As a homeschool mom who does not fancy herself to be crafty or creative, I used to ignore lap books. Then Sonlight, in association with Amy Pak of Homeschool in the Woods, provided a lap book kit that fit well with our study of American history. So we took the plunge and gave it a try.
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What Is a Lap Book?
A lap book is a creative way of completing and storing, in flap-book form, several hands-on activities based on a topic of learning. Thanks to content creators like Home School in the Woods, you can teach about almost any subject with a lap book.
I liken a lapbook to an “amusement park in a portfolio,” as once you open the cover, all kinds of colorful and unique projects await you! Once the lapbook is complete, it also makes for a piece that the child will be pleased to show to others.Amy Pak – Home School in the Woods – Why Teach with Lapbooks?
The Completed American History II Lap Book
Sonlight’s American History II Lap Book covers important events from the 1850s to the early 21st century. My 4th grader really enjoyed working on this lap book and adding to it little by little each week. He particularly liked activities that were interactive like turning a wheel to hammer in the final spike that connected the two sides of the transcontinental railroad.
Some lap book activities require the student to write about the event. Since my son did not enjoy that part of the process, we handled those activities on a case-by-case basis. I either wrote them out for him using the instruction booklet as a guide or helped him write them. Sometimes we simply skipped the written portion of an activity.
What’s in the Lap Book Kit?
The lap book kit includes almost everything required to create the lap book.
- Lap book instruction booklet
- Lap book base (the blue folder and card stock pages that hold the completed activities)
- 2 glue sticks
- A cotton ball (for The Space Race activity)
- Paper fasteners (1/2″ brads) for activities with moveable pieces like the Oklahoma Dust Bowl
- A safety pin (for the World War II – On the Home Front: Printed Propaganda activity)
- Velcro to fasten the lap book closed when completed
- 4 Dura-Lar Sheets (9″ x 12″) for some World War II map activities, the Oklahoma Dust Bowl activity, and the Blue Star Mothers activity
- A roll of double-sided sticky tape. Unfortunately, this particular tape did not adhere well, so we replaced it with a better roll of tape.
- All activities pre-printed on either card stock or copy paper with cutting instructions as necessary
You will need to have on hand the following recommended supplies to complete the activities in the kit. Fortunately, most of these are common household items.
- Clear tape
- Permanent markers (one dark color and one light color such as red and yellow for the Major Events in the Pacific Theatre During WWII activity)
- Colored pencils
- Liquid glue (to apply the cotton ball to The Space Race activity)
- Single-hole punch
- Fine-ground black pepper (for the Oklahoma Dust Bowl activity)
In addition to the recommended supplies listed above, I used a detail knife to make the intricate cuts required for the Blue Star Mothers activity. A wet-erase marker also came in handy when marking the Dura-Lar sheets for cutting.
Tips for Preparing the Lap Book Kit
Although the lap book kit is well organized, I didn’t want to have to get the box out and dig through the stack of papers every time my son worked on an activity. If you follow these three tips to prepare your lap book kit ahead of time, it will be easy to locate and work on any one of the 45 activities.
(1) Use Sheet Protectors to Organize Activity Pages
Separate out the activity pages and put them in sheet protectors. Some pages include items for multiple activities. Simply cut those pages into their individual activities, and put the cutouts into a separate sheet protector for each activity. I like to store the sheet protectors in a binder for the school year, but you can store them however you like.
(2) Measure and Cut the Dura-Lar Sheets
The American History II Lap Book kit comes with four Dura-Lar sheets that must be cut to size. To make it easier to complete the activities in the future, cut the Dura-Lar sheets ahead of time. Three of these clear plastic sheets are used with map activities for World War II. The remaining Dura-Lar sheet is large enough for the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and Blue Star Mothers activities.
(3) Use a Detail Knife to Perform Intricate Cuts
A few activities require more intricate cutting as shown below in the Blue Star Mothers activity. I used a detail knife that I already had on hand to perform the complex cut around the window curtains. While it may be possible to use scissors to cut around the curtains, the detail knife simplified this task.
Some other activities require an inner cut like the window box above, but the window curtain is the most intricate. Whether with scissors or a detail knife, go ahead and make the inner cuts required for the Carpetbaggers, Blue Star Mothers, The Space Race, and America in the Late 20th Century activities. Your student will use scissors for the remaining cuts when working on the lap book activities.
Option 1: An Open-and-Go Lap Book Kit from Sonlight
The American History II Lap Book is published by InquisiKids and sold by Sonlight. I purchased the lap book as a trial run with my oldest child. Since he enjoyed it, I plan to buy and use the lap book kit for each of my younger children. Sonlight has other lap book kits that we will likely use in the future. You can receive a $5 discount on your first Sonlight order of $50 or more with my referral code RL20403624. Or if you have a friend who uses Sonlight, ask for that friend’s referral code.
Option 2: Digital Files from Home School in the Woods
The activities used in the lap book kit were created by Amy Pak of Home School in the Woods. Although Home School in the Woods doesn’t offer an exact match of the American History II lap book, almost all activities in the kit are available as digital downloads within other products. Note that I have not purchased these specific digital files from Home School in the Woods since I bought the lap book kit from Sonlight. However, I have purchased several other digital products from Home School in the Woods.
Time Travelers: The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression
This Time Travelers history study includes more than half of the activities found in the American History II lap book kit. Some activities are an exact match, and others like Business Tycoons actually include more information. It also includes recipes, games, crafts, and 3-D projects.
Time Travelers: World War II
The Time Travelers: World War II study includes about a third of the 45 activities from the American History II lap book kit. It features many additional projects, crafts, and activities about World War II.
Hands-On History Lap-Pak: The 20th Century in America
Although The 20th Century Lap-Pak includes just two of the 45 activities from the American History lap book kit, it has numerous other projects that incorporate creative writing, coloring and drawing, research, and more.
À La Carte Options
If you want to try out a lap book activity on a smaller scale and at less expense, consider these À La Carte options.
- Originally found in Time Travelers: World War II
- Originally found in Time Travelers: The Industrial Revolution Through the Great Depression