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Rainforest Lapbook

Updated on June 27, 2015

The Rainforest -- a fascinating topic of study

The tropical rainforest is a fascinating topic for a homeschool unit study! Just the botany and zoology alone could take weeks to cover. There are also the history of the rainforest, the indigenous peoples of the rainforest, and the economy of the rainforest.

You can cater this topic to your youngest of students by focusing on the fascinating creatures such as toucans and leopards or raise the challenge by requiring older students to explore the political issues surrounding the use and misuse of this global treasure.

Your options are almost as endless as the variety of life in the rainforest itself. This lens (or webpage) is designed to point you in the direction of some great online resources and living books that will enhance your homeschool unit study of the rainforest. If you like to make lapbooks, you will be delighted to find free printable templates for rainforest related minibooks. Each photo of a homemade minibook is a link to a template I designed. Get your pith helmet and let's explore the rainforest!

photo credit

Bromeliads grow in the rainforest.

Bromeliads grow in the rainforest.
Bromeliads grow in the rainforest.

Plants of the Rainforest

Plant life in the rainforest is known for its gigantic proportions and amazing characteristics. Epiphytes are plants that grow high up on branches and trunks of trees where they can get sunlight through the dense canopy. They absorb nourishment and water from the humid air all around them. Mosses, lichens, ferns, orchids, and bromeliads are all types of epiphytes.

The leaves of bromeliads, a type of epiphyte,are arranged in such a way as to hold water in the center. Inside this water, entire miniature ecosystems can thrive -- tadpoles, insects, and frogs. For a fact sheet about bromeliads, click here.

If you'd like a free template for making a bromeliad minibook of your own, click on the picture of it below. You will access a PDF for a unique minibook I designed that opens on both the right and the left. For the same file in A4 size click here.

Make your own three dimensional bromeliad make your out of paper. Directions are here. The printable template even includes a frog to live inside the flower!

Another fascinating plant of the rainforest is the Amazon Giant Water Lily -- a plant large enough to support 300 pounds of weight! Learn more about this fascinating plant and make your own interactive minibook with pink and white swing-out flowers by clicking on the image. For the same file in A4 size click here.

The kapok tree grows in the rainforest.

The kapok tree grows in the rainforest.
The kapok tree grows in the rainforest.

Kapok Tree

The giant kapok tree is another monster of the rainforest. Most rainforest plants and trees have very shallow roots. To anchor them more firmly in the ground, many rainforest trees have buttress roots around the bottom of the trunk for support. The native peoples of the rainforest pound on the roots of the kapok tree as if they were playing a drum. The loud booming noices are a way to communicate through the dense jungle.

For a fact sheet about the kapok tree click here.

Click the picture to the left to access a PDF template for making that minibook. Four inside flaps hold these vocabulary words -- canopy, buttress roots, lianas (vines), and epiphytes. For the same file in A4 size, click here.

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest
The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest

The Great Kapok Tree is a beautiful picture book, appropriate to introduce your children to the wonders of the rainforest. It is about much more than this fabulous tree, though. The ladies at Homeschool Share have designed a free

Literature Based Unit Study for this book. You will find many printables and lapbooking templates there!


Rainforest Lapbook Pictures

It can really help to inspire you when you see someone else's finished work. Look at these rainforest lapbooks for ideas.

Giant Science Resource Book - Evan Moor Reproducible Books

Giant Science Resource Book
Giant Science Resource Book

This book has a section on habitats, and rainforest gets four pages. You probably wouldn't buy this book just to study the rainforest. But it's a great investment for elementary science reproducibles. I own this book and have turned to it time and time again, not only for our rainforest study but also for many other science topics.

Read a full review at The Heart of the Matter.

If you prefer an instant download, this book is also available at CurrClick in eBook format.


All About the Rain Forest - Evan Moor Reproducible Books

All About the Rain Forest
All About the Rain Forest

This thematic unit targets a fourth grade student. If you prefer an instant download, this book is also available at CurrClick in eBook format.


Theme Pockets - June - Evan Moor Reproducible Books

Theme Pockets - June
Theme Pockets - June

This reproducible book features the Amazon Rainforest with these activities: rainforest layers puzzle, blue morpho butterfly model, draw a jaguar, rainforest animals fact cards, and make a kapok pod. (Two other topics covered are Artists and Farmers Feed Us.)

