I've been asked several times in the last few days about how I come about designing some the lapbooks I've designed. Here's my advice for starting lapbooking.
Step 1: Choose a specific topic - this is important, for me it's hard to remember to be really specific, I get too general then the lapbook becomes a huge encyclopedia in which I end up doing most of the work.
Step 2: Search for pre-made tools. For this, here is the order of my search:
Ask & Google: for the premade lapbooks (free). So I'll search for Bumble Bee Lap Books and it will list any resources (like blogs and such) that might be available.
Search for ClipArt: again I'm a cheap-o so I search for free clipart that would go with this topic....like when we did the Good Night Moon topic I searched for pics that went with he book (baloons, moons, clocks, socks, etc)
Search for Worksheets, Printables and Mini-Books in this topic.
Search for Coloring Sheets in this topic (we use these to decorate the lapbook.)
Step 3: Plan the flow of the book. Generally speaking there are 2 main lapbooks then a mini-office.
Preschool, or short lapbook: this uses only 1 file folder. I've folded them a couple of ways but the most popular is to open the folder wide, then fold in each side toward the middle making the book open in the center.
Double Lapbook: this uses 2 file folders. You could again glue this a few different ways. I've:
Made a Mini-Book: in this I used a stripe of glue down the spine of a folder and just placed another folder within, so that you have a few pages to work with. I think this gives you the most sq. inches to work with.
Just a bit less of a mini-book: in this one you leave the folders just as they are and apply glue to the back side of one folder and stick the front side of the other folder to it, this makes a 3 sheet booklet.
Extra Flaps: This allows you to see more info at once. You fold the folder like you would for a single flapbook (open it wide then fold in the ends). Then you do the same with folder #2. Glue the back side of one of the little flaps to the front side of one of the little flaps of the second folder.
Mini-Office: This is the King of Lapbooks. Its a lapbook that requires 3 or more folders glued back to back, when unfolded you child can set it around their workstation like a cubicle.
Step 4: Plan of Action. Now you need to think about the flow of your story - your book. The front page can be reserved like a title page - I usually do this with the larger lapbooks. Then you place all your tidbits inside. Or you can use the front cover as the intro - I usually do this for the smaller lapbooks, like individual states. I'll place the state flag, flower, etc on the front cover as these are good identifiers of the state so a title page isn't needed.
Then I open the folder and just look for a moment. Do I want to add a flip-book of worksheets? Are there mini-books (small worksheets) in this topic available so I don't need to take up as much space? etc....
This is where creativity comes in...try to think of things they can come back and use - like hand made games and such....I've even made a shoot's and ladders type of game for my preschooler on the topic of the elections..lol..
Step 5: Are there any books available in this topic that you hope to use? Any short stories or poems? If so then this is another means of filling the lapbook. For instance, when learning about Christmas we used "The 12 Days of Christmas" song and "The Night Before Christmas" book and filled the lapbook with these.
Step 6: Cut out all your little tid-bits that you found in your searches. I usually do all the cutting and like 99% of the gluing just for sake of time - my kids tend to make a lapbook in a day as they are already mostly put together the kids just have to fill them in....but I know many mom's who have the kids work on one little piece a day...I would lose the pieces or forget what I was hoping to do..lol..
Step 7: HAVE FUN!! Lapbooking is a way for your child to learn and teach....my son LOVES teaching his dad when he gets home from work. My DH sits on the couch and my son goes over the lapbook with him.