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As an online English teacher, I’m always on the lookout for easy VIPKID reward systems. After teaching thousands of classes to students of all ages, these VIPKID reward system ideas are some of my favorites.
In this post, I’ll break down exactly how you can make simple online teaching rewards that are super fun for your kiddos. I’ll also share some of my free VIPKID printable rewards that you can use.
Pssst: If you’re here for the free printables, you can click here to download online teaching rewards and props in my Free Resource Library.
In the years since this post was first published, VIPKID changed its online teaching platform, modified the application process, and shifted to a worldwide student base. Some of the information below is now out of date. For details about their new programs, check out the official VIPKID website.
What are Online Teaching Reward Systems?
Reward systems are props you can use to give students an extra incentive during your online English classes. In VIPKID, we have one classroom reward system built into the platform – the 5-star reward.
But adding an additional online teaching reward system can help make your class more memorable and engaging for your student. I love reward systems for making class more fun and their functionality goes way beyond that.
Classroom reward systems can be used for so many things in your online classroom:
- Positively incentivize your students
- Decorate your classroom background
- Reinforce concepts like color, counting, and target vocabulary words
How to Make a VIPKID Reward System
VIPKID Reward systems can be as simple or elaborate as you want. For almost every idea listed below, you can
- Draw the reward system on a dry erase board with dry erase markers
- Draw the reward system on paper in a notebook
- Hand draw the parts of the online classroom reward system, cut them out, and laminate them
(If drawing isn’t your thing or you’re like most teachers and are super busy, you can buy printable versions many reward systems in this post in my Etsy shop. You can also download freebies by subscribing below.)
Video: My Favorite VIPKID Reward Ideas
32 Ideas for Online Teaching Reward Systems
Fish in the Fishbowl Reward System
This is one of the first reward systems I ever used. I started out by drawing a fishbowl on paper and laminating it. When the student did a good job, I drew a fish in the bowl with an expo marker. Sometimes I would get creative by adding sharks and jellyfish and fish with wild colors. Now I use an image of a fishbowl and a bunch of cut out fish with double-stick tape on the back.
If you want my FREE printable fishbowl reward, you can download it in the Free Resource Library!
Animals in the Zoo Reward
This one is awesome if you’ve got some artistic skills, and hilarious if you don’t. Draw a simple square around the edge of your dry erase board or on a piece of paper. When your student does a good job, let them choose an animal to draw in the zoo and do your best to draw it.
Ice Cream Reward
Everyone loves ice cream! Start your class by drawing an ice cream cone. When your student does a good job, they earn scoops of ice cream and other fun toppings! Pretend to eat the ice cream together at the end of class!
Put Toppings on the Pizza Reward System
I scream, you scream, we all scream for…. wait. I think I mixed up my intros! My kiddos love this pizza reward system and it’s great for building food vocabulary.
Draw a circle on your dry erase board or on a piece of paper. To reward your students, give them different fun pizza toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, and cheese. You can also add silly toppings to expand vocabulary!
Draw my Neighborhood Reward
I love using this reward system for older students.
At the beginning of class, draw a road on your dry erase board or on a piece of paper. Throughout the class, add neighborhood features like houses, trees, buildings, schools, and shops. My older students love building their dream neighborhoods.
Candles on the Birthday Cake Reward
I love having this birthday cake reward in my repertoire for many reasons! It makes a great reward. I give the student a candle when they do a good job and at the end, we count all the candles together.
But it’s also useful for lessons about birthdays and counting. It helps my trial students say their age as well since we can count together with the candles.
Presents at the Birthday Party Incentive
For this reward, tell your student that you are having a party. Whenever they do a good job, draw a present on your dry erase board or on a piece of paper.
I like to draw big and small, square and round presents. At the end of class, we count the presents and I let the student tell me what they think is in each one.
Treasure in the Treasure Box Reward System
Perfect for your students who like the finer things in life! Draw a box shape on your dry erase board or on paper. When your student does a good job, add a gem or jewel image to the treasure chest reward. At the end of class, count up your treasure with your student.
Colors of the Rainbow Reward
This one works best if you have a few different colors of dry erase markers or you can use regular markers on paper. When the student earns a reward, draw each arc of the rainbow in alternating colors. At the end of class, you can talk about your favorite colors or ask your student if they have ever seen a rainbow.
