Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. The Tutor Resource is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program as well as other affiliate programs. These are designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites at no extra cost to you. Please see our full disclosure for more details.

17 Best Online Teaching Props + How to Use Them (2024)

Sharing is caring!

Do you use online teaching props in your classroom? Are you looking for some new ideas to spruce up your online classroom? You’ve come to the right place!

We at the Tutor Resource have been online teachers since the early 2010s and use props consistently in our own online classes. Online teaching props can be a great way to help engage your students and keep them interested in the lesson.

In this blog post, we will discuss what online teaching props are and how they can be used in an online classroom. We’ll also provide some tips on how to choose the right online teaching props for your students.

Let’s go!

What Are Online Teaching Props?

Online teaching props are resources that became incredibly popular with the rise of online ESL teaching jobs in the 2010s, like being a Gogokid or VIPKid teacher.

The teaching English online industry isn’t the only one that uses online teaching props, though. Many online tutors and online teachers use online teaching props in their classrooms as well.

Online teaching props are simply objects or tools that you can use to help engage your students and improve their learning experience.

They can be anything from a whiteboard and markers to a stuffed animal or a game. The sky’s the limit when it comes to choosing online teaching props!

Chalkboard with a wood frame that says Do you Speak ENglish? in rainbow chalk.

17 Online Teaching Props Ideas for Your Online Classroom

These are some of the more popular options that many teachers use as online teaching props for their online classrooms.

Not all will suit your needs, but this list will certainly inspire your prop creativity in preparing for your next classes!

1. Magnetic Dry Erase Board & Dry Erase Markers

One of the most popular online teaching props is the magnetic dry erase board and markers.

The magnetic dry erase board is a whiteboard that can be hung on a wall or placed on a table.

The dry erase markers can be used to write and draw on the board. The markers can also be used to write on paper or other surfaces.

The magnetic dry erase board is a great online teaching prop because it is very versatile. It can be used for a variety of activities, such as:

✔️ Writing and drawing
✔️ Playing games
✔️ Brainstorming
✔️ Mind mapping

The dry erase markers are also a great online teaching prop because they are non-toxic and easy to clean up. In addition, the markers can be used on a variety of different surfaces, including paper, glass, and metal.

2. Poster Board & Markers

Another popular online teaching prop is the poster board and markers. The poster board is a large piece of cardboard that can be used to write or draw on.

The markers can be used to write or draw on the poster board. The poster board is a great online teaching prop because it is very sturdy and can be used for a variety of activities, such as:

✔️ Making signs
✔️ Posting announcements
✔️ Creating a timeline
✔️ Brainstorming ideas

Partial view of a posterboard laying on a wooden table with various colored markers laying on top of it.

3. Magnetic Animals & Letters

Magnetic animals are very versatile. In addition to animal names and sounds, they can act out stories or be used to talk about environments and habitats.

They can even be used to explain colors and shapes.  

Plus, magnetic letters are a type of online teaching prop that can be used to teach a variety of topics, such as:

✔️ The alphabet
✔️ Spelling
✔️ Vocabulary
✔️ Phonics
✔️ Making words
✔️ Spelling out names
✔️ Creating sentences

4. Flash Cards

Flash cards are a great online teaching prop because they are very versatile and cheap. You can either make your own flashcards or buy some at teacher supply stores, Dollar Tree, or Target.

Sometimes you can even find used ones in good condition at garage or yard sales as well as thrift shops!

Flash cards can be used to teach a variety of topics, such as:

✔️ The alphabet
✔️ Spelling
✔️ Vocabulary
✔️ Phonics
✔️ Addition
✔️ Subtraction
✔️ Multiplication
✔️ Division

Flash cards can even help with making words, playing games, brainstorming ideas, and reviewing material before assessments.

5. Finger Puppets

Finger puppets are a great online teaching prop because they are very versatile. You can use them to act out stories, make words, or create sentences.

You can also use them to teach the alphabet, spelling, vocabulary, or phonics.

Finger puppets are a great online teaching prop because they are very affordable. You can usually find them at teacher supply stores, Dollar Tree, Target, or Walmart. IKEA also sells them from time to time.

6. Puppets & Plush Animals

Puppets and plush animals are necessary components of your online classroom.

Get one of these puppets from the Cate & Levi shop on Amazon to personalize your classroom with branding and zest.

You may want to use puppets to encourage hesitant students or add levity to your lessons!

7. Hand Pointers

Hand pointers are a fun online teaching prop because they are very versatile and affordable.

You can use them to point to things on the screen, write on the board, or play games.

In addition, you can also use them to point to other props when teaching the alphabet, spelling, vocabulary, or phonics.

8. Flags

Flags are a great online teaching prop because they are very versatile. You can use them to represent the country you’re from or the country where you’re living.

You can also use them to represent other countries, such as the country of your ancestors or the country of your heritage.

They can be a great ice-breaker activity when talking to new students about where they live, especially if it’s a different country from you.

9. Small, Plush Sports Ball

The small, plush sports ball is a great online teaching prop because it is very versatile.

It can be used as a stress ball, to teach concepts like throw and catch, and to teach shapes.

