about it in detail.

Lapbook Sistema Solar
Lapbook Solar System

When you’re teaching elementary or preschool children (or learning at home), it’s sometimes hard to get their attention on the subject while they’re doing their project. This is known by you, me, and everyone else who has a relationship with teaching at all levels.

That’s why you should look for different ways to make projects and themes in such a way that they are motivated and willing to continue researching and creating with their own material.

A great way to do this is through a lapbook with creative designs.

Lapbook para Descargar
Lapbook to Download

What is a Lapbook?

¿Qué es un Lapbook?
What is a Lapbook?

The lapbook is a kind of mixture of mural, game full of surprises and hiding places, reuse of materials, it is a folding “book” (as if it were a triptych) in which you can work visually and creatively on a topic that we previously chose.
It can be made from a cardboard that will allow us to develop or expose a theme. Inside, we will be collecting drawings, drawings, photos, objects, activities, diagrams, fold-outs… related to the theme in question and we will paste it. In this way children We can find them in different shapes, sizes and complexities.

A Lapbook is a practical educational practice that we can do with children to learn more about a particular subject or expose it on a cardboard or cardboard and some added materials and easy to get.

To make a lapbook you need a folding stand made of cardboard or cardboard which allows us to expose a topic. In its internal part or interior allows us to incorporate various supports such as: diagrams, photos, drawings, foldouts and everything that can facilitate better communication with the child.

Its main function is to work with children in a graphic, practical, simple and fun way so that children can learn if they notice.

Lapbooks are useful when the school asks them to carry out a project of a certain subject in order to expose it in a visual and attractive way to their classmates.

Advantages of the Lapbook:

Ventajas Lapbook
Advantages of the Lapbook:
  • It serves to develop creativity.
  • To work in a team
  • To Investigate a Topic
  • To express themselves orally and in writing
  • To share and learn with others
  • With this tool the child becomes the protagonist of his own learning.
  • You’ll assimilate content better and learn almost unnoticed by focusing on all the information in your project.
  • The topics are unlimited, for example are not limited to mathematics, much less, you can also do one:
    1. Spanish Lapbook
    2. Geography Lapbook
    3. Religion Lapbook
    4. History Lapbook
    5. Animal Lapbook
    6. Food Lapbook
    7. Love Lapbook
    8. Lapbook of a Book
    9. Chemistry Lapbook
    10. Day of the Dead Lapbook
    11. Lapbook of the Mexican Political Constitution
    12. Christmas Lapbook
    13. Benito Juarez’s Lapbook
    14. Little Prince Lapbook
    15. Animal Lapbook
    16. Mexico Flag Lapbook
    17. Lapbook of the Mexican Revolution
    18. Biodiversity Lapbook
    19. Children’s Day Lapbook
    20. Human Body Lapbook
    21. Human Rights Lapbook
    22. English Lapbook
    23. Mother’s Day Lapbook
    24. Oil Expropriation Lapbook
    25. Lapbook of the Fabula

… there are endless ideas for creative lapbooks and lapbooks in all areas.

  • The complexity of your project development and whether the lapbooks are creative will depend on the age or development of the child.
  • It’s a motivating activity
  • The results are very eye-catching: fold-out, open shapes, pockets, etc… give us great flexibility and variety to make them to our own taste and style.

Disadvantages of the Lapbook:

Desventajas de los lapbook
Disadvantages of the Lapbook:

As with any methodology or didactic bet, there are some drawbacks or limitations that must be taken into account when using lapbook:

  • It requires prior preparation and programming by the teacher.
  • Mediation is needed at key moments. Depending on the age of the students, mediation between the teacher and the moment in which the template is elaborated is key and fundamental.
  • It is necessary to dedicate time to the beginning of applying this methodology.
  • Working at home to be able to make lapbook is essential. A large part of the creative activity (decorating, colouring, assembling…) takes place on many occasions at home.
  • More theoretical exercises from the textbook or written activities are sometimes neglected. It is true that when a lapbook is applied in class, it is necessary to reduce the performance of written exercises.
  • Necessary frequent material: folios, scissors, adhesives.

