DIY Lap boards for preschool

I was recently asked by lots of folks to talk a little bit more about what I call “Lap Boards.”  So for those of you who asked or would like to know more, here are a few details…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

Although I refer to my small boards as “Lap Boards,” I also change what I call them depending on what I am using them for. For example, sometimes I might call them a story board or sometimes a counting board. But essentially, no matter what I call them, they are simply small DIY felt boards…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

I call them lap boards most of the time because we often use them on the floor when working on a process as a large group. The lap board goes on the child’s lap or on the floor in front of each child so that the children can have a sturdy, independent space to place objects on and to work on…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

I like the lap boards for giving children a space to work on for several reasons but probably my top reason is that my DIY lap boards are a quiet space to work on and they are soft so most things we are working with don’t easily roll off the edges when the board get’s bumped or shifted around.

How to make a Lap Board

I always keep at least 11 lap boards in my classroom. Ten of them are for the children to use and one of them is for me to use when I am working with the children on a specific process. I store the lap boards on a top shelf in my classroom to pull down as needed…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

To make the lap boards you will need a set of small art paint canvases. My canvases are around 8″ x 10″ stretched canvas (stretched around a wood frame). I purchase my stretched canvases from places like Walmart or Michaels when I see them go on sale or being sold in a multi-pack for a good price…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

You will also need a supply of white (or whatever color you would choose) flannel to staple around each canvas.  I bought two yards of white flannel and had left-over after covering 12 canvases…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

To make the lap boards, you simply cut your flannel to fit firmly around the edges of each canvas and then stretch the flannel so that it sits nice and tight on across the front of the canvas. Then flip the canvas over and staple the edges of the flannel firmly to the board surrounding your canvas.  I use a staple gun to staple the flannel to my boards…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

If you have too much excess flannel on the inside edges of the back of the canvas, then trim away the excess flannel so that the edges are neat and tidy looking…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

Once the flannel is firmly covering and attached to your canvas, then you now have officially made a lap board…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

You can now use your lap boards during circle time to retell a story with felt pieces you have prepared. Instead of the teacher being the only one to tell a story or having to wait on each child to take a turn, the story board allows all the children to be involved in the story telling process together…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

You can use your lap board in a center for children to count, sort, compare, or explore a variety of materials in different ways. The material will not be so clanky in the classroom as they are on a soft surface rather than a hard table or tray…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

You can use your lap board at a table or on the floor for children to have an individual space to explore whatever type of process you have in mind…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

I have had six of my DIY lap boards for three years without a problem of them being ripped, broken, or ruined in some other way. But last year, I had them laying on the floor and the children stepped on them with muddy shoes which left nice little mud shoe prints on most of the boards that I couldn’t wash out. So this year, I added a few more boards to my collection of boards, took off the old felt off my older boards, and covered all 12 boards with new white felt so they all looked new again…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

We introduced the lap boards to our students today for the first time this school year and will begin using them around the classroom as the year progresses. I hope I have answered all questions but if you have a comment or question for me, feel free to leave me a comment below!

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By |2014-09-05T02:27:10+00:00September 5th, 2014|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Cindy September 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Deborah,
    Thanks for sharing more details about your lapboards. Just wanted to let anyone who is interested in making them for their classroom that they are 40% off through the weekend at Michaels. A 10 pack is regularly $19.99 on sale for $11.99. (no coupon necessary) I picked up two packages so I can make a set for my classroom. 🙂

  2. Lois Burgess September 5, 2014 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Deborah,

    You have a wonderful blog! I am really interested in your lap boards for retelling stories. I lead a library storytime at 2 different libraries in Windsor & Hantsport, Nova Scotia. The children are ages 2-5. I love making flannel pieces for songs & stories and the children love them too!

    Could you tell me some more details of how you use them for retelling stories. Thanks, Deboarah 🙂

    Happy “New Year”!!

    Lois Burgess
    P.S. Are you familiar with the library storytime blog, “Flannel Friday”?

    It’s a wonderful resource!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 6, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Lois, Thank you for sharing the Flannel Friday link! I will be sure to check it out. As for retelling stories, where I can gather enough felt pieces, objects, story telling stones, or other for each child in the group and that relate to the story, then after reading the story – I give the children a set of their own materials and we walk through the story only this time, they create or sequence or arrange the story on their story boards with the materials I have given them. I hope that helps.

  3. Jenifer Shockley September 5, 2014 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Hi can you give me examples of different processes you use on the boards? I especially am intrigued about the photo with the bottle caps.

  4. Jeanine September 6, 2014 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Wow what a fantastic way to get the children kind of involved in even reading a story at circle time! SOO wonderfully useful for not having little items slipping n sliding off the boards. Better than just putting something on their lap. They’re interactive learning tools. I am also very certain that the children feel very grown up having their very own “lap-board”– ok it’s not a laptop but you know what I mean 😀 Amazing!!!

  5. Theresa Igweani September 8, 2014 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Good work surface, very simple to make . Must make teaching/learning very exciting. Thanks for sharing. !

  6. Marina Alvarez September 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Deborah ,
    Just have to ask …did I miss the the International Postcard Exchange this year. Yikes I hope I didn’t.
    Thanks for all that you do in sharing your time and talents with us. 🙂

  7. roxanne shives July 4, 2017 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Deborah: My question is I was listening to your video on naptime. I have 4 and 5 year olds and full time daycare. I incorporated a lot of your techniques and they are working. My question is I give the ones who do not nap a color sheet inside a page protector with a few wipe board markers. I need an idea as to what I can do to make the sheets sturdy because they use them while they are on their mats. I need some ideas as to what I can use to make that they can put it on their laps. Thank you

    • Deborah Stewart July 6, 2017 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      Place your page protectors inside hard bound binders for safe keeping and for a better surface for coloring.

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