If you have a few of them, you can even entertain your student with your juggling skills (or lack thereof).

10. Toy Microphone

The toy microphone is a great online teaching prop because it can be used to teach several different topics including singing, talking performing, and explaining the concept of volume.

A toy microphone can also be a great online teaching prop for online storytime. You can use it to amplify your voice and make different voices for the characters in the story.

This online teaching prop is also great for online karaoke and singing lessons, too!

Pro Tip: Teachers working with performing arts students can use a toy microphone as an online teaching prop in really creative ways in their virtual classroom.

11. Tablet

A tablet is a great online teaching prop because it is very versatile. They’re usually sold in stores and on Amazon for around $100.

Paying less than that will generally get you a dud device, so check the reviews carefully.

You can use it to show pictures, videos, and presentations. You can also use it to play games, take notes, and do online research.

In addition, a tablet can be a great online teaching prop for online storytime. You can use it to read e-books or show pictures of the characters in the story.

12. Kids Books

Kids’ books are a great online teaching prop because they are very versatile.

You can use them to teach the alphabet, colors, shapes, and numbers. You can also use them to teach vocabulary, spelling, and phonics.

Plus, kids’ books are a great online teaching prop for online storytime. You can use them to read the story or show pictures of the characters in the story.

You can even let the student draw the book characters as an extension at the end of the lesson!

13. Potato Head Toys

Potato Head toys are a fun online teaching prop because they are very affordable and can be used for many different teaching topics.

They store away easily, too! You can use them to act out stories, make words, and teach the alphabet.

You can also use them to teach spelling, vocabulary, and phonics. Plus, you can add or delete body parts to teach basic math topics.

In addition, Potato Head toys are a great online teaching prop for online storytime. You can use them to make the characters in the story or act out the scenes.

15. Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are a great online teaching prop because they are very versatile and affordable. You can use them to write on the board, play games, or take notes.

You can also use them to create storyboards, sequence events, or make a timeline of events.

Also, sticky notes are a great online teaching prop for online storytime. You can use them to make the characters in the story or act out the scenes.

15. Dice

Dice are a great online teaching prop because they are very versatile and affordable. You can use them to teach concepts like probability, rolling numbers, and addition.

You can also use them to play games or create stories.

Plus, if you’re short on other props, dice can even be a great online teaching prop for online storytime. You can use them to make the characters in the story or act out the scenes.

16. Maps

Maps are a great online teaching prop because they can be used to teach concepts like geography, directions, and landmarks.

You can also use them as an ice breaker with students to show where you live versus where the student lives.

If you also have flags, you can talk about how different countries on the map use different flags to represent them. Maps also make a great backdrop for online teaching.

17. Clock and Timer

A clock and timer are great online teaching props because they can be used to teach concepts like time, elapsed time, and setting a schedule. You can also use them to play games or create stories.

For fast-paced games, the timer can be used to track turns between you and the student. In addition, having a clock will help you keep your class running within the established start and end times.

Types of Online Teaching Props

There are five main types of online teaching props: store-bought, DIY, homemade, printable, and digital.

✔️ Store Bought Props

Store-bought online teaching props are exactly what they sound like – props that you can purchase online or at a local store. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on store-bought props.

Popular places to shop for them in, at least in the US, include Dollar Tree and the bullseye bins at Target. Mr. DIY in Malaysia, Dollar City in Central America and Colombia, and DAISO in Japan are also great options!

Online teaching props can be purchased cheaply at target.

✔️ DIY Props

DIY online teaching props are props that you can make yourself using items that you already have around the house.

For example, you could turn a cardboard box into a prop for a pretend play activity or make your own flashcards using construction paper and markers.

✔️ Homemade Props

Homemade online teaching props are similar to DIY online teaching props, but they are usually more elaborate and may require some additional materials that you may not have around the house.

For example, you could make a felt board or a puppet theater using items like construction paper, cardboard, fabric, and hot glue.

A pair of scissors laying on top of various pieces of colored paper on a wooden table.

Tips for Making Homemade Online Teaching Props

There are a few things to keep in mind when making homemade online teaching props. First, you want to make sure that the props are age-appropriate for your students.

Second, you want to make sure that the props are safe for you or your students to use. And third, you want to make sure that the props are durable and will last for multiple uses.

With that said, here are a few tips for making homemade online teaching props:

✔️ Use sturdy materials like cardboard, construction paper, and hot glue. This will make your props more durable and less likely to fall apart.

✔️ Keep it simple! You don’t need to make an elaborate prop. Sometimes the simplest props are the most effective.

✔️ Use what you have. You don’t need to spend a lot of money at the store to create quality online teaching props.

✔️ Get creative! Use your imagination and think outside the box.

✔️ Have fun! Making online teaching props should be a fun and rewarding experience. So take your time, be creative, and enjoy yourself!

Paper penguin art project on a light blue background

Printable Props

Printable teaching props are a type of online teaching prop that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Printable props are simply props that you can print out at home or at a local print shop.

They are usually very inexpensive and can be used for a variety of different activities. Once you print out the picture you want simply cut it out, paste it onto cardstock paper or laminate it, then glue it to a popsicle stick.

