After having researched lapbooks over the past week I have determined that there are some benefits to templates. They offer all the necessary elements to complete your book and reduce the amount of time that would be needed if you created it from scratch. I also think that it is important to remember to allow your child to pick the parts that really interests him. It is unnecessary to complete all the parts just because they came with the kit as a matter of fact, many are quite large with many pages.
Sites with free lapbook templates:
This is a great source for learning the basics of lapbooking and offers some free templates, too. In addition the author has created videos showing how to make a lapbook.