Lapbook Context and History

Lapbook: Contexto e Historia
Lapbook Context and History

To define the context and history of the lapbook we will talk about Pablo Hermoso in his published article called Dictalia defined the lapbook as a plastic practice. That is to say, something like a folding support made in cardboard or cardboard that serves to expose a topic.

The trend of lapbook use developed very effectively in American schools. In countries like the United States, it is something that is fashionable to the order of the day and is successfully applied to their students, and even becomes a business for many teachers who make lapbook templates and sell them over the Internet.

The aim of this practice is for students to learn how to organize and distribute information by means of different supports through diagrams, photos, drawings or any fold-out facilitating communication. This technique has its origin in the famous pop-up books that we have all seen once, those that open and unfold.

The trend in the use of lapbook educational material is deeply rooted within American schools. In Spain it appeared a few years after the hand of homeschoolings, which are all those people or parents who decide to teach their children at home. One of the major key factors is the dedication and personalization of learning so that these tools emerge as a response to the manipulation of content.

What is a Lapbook: Tool or Methodology?

¿Qué es un Lapbook?: ¿Herramienta o Metodología?
What is a Lapbook: Tool or Methodology?

Let’s start with the question, is there a methodology for using the lapbook? Some say there is. Lapbooks can be used as a tool that allows you to work with a lot of content in class.

With the passing of the school year, students’ notebooks become boring and tedious, full of exercises, of yellow quadrinettes copied, of dictations… always the same. Lapbooks can be applied as unitary and independent elements, or perhaps as a way of creating a support in which children can gather all the information in a fun and pleasant way, in this way when they study and review their lapbook the experience is totally interactive… because they interact with their notebook! In this way we are turning the lapbook into a method that we can use day by day.


Curriculum and Lapbooks

El currículo y los Lapbook
El currículo y los Lapbook

This tool is so flexible that it can be adapted to any circumstance and any content, to any group and at any time. In this chapter we are going to see what is the possibility of incursion and relation that there is between the Lapbooks and the school curriculum.
We all know that the curriculum is a closed and very concrete element that we in the classroom must adapt to the needs of our students. It is there, in that moment, in that adaptation where Lapbooks can play a very important role as an emphasized element of learning, as an evaluation tool or as a system that will allow us to treat the information.

We found 4 types of applications for laptops:

  • As a content developer.
  • (Methodology)As an information management system.
  • (Methodology)As a competence element.
  • (Competences)As an evaluation instrument. (Evaluation)

Next we will see to what extent each of them acts in the development and implementation of the Lapbooks, always bearing in mind that it can be for any level of Primary Education.

As a content developer element

The methodological power of Lapbooks as educational material is very great. In itself it can constitute an own methodology that has some principles and some strategies, because it is a procedure that allows us to work a certain content or to develop some precise learning.
It is a safe bet in any of the curricular areas, and it can be a means to get students to integrate a concept or content in which they present difficulties in an attractive and playful way.

As an information management system

Lapbooks, being a manipulative tool, allow to manage the information, to manipulate the content, this makes it another strong point to constitute a methodology. Lapbooks allow to carry out an investigation, an analysis of the information. This system allows to work:

  • The treatment of the information received in the teaching explanations and in the textbook.
  • Discriminating between main ideas and secondary ideas.
  • Learn to locate information in different media.
  • Work on creativity.

As an element of competence

This system also includes a clear treatment of key competences. Through the manipulation and processing of information and texts we are working on Linguistic Competence, but it also leads us to work on others as important as Learning to Learn. In this sense, the student has to decide what information he is going to include, how he wants to include it and why he is going to include it. He or she sets in motion the mental mechanisms necessary to be able to capture the learning he or she has carried out and carries out his or her own production of that learning. What’s more, we will also be working with this in terms of personal autonomy, decision making, and the concretion of actions.

As an evaluation tool

Evaluation is a process that allows us to know how the student has come to acquire and to what extent a new learning has done. The Lapbook is a tool that enhances the process evaluation because, while running the teacher can receive information through the observation of what the child is manipulating. Through the oral approach and the questions while the information is being processed, we can receive real and objective information about what the student is learning at that moment.

The relationship of Lapbooks in this sense is not arbitrary, there are many connections and we invite you to always keep in mind that every time we are putting this system into practice you think that you are developing pure curriculum.


