The following is a post from contributing writer, Julianna, of Petunia June.
When my younger children were in their preschool years, they really wanted to “do school” like their older siblings. Our budget was very limited, however, so buying curriculum for the early years seemed unwise (if not impossible). Necessity being the mother of invention, I searched for a way to incorporate the main subjects in an engaging, memorable way for my little ones.
The result? ABC lapbooks! Each book is devoted to one letter of the alphabet. We made books for the letters A through E. (I’m sure my original goal was to cover the entire alphabet, which could be a great year-long project!)
Among the pages of the books are pictures, drawings or narrations that correlate with different subjects. Our books focus on family, literature, handwriting, geography, poetry, science, reading and Bible (in their most basic forms).
For example, while we created the “D” book (which we did over the course of about one week), we followed this format, including as many “D” items as we could:
Family: Our “family” page includes a picture of our daughter’s “Doughnut date with Daddy.”
Literature: We read Dandelion every day of the week (this is similar to the Five in a Row approach). I included my child’s one sentence summary of the story next to a coloring page of the main character.
Handwriting: I pasted handwriting paper on one of the pages so my child could practice writing (or tracing) upper and lower case letters.
Geography: We printed a map with a closeup of Denmark and added it to the book. We also practiced finding it on the globe and world map.
Poetry: I found a “D” poem, typed it out and added it to our book. Our “D” poem was William Wordsworth’s “The Daffodils,” which my child then colored or illustrated.
Science: In this case, “science” is boiled down to very basic zoology: we simply found an animal picture to print and color. Our “D” animal was dolphin. To extend this activity, we looked for library books on dolphins.
Reading: I found a simple picture online to print and color. I then added a sentence that my child could read (or learn to read) on their own. For example, a “D” page might read, “The dog has a dish.”
Bible: The back cover of our book features the letter “D” along with a corresponding Bible verse: “He will take great delight in you.” Zeph. 3:17
My daughter, who has long since outgrown the actual content of her books, still loves to look back through and enjoy her very own little books with pride and fondness.
Here’s how you and your child can make your own ABC lapbook:
1. Cut two manilla envelopes in half, along the width. You will end up with four mini folders.
2. Nestle and then glue the halves together to create one complete book. There will be five pages all together, including the front and back covers. I rounded the corners to give the book a softer look:
3. Decorate the cover of your lapbook, featuring whichever letter of the alphabet this particular book will be devoted to. We used construction paper as the base (also with rounded corners), and added magazine letters and pictures according to the appropriate letter. For example, the “D” book features a picture of a doll with a dozen cut-out “d’s” surrounding it.
4. Start learning! Fill in the pages of your lapbook as you and your child focus on that week’s letter.
Of course you don’t need to limit yourself to the suggestions here. You and your child can run with the idea and tailor it to fit your child’s interests and your family’s own personality. Have fun, and be prepared to hang on to these simple yet engaging little booklets for a long time. Your child will treasure them for years to come.
Julianna writes about family, faith and the fullness of joy over at Petunia June.