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Thursday’s Teaching Tidbits: Lapbooks – Very Hungry Caterpillar

October 14, 2010

Let me preface this all by apologizing for the quality of the photographs. They were taken with our first generation digital camera with no flash, no megapixels, no quality 🙂 But they recorded an important factor in our preschooler’s education – Lapbooks.

Lapbooks are great creative ways to learn new material, review old material, prepare for presentation and test. Typical lapbooks are created with file folders and paper. They can be as fancy or as simple as you want to make them and can contain infinite amounts of knowledge.

For our preschoolers, we used them as part of unit studies when we were doing a Before Five in a Row type education. We’d take one book, and learn as much math, science, reading, history, geography as we could from the story, then move on to the next book the next week. There were wonderful stories for preschoolers, packed full of education and you didn’t even know it!

Very Hungry Caterpillar Lapbook for Preschoolers


Cover of our lapbook. Behind the cover of the book was a hook and loop closure since it was pretty thick and needed help staying closed. I just copied the cover of the book, mounted it to cardboard and laminated it with clear contact paper. To create the shape, I took a single file folder, opened it flat, then folded in the outer edges until they met in the middle.

Middle Panel

As you opened the lapbook, there were quite a few activities to accomplish. We’ll start with the middle panel and then move left to right. In the middle panel, we used a graduated flap book to record the days of the week. On each day, I drew something that equated to a scheduled task that day. Sunday was a church, Monday was a computer screen that meant that’s when Daddy went to work, a book for a day we did school; Tuesday had a library card for library day, etc. We would practice saying the days of the week as we lifted each flap and could sequence days out of order. The schedule helped Connor know what things happened what days (though that schedule did not work for Aiden as well since things changed by the time he was this age).

Below the week activity was a letter-sized envelope cut in half and attached which held the game pieces for our games.

Middle Panel Extended

Opening up the middle panel held a game board made from stickers from the office supply store as well as a color dot di we purchased at a school store. It was a basic game board that allowed us to review colors as well as learn basic game board play. Each of the little prompts had something to do with the story.
To achieve the extension, I gook a second file folder and cut one side to the width of the inside panel of the file folder, taped it to the upper most edge of the lapbook, so that it would lift and extend the section.

Left Panel

One the left side, we had 2 sequencing science activities. One was a foldable book that had a drawing of each stage of a caterpillars life. The 2nd was images of the sequence printed and laminated, to practice story sequencing (this happens, then the next thing happens, then the next thing happens…). The cards were stored in another half letter-sized envelope adhered to the file folder.

Right Panel

On the right panel, I used empty circles with chipboard markers (these were circles punched out of a cereal box). I would place the numbers on the circles in sequence, and remove some so that the boys would have to put numbers back in their place. It helped them learn number sequencing (what number comes next).

On the back of the file folder (a picture I forgot to take), we had a matching game. I put 2 large squares, one labeled Fruit and one labeled Vegetables. I had photos of many types of fruits and vegetables with their names on the back and laminated. They were just printed off the internet, mounted to a square of cereal box chipboard and laminated. Then the boys would practice categorizing each card – whether it was a fruit or vegetable.

We have used lapbooks in the past to learn new concepts. In the future, lapbooks will be used to review concepts learned by having the boys create lapbooks for major units of study such as a body book or a lapbook on Egypt. This way, they can review what they’ve learned, and I can assess what they’ve been able to review and gage how much has been retained. It’s a great way to reinforce learning in a hands-on way that may be difference from regular courses of study. it helps tie into every learning center in their brain!

You can get more information on Lapbooks at these websites:

Dinah Zike’s Big Book series – my favorite for general lapbook ideas and patterns

Just Call me  Jamin – pretty much all you need to know!

Other Lapbooks you might enjoy:

All the Colors of the Rainbow

Thanks to Pamela Donnis for use of her products to make the blog graphics used today!

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