Best Props for Traveling VIPKID Teachers

Props for Traveling Online Teachers

Props for Traveling Online Teachers

For most teachers teaching young children, props are an essential part of the process and can aid not just learning but also increase enjoyment. Which means it can be scary to think that while you’re on the road you may not have access to your favorite props. We’ve compiled a list below of a few props some of our teachers carry with them and how they manage with the extra luggage! (based on suggestions and advice from actual traveling VIPKID teachers!)

Finger puppets: these are the kind of props that will never go out of fashion and are always a sure winner in the classroom. Not only are they very light and small but they can be bunched together and packaged very easily. If worst comes to worst and you’re still struggling to pack them somewhere, you can always just wear them until you find space later. This may seem very peculiar at the airport but I am sure security personnel have more important things to look out for than finger puppets — bombs, drugs, illegal money, Justin Bieber music (I’m not kidding. Ask China).

Flashcards: again another engaging and attractive prop that is very transportable and does not require much storage or effort. One tip given by our teachers is to laminate your flash cards to protect them on your journeys. We had a humorous note from one of our teachers who put her bag down to take pictures of a glorious sunset. Only to turn around and find that a local stray dog had decided to use her bag as a bathroom – thank goodness just a number 1. That still didn’t save her flash cards though!

Plastic magnet letters: if you still remember 4th-grade science class pretty much most things in a room will be magnetic in some way. Magnetic letters can be a life saver because you can literally stick them anywhere and still explain what you need to in the lesson. You can also add some extra learning into the class by sticking them to things kids may not have seen before. For example, let’s say you’re currently traveling in London (UK) a place where some of your students may not have visited. You could take pictures of you sticking them to a red London bus or an infamous black taxi and show the pictures to your students.

Whiteboard and markers: some of you may be thinking of those huge whiteboards you see in traditional classrooms but, no, we mean the baby versions of those. Small rectangular shaped versions that are super easy to transport around and durable against the elements (maybe not dog pee!) These are perfect for trying to illustrate something to your students that you were finding difficult to explain. We all know how arduous it can be to learn new things, so providing your class with a visual will only aid the process. It also gives you a chance to show off your art skills!

Teddy bear: at first glance, you may think you read that wrong, but nope! We really mean a teddy bear! This cute little prop can serve many purposes; beginning with the most obvious which is a friendly, welcoming and familiar visual for your students to have. The teddy can also be made to be an extra student in the class, thus giving teachers a way to explain a physical concept without needing to be physically present.

Let’s also not forget the fact that in most cases, children are just excited to see other people’s possessions and belongings – especially their toys. How easily we forget that they only came into this world not long ago and many things are new and exciting. So the prospect of seeing a toy from their new foreign teacher is an exhilarating experience! Think about how different something as simple as a teddy can be for somebody who lives on the other side of the world to you. In some parts of the world “the teddy”, which is mainly an American and European construct, is an animal or even a person.

(P.s totally random fact but did you know the teddy was named after the 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt? Feel free to use that in a quiz or competition with your students!)


  1. Hey! They’re some great tips. You forgot Erasable markers (coloured!) which can be used on almost any hard surface 😉 no whiteboard required…and blu-tac for quick poster holders – huge for travelling. My students love: tourist books, kids’ story books or movies you can project onto walls, and digital photo albums, all great for travelling with!
    Of course there’s always nailpolish for your fingernails to highlight vowels, or maths symbols. Not to mention dice and random clothing items for weather/clothing/body parts/colour teaching games. All these are easily transported, so I’m surprised none of them featured!
    But I only had 6 months in China, and I’m teaching puppies for fun now 😉 and they’re thrilled with ball games…another easily portable item ( inflatable balls…)
    This was a great, fun post with some good ideas!

  2. Finger puppets are a great idea! I’m on the lookout for a good set AND some magnet letters…not so easy to find in Okinawa Japan!

  3. I have been showing postcards or using souvenirs as props and rewards. I even showed one student what Mexico looked like outside my window upon his request! Then he showed me China!

  4. My props are flash cards, polar bear “Paul”, wooden alphabet blocks, a ball, finger puppets and small animals, and of course the dry-erase marker and small white board…

  5. I hear felt is great! Lightweight, plus felt sticks to felt so easy for rewards, ABCs, names, props, etc 🙂

  6. A few additional items I wouldn’t travel with out are ringlight, 2 small bendable snake lights, a couple VIPKID orange shirts and my colorful butterfly headband.

  7. Very interesting! I am going out of town next week and I’m booked! I was wondering what I was going to do for my background. Thanks for all of the ideas.

  8. I have a giant panda shower curtain and push pins that have hooks on the bottom. This can be set up anywhere.

  9. I would like to hear more about places where you can teach when you don’t have a hotel. AND do hotels have strong enough internet?

  10. These are terrific ideas. I am hoping to travel soon. I am more worried about thhe internet service while traveling than I am the props.

  11. I’ve always been too nervous to try teaching anywhere besides my own home. I don’t want to have any Tech issues, internet connection issues, or anything. I would hate if I recieved a bad parent feedback. However, all these ideas make it seem more possible. Maybe one day I’ll get out of my comfort zone and try it! I don’t know.