03 December 2012

The How-To-Lapbook and Our Bird Lapbook

The little ones was asking me about birds, nests and eggs some time ago. When we drove past thorn trees on our way home, shortly there after, David and Andrew kept asking questions about the how, where and why of nests and birds. 

This keen interest they took in birds sparked me to let them study birds and compile the information in a lapbook.

I got beautifully illustrated books from the library and used them to guide me in planning the lapbook.

The books I got:

Voëls vir Beginners in Suider Afrika

Voëls van Suider Afrika

The Life Circle of Birds 

Learn About Birds

We focused on:

The characteristics of a bird
Different feathers;
The life cycle of a bird;
What birds feed on;
Different birds, different beaks;
What do birds use to build a nest;
Different bird nests;
Habitat of birds;
Endangered birds.

Obviously there were much more I could teach them, but I decided these were enough for now.  

They each connected the dots to form a bird and then coloured it. We also talked about the parts of the bird - the beak, feathers, legs and claws.

We went with CJ to the horse farm and collected feathers while studying the different feathers. Since then they do not miss a feather at any given moment in time, at any place and would compete with each other who shout out first what kind of feather they picked up.

I tried to use interesting folds to illustrate the life cycle of a bird, 

the stages through which the egg go while hatching 

and how the baby bird developed.

Then we studied what birds feed on and how that influence the bird’s beak.

We categorized bird’s feeding into 6 groups: Nectar, insects, seeds, fruit, fish and prey eating birds. 

It was amazing how they, afterwards, were able to categorize any bird and its feeding just by looking at its beak and how they felt empowered by their knowledge.

We studied bird nests and what common material birds used to build a nest.

When looked into how different birds would build varying nests to suit their needs. 

We made eatable bird nests from marshmallows, butter, cornflakes and coconut.  They enjoyed it so much and talked for days about the fun they had.

Then one bright, sunny, winter morning, following a stormy weekend, David discovered an abandoned cup nest and woven nest next to our conifer trees. 

At first they were overwhelmed to be able to investigate the nests, then it dawned on them that it was the home of a bird, destroyed by the weekend’s storm and they were saddened. 

But shortly after they discovered another nest, this time in the passion fruit bush next to our home.  On top of it there were baby birds in the nest! They discovered the nest, by observing the one parent bird flying into the bush with a worm hanging from it’s beak!  Over the next week or two they had the privilege to witness the growth of the little baby birds and eventually leaving the nest.

 It was interesting to them that the parent birds abandoned the nest, after the babies left the nest.

As a final activity we looked at what kind of birds would live in different habitats, taking into account their beaks and preferable feeding, as well as their nests.  They absolutely loved identifying the birds for different habitats. 

We looked at 8 different habitats: 

Fynbos (since we live in the Cape), 

The forest,

fresh water, 

sea and coast,

The desert,


The Karoo

And common birds in the City

I kept the fold with beaks and feeding next to them, while identifying the birds. 

 It was so exciting to see them identify a bird, on behalf of its beak, feeding and habitat.

Lastly we looked at four endangered birds and why birds are becoming extinct. 

It made a very strong impression on Andrew, and currently he is convinced his calling in life is to stop people who cause birds to become extinct. We also did a field trip to SANCCOP and they loved to see the penguins and different sea birds so close up. 

They also had many days painting different kinds of birds.

I was pleasantly surprised by the learning that took place while doing the bird lapbook. At the end of the day they would narrate the day’s teaching with much excitement to daddy.

They remember every piece of detail, while working on the different folds and their level of attentiveness to birds and nests convinced me yet again that lapbooking is one of the best ways of making learning fun, exciting and effective for little ones.

Compiling a lapbook from scratch can be overwhelming. Since putting a lapbook together is hard work and takes many hours, I have a few things I do and keep in mind while in the planning process, to make it a success.

The Planning Process:

I mostly do lapbooks with my younger children 10 years and younger and let their interests guide me when choosing the theme of the lapbook.

The different kinds of folds you use in a lapbook makes the lapbook interesting, so I try to use as many different folds as possible. Here you will find 100 pages of FREE Lapbook Templates you can type on!  

I will search the internet for lapbooks with similar themes, by making use of PinterestI will pin the different folds suggested to illustrate facts on a theme, on a board, for future inspiration and reference.  