If you prefer an instant download, this book is also available at CurrClick in eBook format.


Tarsiers live in rainforests of the Philippines.

Tarsiers live in rainforests of the Philippines.
Tarsiers live in rainforests of the Philippines.

Rainforest Poll

What is your favorite part of a rainforest study?

See results

Rainforest Resources Online

Click on the leopard picture to go to Chunky Monkey's rainforest friends. You'll find stories set in the rainforest and directions for how to draw several rainforest animals.

For general sites which you can explore alongside your children, visit

Rain Forest (DK Eye Wonder)
Rain Forest (DK Eye Wonder)

I love DK books as unit study spines because they give a broad overview in such a visual format.


Art Connection

For a truly complete unit study, you will want to include many disciplines. Art is an easy one to incorporate into your rainforest explorations because Henri Rousseau painted a whole series of fanciful Jungle images.

Study these paintings with your children. Compare what you see with what you know is true about actual rainforests. Then let your children make their own Rousseau style jungle paintings. Use the online game below, or make your own with crayons or paints. Be sure to include it in your rainforest lapbook somewhere.

Watch Rousseau's Paintings

This four minute video is just paintings with music accompaniment. The selection includes the jungle art as well as his other subjects.

The Umbrella
The Umbrella

Jan Brett wrote a book about the rainforest -- The Umbrella. Amazingly, she has posted on the Internet, a multitude of free resources to go along with that book (or with any study of the rainforest). First are beautiful black and white line drawings of rainforest foilage and animals for making your own mural! Any of these could be reduced in size to make a collage or a minibook. And in this fun video, you can watch Jan Brett not only talk about her idea for this book but also draw a toucan!

And Homeschool Share has a unit study with lesson plans to accompany this living book.


Animals of Rainforest

No study of the rainforest would be complete without a look at the diverse wildlife found there. From tarsiers to orangutans, from toucans to piranhas... many of the animals of the rainforest are found nowhere else on earth.

Try coloring these Nine Most Endangered Rainforest Animal pages.

For some online fun, try Animals of a Tropical Rainforest (scroll down for the link). In this online game, you place the rainforest animals in their correct layers of the canopy. Then the image you create can be printed out!

For a template of a layered book about the big cats of the rainforest, click the image. For the same file in A4 size, click here. Three of the world's four largest big cats are found in the rainforests!

World's four largest cats:

1. Tiger

2. Lion

3. Jaguar

4. Leopard

Would you like to create a rainforest environment in your own home? Listen to these fun sound effect files!

See if you can identify the animals making these noises.

Leafcutter Ants

Leafcutter ants are called the first farmers! They use the leaves they carry back home to grow a fungus which they eat. Fascinating!

For directions and a printable template for making this leafcutter ant pocket and book, click the picture.For the same file in A4 size, click here.

Snakes of the Rainforest

Everything is huge in the rainforest -- snakes are no exception! Huge anacondas and tree climbing boas are intriguing animals to add to your rainforest study.

Click the picture for directions and a template for this circle book about snakes of the rainforest. For the same file in A4 size, click here.


The Manatee lives in the Amazon River. This endangered animal is so homely that it is actually cute!

For our mini-book about the manatee we used the following resources:

fact sheet about the manatee

printable map of the manatee's habitat

Save the Manatee website has sound recordings, video clips, photographs, and printable PDFs.

From the Rainforest Alliance

This resource was not available when we made our manatee minibook, but Homeschool share has an entire manatee lapbook!

Rainforest Hands-on Learning

Kids love getting messy and learning through doing!

Begin your crafts with this free online project. The American Museum of Natural History has some printable diorama templates for three habitats.

The one for the rainforest is here. Another simpler design featuring the layers of the canopy can be found at Storm the Castle.

Do an experiment with a bromeliad -- a pineapple!

Kid's Craft Weekly has a jungle theme issue with an assortment of crafts made from normal household items. (I love this craft newsletter! Search their archives for more topics.)

Then add even more hands-on activities to your unit study with the ideas in these books!

Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9
Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9

This activity guide is designed for grades 2-6. The book includes facts about the rainforest and accompanying science experiments, crafts, and recipes.