Planets in the Solar System Reward
When you use this reward system in the classroom, your students will think you’re out of this world! To create your own, either draw different planets and space images on your dry erase board or you can use black construction paper and printed out pictures of planets
This is one of my favorite rewards for older students and you can extend the lesson by asking them if they would want to go to outer space!
Spots on the Dog Reward
This online teaching reward system is another one for you artsy folks who can draw a dog that looks different from a cow or sea slug (aka, not me!).
Draw a plain colored dog. When your student does a good job, add a spot to the dog. At the end, count the spots! Extend the discussion by asking if your student has any pets and if they want a dog.
Bees in the BeeHive Reward System
Teachers are busy bees! Print out images of little bees and attach them to a drawing of a beehive. Or if you’re more artistic, hand draw your bees on your beehive picture.
I love using this one in the insect lessons with older students. We talk about how bees help us and where they’ve seen bees in real life.
Make the Snowman Winter Reward System
A perfect seasonal reward that’s super easy to draw! When your student gets a question right, simply draw three big circles and all the traditional snowman decorations (top hat, carrot nose, etc).
This gives you the opportunity to extend the lesson with questions like “Have you ever built a snowman?” and “In what season do we make snowmen?”
Sprinkles on the doughnut Reward
Dang, I could really go for some doughnuts right now! Draw a doughnut shape or find a picture of a plain doughnut online. When your student earns a reward, draw a sprinkle on the doughnut. Talk about favorite desserts if you have extra time at the end of class.
Give the Smiley Face Teeth Reward System
This was one of the first reward systems I ever used. I drew a huge smiley face with an open mouth on paper. I laminated it and used dry erase markers to draw teeth every time the student did a good job. At the end of the lesson, we counted the teeth and laughed at the silly face. You could also do this on a dry erase board.
Toppings on a Burger Reward System
Another food reward that can double as a content teaching aide. When your student does a good job, draw a layer to the burger, starting from the bottom bun. Include the burger paddy, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and anything else your student wants!
Don’t forget to add the top bun at the end of class and take a big bite.
Give the Octopus Arms
This VIPKID reward idea works well for lessons about the sea and animals. Start by drawing an oval “body” of your octopus.
For each reward you give your student, add a wiggly arm to the octopus body. Extend by discussing favorite sea animals and asking your student how many arms they would like to have.
Gumballs in the Gumball Machine
Great for discussing counting, colors, and candy! Draw a gumball machine shape or find a picture online. When your student earns a reward, add a brightly colored gumball drawing to the machine.
Draw the Star Reward System
A nice and easy option for teachers who like the classics!
When the student earns a reward, draw a star on your dry erase board or use a piece of black construction paper and yellow star cutouts. At the end of class, you can count the stars together!
Packing the Suitcase for Vacation
This is one of my favorite rewards because I can use it for the travel lesson and the clothing lesson. Draw or find a picture of a suitcase. When your student does a good job, add clothing and vacation items to the suitcase. Talk about vacations or trips your student has taken at the end of class.
Draw the Face Reward
Start out by drawing a plain circle on paper or your dry erase board. When your student does a good job, add a facial feature like eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears, hair, etc. You can let your student pick out features like the color of the hair. At the end of class, you can review body part vocabulary by asking the student the name of each part.
Paint on the Artist Palette
This is one of my favorite rewards to use with younger students who are learning about colors.
Draw the outline of an artist pallet on your dry erase board or paper. Use colored markers or pencils to add splotches of paint when your student does a good job. At the end of class, practice naming the colors together.
Ribbons and Trophies make Fun Reward Systems
I tried this one recently and my older students LOVED it. It’s pretty simple. I used drawings of trophies and ribbons and each time the student did a great job, I showed them one of the rewards.
At the end of class, I held up the biggest trophy I had over my head and cheered like I just won the Olympics. They thought it was so funny and loved seeing the trophies. You could also do this with real trophies and ribbons if you have some around your house.
Crayons in the Crayon Box Reward
If you have some crafting supplies around your house, you can use real-life crayons for this reward. Empty out the box of crayons before class.
When your student earns a reward, put a crayon of their choice into the box. At the end of class, talk about all the colors they found.
Books on the Bookshelf Reward
Draw a shelf on your paper or dry erase board. When your student does a good job, draw a book sitting on the shelf. Or, if you have books at home, you can show your student a real book every time they do a good job! At the end, discuss your favorite books and stories together.
Race Cars on a Race Track Printable Reward System
Draw a circular “race track” on paper or your dry erase board. Print out pictures of two different race cars and add a sticky adhesive to the back.