If you still can’t imagine what a lapbook is like we recommend watching this video

Now that you know what a Lapbook is, we tell you how to do it step by step, let’s start with:


Materials for Making a Lapbook

What is a Lapbook? 5 Save What is a Lapbook? 6 Print

There are countless materials that we can use for our lapbook project, but the most common are the following:

  • Coloured cardboard for folders.
  • Foamy to make the decoration, white or colored envelopes.
  • Post it.
  • Colored folders.
  • Drawings.
  • Scissors.
  • Photographs for the topic.
  • Clips of colors or small tweezers
  • Notes paper
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Colors or markers
  • Drawings for coloring
  • Chromos
  • Deployable, etc…

Lapbook: Templates and Materials

Lapbook: Plantillas y Materiales
Lapbook: Templates and Materials

We continue to break down what Lapbooks are and today we are going to go deeper into the types of patterns we can find. We were already talking about what Lapbooks were and doing a little theoretical review of what we could find about them. Besides that we were also getting to know and calculating if a Lapbook methodology was possible.
But today we will put everything, as we said before, in the materials and types of templates that we can use in this task. Being a creative activity there are an infinite number of options to create templates to condense the content, but in this case we wanted to do a review of those basic mechanisms that can help us improve. Before starting with all this it is necessary to define, and have very clear those terms that we are going to need to manage to continue understanding this methodology better.

Templates and Gadgets

Let’s start with the first thing and that will occupy all the attention of this chapter which are: the templates and the gadgets. In the Lapbook methodology a Template is defined as: “The support that picks up the pattern, the model or the development of the device to be able to develop the treatment of the theoretical information. They may sometimes contain assembly instructions.
On the other hand, the Gadget is: “Product or final element obtained after assembling the template and where the theoretical information that is being worked on at that moment is captured.
Next we see the difference: to the left we have the template and to the right the assembled contraption.

Plantillas y Artilugios
Templates and Gadgets for lapbooks

Let’s now talk about the three types of templates lapbooks types that we can find:

  • Basic templates: These can be used for any type of content. They are adapted including the desired information and adapting them with decorations or other elements.
  • Adapted templates: These can be found exclusively designed for a specific content.
  • Organizational templates: These are used to organize the notebook.

Basic lapbook templates

Let’s start with the basics. Within the basic templates we will find a lot of options. These templates have one common feature and that is that they can be customized for any content that you need to do, in any area, in any circumstance and at any time. The success of its application depends a lot on the criteria that the teacher has to choose the type of template you want to use, ie, it is very important that the template fits in substance and form to the content we are working on in the classroom. You always have to look for certainty, aesthetics and harmony and that starts with the choice of the template.

The basic templates are divided into several types, let’s see the most common and their characteristics:

  • Deployable: They are those that allow to locate the information in such a way that when pulling an initial tab all the content is displayed in the form of strip. Each of the sides of the strip can be used to classify various aspects of a topic. For example: lists, characteristics of an element, sequences, timelines, procedures to perform operations. Deployables can have as many spaces as needed since they are folded into an accordion shape and the space they occupy in the notebook is minimal.
Plantillas Basicas Desplegables Lapbook
Basic Lapbook Deployable Templates
  • Flowers: They are those that as their name indicates resemble a flower. Each one of the petals serves to locate an element that is related to the central part. In this visual way the student can see how the contents of the petals correlate with the element of the center. The flower is always kept in the closed notebook and it is the petals themselves that serve as a hook so that they do not open. This template can be used to perform for example: operations and results, combinations, characteristics of an element, procedures, lists…
Plantillas Basicas Desplegables Flores Lapbook
Basic Stencils Unfoldable Flowers Lapbook
  • Pockets: They are a gadget that allows to locate within them cards with varied information. If we see that the information of a topic is extensive and we prefer to work the summary or the scheme we can always keep it in an attractive way with a pocket. The pocket is decorated on the front side with motifs related to the theme and then the side tabs are folded to glue on the pages of the notebook. They are very useful for summaries, diagrams or complex texts that are difficult to synthesize.
Plantillas Basicas Desplegables Bolsillos Lapbook
Plantillas Basicas Desplegables Bolsillos Lapbook
  • Books: They are templates that allow you to create small books inside the notebook. In this way we can include the information to turn pages. In my opinion it is not very effective, because we already have other templates that can do this function, but it can be used to give a touch to other work or do something special any day.
  • Lists: They are the most used. They are very visual and allow the information to be collected in a complete picture. They can be divided into several columns of which one of them will always have small tabs that will move in the form of a hinge. They are used to classify elements, lists and characteristics or also to include examples under each of the tabs. Imagine that we want to work the seasons of the year.
Plantillas Basicas Desplegables Libros y Listas Lapbook
Basic Templates Unfoldable Books and Lapbook Lists
  • Keyrings: These collect information in various individual pieces that are usually connected to each other by a butterfly binder. These devices can then be included either in a pocket like the ones we have seen above or with a small thread to the spiral of the notebook.
Plantillas Basicas Desplegables Llaveros Lapbook
Basic Stencils Unfoldable Lapbook Keyrings
  • Circles: They are mobile tools that are built just like key rings with a fastenes in the shape of a butterfly. There are many types, they are elaborated and it is necessary to dedicate time to them, but their result is incredible.
Plantillas Basicas Desplegables Ruedas Lapbook
Basic Stencils Unfoldable Lapbook Wheels
  • Conceptual maps: Following the line of the list templates, we find others like this one which is a Venn diagram that allows to work several common and different aspects. Very useful these templates!
Plantillas Basicas Desplegables Mapas Conceptuales Lapbook
Basic Templates Deployable Conceptual Maps Lapbook


Organizational Templates

When we start using the Lapbook methodology, the notebook becomes a fascinating element, so it is necessary to have it well organized. You can always use some templates that help us structure the content and materials. These templates allow the student to have the elements of the notebook organized during the execution of the notebook and also to organize the content that is being created.

What is a Lapbook? 7
Example of an organizational template to include an index in the notebook

Adapted templates

As for the adapted templates, the world of possibilities that opens up is immense, if not infinite. We find templates of many things. We invite you to browse our Lapbook section to discover all we have.

What is a Lapbook? 8
Example of a template adapted for polygons

Have you seen that there is a great variety of lapbook templates? and that the important thing is that the teacher chooses the template when adjusting it to the subject. It is very important that when choosing we take into account:

  1. – Items that we are going to expose in the template.
  2. – Avoid empty spaces.
  3. – Take into account the space to define terms.
  4. – Take into account space to exemplify contents.
  5. – Adjust to the area, theme and context.
  6. – Adjust to students’ fine motor skills.
  7. – Understand that it is one more resource and not a substitute for a teacher’s explanation.
  8. – Must integrate, synthesize theory and learning not develop it.

Other materials for making lapbooks

Other materials that can be used for the elaboration of the gadgets are the following:

  • Binders: These are mainly used to make wheel templates. These bookbinders, specifically the butterfly ones, give some volume to the notebook and it is necessary to use them only in very specific cases.
  • Metallic clips: The most common ones can be a perfect ally to keep some elements fixed such as cards in the pockets.
  • Adhesive tape: When the glue is not enough or we want to reinforce a part of some contraption that is badly attached we can use transparent adhesive tape.
  • Coloured pencils, waxes and coloured pens: It is advisable to leave children free with these three elements.
  • Fluorescent NO:Just as I leave pens in my case, I do not choose to let them use fluorescent markers, as it greatly reduces the positive and creative effect of the Lapbook. We don’t usually use common markers either because it goes through.

It should be borne in mind that we must use materials with volume at specific times because as the course progresses the notebook becomes thicker and materials such as bookbinders or clips are to blame for this.

