Time-Saving Tips for Doing Lapbooks

We regularly do lapbooks!

love organization.  I like efficiency.  I love getting to the fun part of writing in the minibooks without fuss and time-wasting.

But what you see in the photo above is NOT practical!

If we had to cut and fold and paste minibooks for each lesson, I would have given up lapbooks long ago.

I have found a wonderful way to prepare our lapbooks in advance, especially if you use several lapbooks regularly in your school week.

Let me share some of our time-saving tips:

1. Download and save your lapbook.

  • Save a back-up of your lapbook download on a memory stick/CD/ EHD (External Hard Drive)

2. Print out the minibooks, index and instructions.

  • I like to print the next project a few weeks ahead of my schedule.
  • Place the index, instructions and the printed pages in a plastic page protector and store these pages with the lapbook minibook pages until you have time to do number 3.

OR go straight ahead and …

3.  Spend one afternoon cutting out and stapling, folding and assembling each minibook.

  • I cut my 2 kids’ copies together to save time.  This usually takes one afternoon.
  • Or the kiddies can cut out minibooks for you.  They need all the cutting practice they can get!
  • We listen to a a read aloud or audio books while we are busy snipping and folding.
  • Use this master template to make your own stash of minibooks!.

4.  Store the folded minibooks in a Ziploc bag for each child (until you get time to do number 5).

(Check out Jimmie’s Collage – where I first saw this idea.)

Here is my problem ~  Stored minibooks are easily muddled and we waste time searching through them to complete the activity for that lesson, so this is a temporary storage.

Here are some other practical problems~

  • I paper-clipped the new minibooks together for each chapter, but the paper clips sometimes fall off.
  • Completed minibooks get muddled among the new minibooks, so I try store them separately.
  • So this is why the next step of pasting all the minibooks into the file folder before we start has saved us from lost and muddled minibooks and senseless time-wasting searches.

5.   IMPORTANT –  PASTE all the new minibooks in their file folders BEFORE you even start your lapbook!

  • Place the minibooks according to the recommended layout according to the instruction page, or according to sequence of the work.
  • The kids do an excellent job placing the minibooks on their own.  They shift and arrange the minibooks until they are happy with the layout.  A random layout has never been a problem.
  • They choose where they want to fix the extra cardboard flap or file folder if they need extra space.
  • We glue all the minibooks down.
  • This pasting stage gives the children an “overview” of the lapbook. They have a good idea of what they will cover.  It helps them find the correct minibook when I read or they research.
  • Note – When working on a lapbook and a child makes a complete mess of a minibook, simply cut out a paper to fit over the writing and cover the errors, if that is a concern for you or your child.  This has happened only once or twice in all our years of lapbooking.

6.  Duct tape the side of the lapbook and punch it if you want to store the lapbook in a ring-binder/ work file while you are working on the lapbook.

  • I love this method of storage.  It makes the lapbook part of our daily file work.
  • Trim the top of the file folders so that the lapbook to fit in the ringbinder/ file.  Check how we do this here.
  • When the lapbook is complete, it is easily filed with other lapbooks.
Duct tape on front of lapbook

Duct tape on front of lapbook

Fold over and stick duct tape to back of lapbook

Fold over and stick duct tape to back of lapbook creating a strip of folded duct tape

Punch holes into duct tape

Punch holes into the folded duct tape strip

7.  Now we are ready to start!

  • It only takes a moment to open the lapbook, glance over the minibook titles to find the current booklet.
  • The children can write in their minibooks and the job is complete.
  • Read Mom – Narration Scribe for ideas to help your young children write their narrations.
  • You’ll notice my young child copying over the pencil writing.  She had just started using cursive and wanted to master it in all her written work.  This made writing her narrations extra hard and slow, so I pencilled in her dictated narrations and she copied over it in pen. Boy, was she proud of her work!

There you have it – lapbooks quick and ready!

Hope this encourages you.  Lapbooks are the most fun activities in our homeschooling! 🙂

What tips do you have?