Let your student pick which car they want to be. When they do a good job, move their car along the track. Move your car too but always keeping it a little behind the student car. At the end of class, move your student’s car over the finish line and celebrate!
Find all the Stuffed Animal Friends
I do this reward with my finger puppets and the kids love seeing all my characters! When the student does a good job, I show them one of my little animal finger puppets. The next time they earn a reward, I show them the first puppet and another puppet.
We keep adding puppets until I’ve shown them a whole hand full. After the lesson, we discuss our favorite animals.
Special VIPKID Rewards for Older Students
Older students can still benefit from classroom reward incentives. Check out the following rewards for older students to get some inspiration.
Would you Rather Reward Activity
To use this VIPKID reward system for older students, I like to prepare a few kid-friendly questions before class. Some examples of questions I might use are: Would you rather have a pet monkey or a pet dolphin? Would you rather be able to fly or run super fast?
When your student earns a reward, ask them a question and discuss the answer together for a few seconds. This is great for extending the lesson and encouraging conversation.
Tic Tac Toe Game Reward System
I like playing a game of Tic Tac Toe at the end of class with my older students. I either draw the game on a screen or play with a numbered board so my kid can say which square they want to mark.
Since this game can take a little while, I wait and play the game at the end of class after the student has earned their 5 stars. I also make sure we start playing after the full 25-minute class time has passed to avoid cutting into instruction.
Make a Board Game Reward
Draw a pathway with little boxes on it as a simple board game would have. In each square, write little tasks like “clap your hands,” “touch your head,” or “say your name three times.”
You can also write conversation starters if you have older students. When your student does a good job, move around the board game and have the student complete the tasks.
Question and Answer Reward
Write level-appropriate questions down on paper and fold them up. Put the papers in a bowl. When your student earns a reward, reach into the bowl and pull out a question. Discuss the question and answer together.
Guess the Word Reward
At the end of class, draw blank lines on the screen for all the letters of the word. Start describing it until the student guesses it and writes it in the blanks.
I only play this game at the end to keep class to keep things moving. This is a great way to reinforce target vocabulary words and spelling skills.
If you have extra time, you can let the student choose the word and give you hints until you guess.
Download your free VIPKID Reward System Printable
I hope this post has given you some fun new VIPKID reward system ideas! If you’d like to grab my free VIPKID printables, props, and rewards, you can download them in my resource library by subscribing here.
Hi, Steve from Australia here. I understand the concept of adding a bee to the beehive each time a student accomplishes a goal or reaches a new stepping stone. My wife and I are foster carers and use a very similar system. My question is: what reward does the student obtain when they have ‘filled the beehive’ etc? In our foster care program, this is a reward agreed upon when the medium term goal is set (going go-karting etc). What are we able to offer a student in another country? Is this an agreed thing with the parents prior at the outset?
Hi Steve! Thanks for your message! For my online classes, I have the ability to give the student a star reward in the virtual platform. This reward can be used by the student to customize their avatar at a later time once they earn enough. Usually, I give them bees throughout the class and at the end, we count the bees (another language extension activity.) Then they get their star reward in the virtual classroom that they can use how they like. It’s a bit difficult to do much more since it’s virtual, but I’ve heard of other teachers agreeing to something like showing them a picture of their pets, singing a song, etc for getting all the bees. I think if you were using this in an in-person situation, you could definitely agree on a bigger reward for the child or student once they’ve received all the smaller incentives. When I was teaching in a traditional in-person classroom, we would do these kinds of classroom incentives and the students could agree on a bigger reward on Friday if they got all their smaller incentives. the most popular ones were 5 minutes of music time, getting to do part of class outside in the courtyard, or playing a class game. Thanks! 🙂
Do you have any suggestions on appropriate questions to put in the bowl for older students?
Hi Liza! Great question! I’d do questions like “What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner?” “What is your favorite ocean animal?” “What did you do last weekend?” And things like that depending on the level of the student. 🙂
Hi there! Great ideas. I have my video interview tonight with VIPKid and am planning on going with the pizza toppings reward system! Do you have advice for the wording I can use to explain the reward system to a very low level english learner? Thank you in advance!
That’s great!! When I do reward introductions, I usually say “When you [point to student] do a good job [bit thumbs up], you get a ___ [hold up the item they get, like the pizza topping]. I’ll show myself sticking a topping on and doing a big high five and thumbs up so they know that’s the reward! 🙂 Hope this helps and good luck with your interview!