Process for making a lapbook

What is a Lapbook? 9

  1. We must take a cardboard and fold it as shown in the image or use directly a folding file folder in this way as well. The color of the cardboard is free, of course.
  2. Here we show the closed folder.
    The part with the “door” will be the one that we will use of cover. We will have to use images and striking letters so that the content can be easily identified.
    We will keep it closed once finished and will occupy very little space on our shelf.
  3. This is our open lapbook, the internal part will be used to fill it with resources related to the chosen theme, photos, drawings, additional tabs, sticky envelopes …

What is a Lapbook? 10

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What is a Lapbook? 13


How to make a lapbook step by step. Tutorial

In this tutorial I will explain how to make a lapbook step by step so that you can replicate it with your students, I hope and these guidelines can serve as guidance for your projects.
These are the materials we can use

What is a Lapbook? 14

As you can see in the picture we need the following material:


What is a Lapbook? 5 Save What is a Lapbook? 6 Print
Coloured cardboards for making folders

  • Foamy for decoration
  • Envelopes that can be white or colored
  • Post it
  • Coloured foils
  • Drawings and photographs on the subject
  • Colored clips
  • Notepaper
  • Stapler
  • Ointment or glue
    and anything else we can think of during the process of making a children’s lapbook.

What is a Lapbook? 17 What is a Lapbook? 18


¿Cómo hacer la carpHow to make the folder that will contain the information?eta que contendrá la información?

  • First we fold the cardboard but not just in half. Leave one side a few cm longer than the other.

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  • More or less towards the middle of the card on the side that opens, if we pay attention we must make small marks with the pencil as you see in the drawing.

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  • Lift the first part of the card and cut the two strips from the signs to the ends, leaving in the center that little tab you see.

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  • Now we open the whole cardboard and cut the tab to the part underneath.

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  • When you open the cardboard, it will look as shown in the drawing, a sort of classifier.

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  • Now we fold the cardboard so that two overlapping flaps appear on the front and we mark the fold very well.

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  • With this we already have the support of our project.

Now, it is very important to emphasize and pay attention to the subject we are going to work on, what things we want to put, what drawings, what photos we have, stickers … we must look for information on the subject in our school book or in the computer media in case we find something that may interest us and that we want to contribute. When we already have an idea of what we want to put, without sticking anything even on the cardboard, we make an imaginary distribution to know that we can fit everything.

  • In the case of this example, the students are going to work on the theme “Animals”, so we thought it might be a good idea to put an envelope where they could put photos that they have ever taken with animals, or photos of animals that were cut from magazines, stickers or letters. It must be glued with zeal because it may carry some weight and later on I will put a clip so that it remains well closed as if it contained our most precious treasure.

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  • In the other corner of the folder, a pile of small leaves has been placed, it is a coloured sheet that I have cut into 4 parts each one, and above it I have also fixed them with heat, so that they can go up and see what is underneath. It is intended that students draw pictures of wild and domestic animals and name them.

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  • As the subject is animals and we have seen the classification of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians with their basic characteristics, five small sheets of a notepad have been placed in the main part where the fundamental information of the subject should be exposed. In them they will write what they know about these animals, what has been learned during the topics.

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  • I have printed a coloring drawing of each student in the animal groups and pasted it into its corresponding category – then the children must color it.

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  • Now in the colored folios I have taken out the templates of the drawings that come in Word or in internet.

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  • They are trimmed and placed on the flaps of the folder. I have put one with a photo of a puppy and another with the animal that I would like to be or my favorite animal. Everyone can put the one they want.

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  • On the right side, I notice that it remains empty, so I have put a folded folio as if it were another small carpetite that I have dedicated to the care that should be taken with pets or wild animals or anything else that had occurred to me.

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  • Let’s see how it goes:

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  • As at the moment I don’t want to recharge the information too much and I want it to be visually clear, I decided to leave it that way inside. Let’s go to the outside.
  • The front of a lapbook is very important to be able to save and classify them, so the title has to be very clear or to put some drawings allusive to the subject, that are so evident that it is clear with a single look. It can be filled with animal stickers of those who now sell in the store or as we like.
  • I have used the foamy or eva gum and I have drawn some hearts and some flowers, I have cut them, and I have put the title.

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  • Let’s see the result of our lapbook not made, but already organized.

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  • And lastly, each student, once they have made their small lapbook, should explain it to the whole class, telling us why they have done everything.

It is important to remember that a lapbook works the competences of autonomy and personal initiative, information processing and digital competence, as well as that of learning to learn, fundamentally. Afterwards, the exhibition will focus on linguistic competence.


Here are some examples of lapbooks or ideas for lapbooks.


We also share some templates for lapbook or lapbook templates:


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