That way it remains sturdy for longer and can be reused multiple times.

Digital Props

Digital online teaching props are props that are created using online tools or software. They are popular online teaching props with many teachers because they don’t require any extra storage space besides some megabytes on your tablet.

In addition, there are so many versatile options that you can easily use one program to teach a variety of topics and ages using props from a single program.

For example, you can use Google Slides to create a variety of online teaching props such as:

✔️ A digital clock that students can move the hands around to practice telling time
✔️ A world map that students can label with the names of different countries
✔️ A set of flashcards for a vocabulary lesson
✔️ A board game for review

In addition, ManyCam is webcam software that online English teachers use to deliver creative lessons online. It comes in both free and paid versions and can be used as both a digital background as well as an online teaching prop.

Man sitting at his laptop while smiling and wearing a blue collared shirt

Lastly, the Spin the Wheel app is a great online teaching prop for both digital and analog online teaching props. You can download it on iOS here or on Google Playstore here.

This is a free app you can download on your smartphone to encourage the student to speak in class. You could create a wheel for the seven key questions – who, where, when, why, how, what, and how much.

If you want the student to answer or to ask a question you could spin the wheel and the student has to ask a question using whatever word the wheel lands on. You can create wheels for a variety of topics such as afternoon activities, yes or no, etc.

How to Use Online Teaching Props in Your Classroom

Now that you know what online teaching props are, you may be wondering how to use them in your classroom.

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It will depend on the type of props you choose and the needs of your students.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

✔️ If you are using a whiteboard and markers, you can use them to write down key vocabulary words or phrases. You can also use them to draw pictures or diagrams.

✔️ If you are using a stuffed animal or puppet, you can use it to help act out a story or scene. If you teach English online, you can also use it to help teach students new vocabulary words.

✔️ If you are using a game, you can use it to review vocabulary words or grammar rules. You can also use it to practice speaking in complete sentences.

✔️ If you are using a clock or timer, you can even use it to teach ideas like alarm and loud.

Remember, the key is to be creative and have fun! There are no wrong ways to use online teaching props in your classroom. Just let your imagination run wild and see what you can come up with.

Board Games being used in an online class

Choosing the Right Online Teaching Props for Your Students

Now that you know how to use online teaching props in your classroom, you may be wondering how to choose the right ones for your students. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Age: When choosing online teaching props, it is important to consider the age of your students. Make sure that the props you choose are appropriate for their age group.

Interests: Another thing to consider is the interests of your students. What are they interested in? Choose props that will capture their interest and keep them engaged in the lesson.

Learning Needs: Finally, make sure that you choose props that meet the learning needs of your students. If you are working with a student who is struggling with vocabulary, for example, choose props that will help them learn new words.

Close up of a woman's face on a laptop screen during a video call with another person who is blurred in the foreground

Reward System Ideas

Many students, online and offline, are motivated by reward systems. Some online tutoring programs, like VIPKid, require teachers to have physical props as a reward system for students during class.

However, there are many online reward system ideas that don’t require props.

Here are a few online reward system ideas that you can use in your classroom:

✔️ Create a virtual rewards system where students can “earn” points, stickers, stars, or badges for completing tasks or behaving well in class.

✔️ Create a cumulative scene. This is a scene that gets added to each time the student does something well. For example, if you’re working on a farm scene, each time the student completes a task, they can add an animal to the farm.

✔️ Draw a picture together. The student can choose what the picture will be and the teacher can help them draw it.

✔️ Use online games as a reward system. For example, if a student completes all of their work for the day, they can play a game for five minutes.

✔️ Offer online coupons or discounts as a reward. For example, you could offer a student a coupon for a free online lesson if they refer a friend to your tutoring program.

✔️ As a bonus, send students positive emails or text messages as a way to reward them for their hard work. If your student is a child, make sure you send the parent a message commending the student for their hard work after the class ends.

Whatever online reward system you choose, make sure that it is something that your students will be motivated by. Experiment with different reward systems to see what works best for your students.

Related Reading:
Best Computer for Online Teaching: The 24 Best Computers for Teachers and Tutors
9 Best Lighting Options for Online Teaching
What is the Best Microphone for Online Teaching? + How to Choose One
The Ultimate Work From Home Office Checklist
10 Best Headsets for Online Teaching

Final Thoughts on Online Teaching Props

Online teaching props are a great way to engage students in the classroom. By using props, you can help students learn new vocabulary words, review grammar rules, and practice speaking in complete sentences.

Props can also be used as a reward system to motivate students. When choosing online teaching props, it is important to consider the age of your students, their interests, and their learning needs.

Pro Tip: Experiment with different online teaching props and reward systems to see what works best for your students.

So there you have it! Introducing online teaching props: what they are and how to use them in your classroom. We hope this has been helpful in inspiring you to implement online teaching props in your virtual classroom!

Are you seeking certification for teaching English?

If you are or want to be an online ESL tutor, then certification is required by many companies & desired by many private clients.

👉 We recommend this TEFL course! They even offer post-completion job support and resources.

Similar Posts