What a delicious aspect to incorporate into your rainforest unit study! This is sure to motivate your children!

Chocolate comes from the cocoa beans which grow on the cocoa tree, a native plant of the rainforest.

Investigate these links for teaching resources about chocolate:

For your mini-book, make a candy wrapper book using these fun sites:

images of scanned candy wrappers (Or just eat your own candy bars and use the real thing!)

blank chocolate bar wrapper template

or use these chocolate kiss shape book templates

Then add in some other facts such as Cocoa's printables about chocolate -- a nice map of growing regions of the cocoa tree, a chocolate timeline (5 centuries of cocoa), and other resources.

For more ideas for chocolate related mini-books for a rainforest lapbook, see these bloggers who made chocolate lapbooks:

Just Call Me Jamin'

The Duncan Yo-Yos

Chocolate: Riches from the Rainforest
Chocolate: Riches from the Rainforest

This book chronicles the history of chocolate and the modern production of a favorite treat.


Rainforest Lapbook Guestbook

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I would love to use your Kapok Tree activity but can't find the link. Can you email it to me?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi Jimmie,

      Love your lens - very 'full bodied' - botany, art (!!), related literature ...

      Thx for sharing, boiscanot

    • Nithya Venkat profile image

      Nithya Venkat aka Vellur 

      5 years ago from Dubai

      Great lens! Useful and informative.

    • iijuan12 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Wonderful resource!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Do you have a mini book for the trees, such as canopy, understory, forest floor.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great resource! A font of inspiration for this grateful mom! Thank you!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      loved the lens, colourfull, artistic, wide variety of photo's. really good, needs 100+ squidlikes.

      The rainforrest is def. a place I want to visit once in my life.

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      Simply awesome. This is an exceptional lens that makes it fun to learn about the fauna, inhabitants, and the environmental challenge facing this fragile ecosystem. Please keep teaching us!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love this!

      Very helpful as we study the rainforest!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Jimmie this is fantastic!!

      We are going to do rainforests this coming year and I'm so happy to see you have a lens on it....makes all the work so much easier for us, thank you!



    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I can't even believe how grea this Rainforest Lapbook info is! Thank You! I can't wait to do this with DD. I've already started printing the pages out. :-)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      10 years ago from Royalton

      Welcome to the Back to School Group Lensography.

    • FueltheBrain profile image


      10 years ago

      I love the files for the rain forest lapbooks! I can't wait to use them with my students.

      Thanks for an awesome lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is absolutely fantastic, as always! We've been working on our own rainforest lapbooks; you've given my a lot more ideas!

      Sarah at

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      lovely lens

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love this site! Thanks

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I absolutely love this 'kid-friendly', age appropriate resource filled lens! Love it!

    • ronpass lm profile image

      ronpass lm 

      11 years ago

      Jimmie, superb lens - I'll lensroll it when I publish my rainforest walk lens. I've favourited and starred your lens.

      Ron Passfield

      Squidoo Marketing

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Excellent topic of study! Thank you for adding it to the BIG LENSES Group!

    • wendysue lm profile image

      wendysue lm 

      11 years ago

      Your lenses are all so wonderful! We're homeschooling and so naturally this is a happy find. I'll plug your lenses over on my homeschooling blog... I love to share worthy sites with my readers.

      Keep up the great work! Can't wait to see what you come up with next. :)

    • Roving Band profile image

      Roving Band 

      11 years ago

      What a wonderful, helpful lens! It's great to be in the Wild Animals Group with you!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      love the rainforest animals!

    • CLB LM profile image

      CLB LM 

      11 years ago

      Wow, this is just fantastic. I started by cheching out your lapbooks on flickr (you gave the link on a yahoogroup) and have now found out that you squidoo as well. And boy, do you do a great job!!

      I'm going to have to look at all your lenses now.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 

      11 years ago

      Outstanding five-star lens! The illustrations are wonderful. If you'd like, come visit my new lens with pictures of baby animals.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Stupendous! Jimmie, your lenses keep getting better and better...if you keep this up; I'm going to have to get a new dictionary just to find enough adjectives to affirm and appreciate your efforts! LOL! Another great job, Connie ...aka Squid Angel

      : )

      LOVE the pictures!

    • groovyoldlady profile image


      11 years ago



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