{Crew Review} Dolphins, Porpoises, & Whales a Project Pack from In the Hands of a Child

Several years ago I was introduced to the idea of lap booking and the very first lap books that my daughters completed were from In the Hands of a Child (HOAC). More recently, I’ve rediscovered using lap books with Supergirl. She loves all things relating to “under the sea” so I knew she would love the Dolphins, Porpoises, & Whales Project Pack,

HOAC Review Collage

What is a Project Pack/Lap Book:

A Project Pack from HOAC includes a research guide and a set of hands on activities. According to the website, HOAC was the original lap book company! Lap books are also called project packs, shutter books, file folder games and the list goes on! HOAC defines a lapbook or project pack as:

What is a Lapbook?

  • A 3-D presentation of what the child learned during her study
  • A collection of mini books and graphic organizers pulled together into a series of file folders
  • A hands-on approach to learning, replacing worksheets or other monotonous learning tools
  • A scrapbook
  • A unit study
  • A portfolio

At HOAC a project pack comes in a variety of styles and formats such as e-book, or physical, Lapbook or Note Pack, but they all include the research guide and activities for a hands-on-learning experience.

Using a lap book from Hands of a Child:

I think there are many ways to use a project pack from using it alone as written with no extras to using it as a supplement to another curriculum with lots of flexibility for anything in-between!

Completing a lapbook requires some basic supplies such as file folders, brads, and glue.  I am particularly found of using colored paper (not construction paper but regular colored printer paper) to bring color to the black and white graphics of the activity pages. I also really love using a bonefolder tool for creating sharp, crisp folds.

Picture of supplies needed such as bonefolder, file folder and glue

We ended up not using pencils (regular or color) because the Dolphins, Porpoises & Whales lapbook included pre-written text ready to use as well as dotted text for tracing. We opted for using the pre-written text pieces.  I decided that I preferred using rubber cement to attach the file folders together and for gluing the mini-books to the folders. We loved using the glue stick to adhere the answers to the graphics.

Image of text options for lapbook


Things I really love about In the Hands of a Child Project Packs:

  • The Resource Guide ~ All the information you need for completing the activities can be found in this guide.  This also includes an alphabetical listing of the vocabulary words with their definitions.
  • The Planning Guide ~ This simple 1 page chart lists out which vocabulary words, Guide Reading and which activities to complete.  I love that I didn’t have to page through the guide to find the vocabulary for that day’s scheduled activities. 
  • The Choices! ~  I can choose from different formats such as physical or e-book and for some of the project packs, I can choose lapbook style or note pack style. But I particularly love that within this particular lapbook I can choose between dotted text or pre-filled out.

creating lapbook Collage


Thoughts from Supergirl:

I like the lapbook. It is fun to glue all the stuff in. It’s fun to do it. I like gluing. I like whales.  I learned that whales and dolphins swim by moving their tail up and down. I like doing the memory cards [mom notes these are the vocabulary cards we created as part of activity 1]. I learned the word prey means an animal that gets eaten by other animals. I want to do more lapbooks.

Completed  Collage


My Thoughts:

Lapbooks are an excellent way to add extra depth and hands on creativity to any study. With the current August sale, I am contemplating picking up a few more lapbooks for Supergirl for this school year.

I do wish, however, that HOAC included a suggested layout for the mini-books. We did not put the activity booklets into the file folder until the end because we needed to play with the arrangement. I would love a page that suggests a layout so that we could place those completed activities into the file folder immediately.

I also wish that there were pictures or something more to help explain how to create some of the mini-books. Sometimes I would read the instructions such as “fold in half like a greeting card” and I’d wonder if I should fold it in half vertical which made it seem to skinny to me or horizontal. Some of the Flap Books were easy to figure out but I messed up the Opposite Book.  A picture or drawing of the completed book would have been very helpful.

Overall, Supergirl enjoys and benefits from this form of learning and we will continue to use lapbooking in our studies this school year. I already own several such as Clownfish Adventure and I will be adding those to her schedule.

Supergirl holds her completed lapbook

The Details:

  • The Vendor:  In the Hands of a Child
  • The Product:  Dolphins, Porpoises, and Whales
  • Formats Available: e-book (what I received), Print, CD or combo.
  • The Price: $12.00
  • Suggested Age Range:  Grades K-4th
  • SPECIAL PRICING NOTE: HOAC is having a special through August 31st 2013. All e-book format curriculum is on sale for least 50% off. This project pack is only $5!


Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read what others have to say about several different project packs from In the Hands of a Child.

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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

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  1. We love In the Hands of a CHild. We just finished our Insects lapbook. It was SO EASY to teach from and everything was right there to be printed, completed, and assembled. :)


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