Making a Lap Book Folder

Lap book folders (also known as portfolders and shutterfolders) seem to be the hot new thing in homeschooling. They are easy to expand, and can be used for any and all subjects. The only real limitation is your own creativity! Lap book folders are a great way to handle a unit study, because the creation of one encompasses lots of subjects: not only are you learning the information, but you need to use writing, English, art and sometimes math to create the folder.

Lap Book FolderA beginning lap book folder is very simple to make. Just take one regular manila folder and lay it open in front of you. Pick up the left and right edges and bring them in toward the middle fold. (Highlighted in black in the picture.) Fold them down and smooth down the creases. You should now have something that resembles a side-by-side refrigerator.

What do with it now? Why, anything you want! Fill your folder with pictures, mini-books filled with information, charts, step-fold booklets, maps, pockets, pop-ups and more. Anything and everything related to the subject of your folder can fit in a variety of ways. When you finish filling the inside, make sure to decorate or at least label the outside so you can tell at a glance what is inside in each folder.

To make larger lap book folders, you can do two things. First, if you just want a little more room, just get some legal-sized folders — those are longer than standard folders, so they have more surface area. If you need even more room, make two folders, then glue the right "door" of one to the left "door" of the second to make a double-width folder. Alternatively, you could just glue the backs of two folders together and make it double-sided.

There are lots of lap book folder ideas on the internet, and there are even Yahoo Groups dedicated to the subject. I think they're great fun and a wonderful tool for reinforcing all of the information and concepts that your child is learning, as well as a much better keepsake than stacks of graded papers!

Look for future articles right here on how to make the various inside components to go inside these wonderful folders.

The Finished Product
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Lap Book Folder finished photo

--M. Ellis