Blessings, Nadene

17 thoughts on “Time-Saving Tips for Doing Lapbooks

  1. Pingback: Lapbook planning tips | Practical Pages

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  4. Hi Nadene, I’m trying to figure out how you fold your lapbooks and can’t seem to understand the pictures. We have only completed one lap book using the 2 file folder method (and I didn’t enjoy it, but my children loved it, so I want to give it another go!), but I can’t figure out how we would put those in a binder. It looks like you just use 1 folder, but do you staple pages in the middle section, or 3 hole punch each page? Does the binder allow you to open the lapbook to show or is that simply for storing each lapbook? Again… sorry for my slow learning curve! 🙂


  5. Nadene, thank you once again for amazing help and advice. I will definitely come back again and again until we master this “lapbook” thing.


  6. Pingback: American Revolution Lapbook « Practical Pages

  7. So glad that you left a comment for me and I was able to find your site. I love it already and am going to spend an evening this week reading back through older posts. Thank you so much for sharing such useful information. We are working on two different lapbooks right now and these tips would be helpful. I have been finding them time consuming while we are all trying to cut and paste (especially for my five year olds) so I will be using your method.


  8. We all have different styles. I appreciate your sharing your method. That’s how people develop their own style — trying various things and seeing what works.

    It works for us (usually) to have a set of pre-made books. But just this week, we did have to make some fresh books because the ones we had didn’t match the desired color scheme. 🙂 No problem. We can pull down the cutter and make more.

    We could never stick the minibooks in the base BEFOREHAND. We are too changable. We always think of something new to add or something to modify. But again, since it works for you, FANTASTIC! I’m sure it will help others to see this option.


  9. Have you thought of using something like a coupon organizer for holding your mini books before they get put in the lapbook. You could seperate them that way and they wouldnt get mixed up. The accordian kind can hold quite a bit and they are compact.Just an idea.


  10. We couldn’t stand cutting them all out at once. To me that’s a waste of time. We like cutting them out one piece at a time. It gives an activity of sorts to the history/science lesson or whatever. To us, cutting all at once, or gluing all at once is time consuming and boring.

    I do print out the whole thing in advance and keep it in an expandable paper holder. Then I just give my kids their piece for the day, the sheet or the part of a sheet that it is on. Then it goes right onto the lapbook so they are all collected in one place.


  11. I came here from your comment on Sorta Crunchy (or Simple Mom…?) and I’m so glad I did! What a gold mine resource for homeschooling moms. I’m in the midst of a homeschooling tips series and I will definitely include a link to this. Lapbooks are such a great source for so many skills – summarizing, reviewing,…showing off! 🙂

    The only thing I’ve done differently is not to glue the mini-books in before we complete them. My girls cry big alligator tears when they mess up and it’s already glued in – and my boys don’t always have the dexterity to work with the book unless it’s separate (and movable….like them 🙂

    Thanks for offering such a practical site. This is my 28th year of home education and I’m still learning 🙂


  12. Nadene, This is fabulous! Wish you were around when I started doing lapbooks 10 years ago! About Step #6… it did not come through to my e-mail, so I came directly here to your site. It does not show here either. The ‘snap preview’ just reads an error 404 on the 2 pictures. Maybe you could send them to me? This slow internet again….lol



  13. I have noticed that my daughter likes making lapbooks, but that reading and researching takes up most time. I do not complain over this. I let her read and research. We talk, we color, we read and that I think is okay enough. If, in the end, we manage to make 2 nice looking pages, I am happy. If nothing, fine as well. As long as there has been joyful learning, I am content.
    Thank you for your time-wise advice.


    • Paula, I agree, the joy of learning is more important than the perfect project or lapbook. I prefer quality over quantity; rather 2 lovely pages done with enjoyment than a whole lapbook with moaning and pressure.


  14. Love this post — just started doing lap books 6 months ago and have been trying to find ways to speed up the process so the kids don’t get frustrated and bored with all the cutting and pasting. Love the ideas going to implement a few on our next lapbook.


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