The more you look at other lapbooks, the more creative your lapbooks become. Here you will find a master list of Free Lapbooks!

Get as many books on your lapbook theme at your local library and your personal library as possible. I then scan these books and put together a draft on what I want my children to learn through this lapbook. Since I’m a very detailed person, I constantly have to remind myself this is for little ones, and they DO NOT have to know everything there is to know about the theme.  Keep it simple, short, colourful and interesting.  

Let your children be involved in as many different activities related to the theme as possible. Not all lapbooks render itself to multiple activities, but if possible, the learning experience will just be some much more powerful.  I remember doing the farm animal lapbook with my children. Oh, we did lots of extra activities! 

One is not always able to capture all these activities in the lapbook, but they remember each activity as soon as they start paging through their lapbooks.

Pitfalls while busy with a lapbook:

Do not let the lapbook take weeks to finish.  I want it to be so interesting and packed with information, and as a result it can take me days to put together a specific activity/fold and the children will get frustrated and loose interest. Keep it short simple.

As soon as I think I’m finished with a lapbook, I get an idea for yet another activity. In the process the lapbook don’t get to be finished.  For this reason it is vital for me to put together a draft of what I want my children to know, and put together a lay-out of the lapbook before hand. I then discipline myself to stay with the lay-out and get the lapbook done.

Books that helped me:

The Ultimiate Lap Book handbook, by Tammy Duby and Cyndy Regeling;
Dinah Zike’s Big Book of Projects, by Dinah Zike;
Big Book of Books and Activities also by Dinah Zike.

What Other Homeschooling Mothers did:

Since I’m hosting the November Homeschool Blog Carnival with the theme Lapbooks, I’m so excited to share with you more ideas on Lapbooks, contributed by other Homeschooling Mothers

Donette Bell from The Journey did a small lapbook a while ago: Basic South African Lapbook for her preschooler.

Nadene Esterhuizen from Practical Pages (and this blog is packed with practical pages about homeschooling) shares her latest FREE lapbook - Parables.

Nadene also shares Time-saving tips for doing lapbooks. She finds this method makes lapbook time so quick and simple. 

 Here are photos and suggestions for how Nadene store their lapbooks. 

And here Nadene shared some template posts

Taryn Hayes from Hayes Happenings encouraged her children to make an Alpaca Lapbook after visiting an Alpaca Farm in the Western Cape and received snippets of alpaca fibre and yarn to take home, along with a little fact sheet. This was a first for the Hayes children and they were very proud with there finished products.

Elize Van Der Merwe who blogs at BEARAKADEMIE shares a post on their first proper lapbook. Here follows the short story on the creation of their Creation Lapbook, which they all enjoyed doing in the end! 

This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers (SACH Bloggers) where South African homeschoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more.  You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page. 
We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we and may all these amazing ideas and tips, inspire and motivate you for your next lapbook.

With love


Anonymous said...

Daar raak ek skoon benoud by aanskoue van julle gevorderde voëls skootboek! Sjoe, dit is baie oulik.

Baie dankie aan jou en die ander TO ma's vir al die raad en advies, ek het noukeurige notas gemaak vir ons volgende probeerslag.

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Oh my Linnie that bird lapbook is fantastic and it looks like they had so much fun! Their Heavenly Father was also so good to provide you with the nest and the discovery of the babies in the vine.

Shells said...

Lovely lap book, we are always identifying birds and my little one is always bringing me feathers, so aim going to mark this to do early next year - fantastic. Thank you for sharing. Xxx

Huisvrou said...

Ek verloor net daar... Want ek kan te diep en te veel en nog en nog... en die kinders raak verveeld. En ja, ek boer weke op 'n loerboekie.

Ai toggie

taryn hayes said...

lovely Linnie! thank you for sharing and for hosting this carnival! Very exciting stuff!

Jenni C's said...

Lovely, bird lapbook, i have never made one with my children, with all this info i think, i will start next year with one...

Anonymous said...

Linnie, mag ek maar jou idees oor hoe om die inligting aangaande snawels, kos, vere, ens. oor te dra, amper net so gebruik in ons skootboek? Wel eintlik as riglyn gebruik...

Linnie said...

Jy is meer as welkom! Geniet dit!

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