You’ve probably heard that black and white high contrast cards are crucial for your baby’s development, but perhaps you aren’t quite sure why.
In this post, we tell you everything you need to know about the benefits of visual stimulation, how to use them and even how to save money by making your own!
Why Black and White Patterns for Babies Are Important
Sensory flashcards with high contrast images are a great tool to promote visual development in babies.
As they grow, they become more aware of their surroundings and are able to distinguish between more colors and patterns, but it’s best to start off with black and white cards.
High Contrast images can be used with newborn babies. This age is an important time to use stimulate baby’s brain and promote healthy visual development.
It’s also a great way for parents to bond with their newborn baby and engage in interactive play. Visual stimulation cards need not cost money- black and white cards can either be made at home, purchased, or you can find some free printable black and white images online.
What do Newborn Babies See?
When a newborn is born, their vision is not fully developed yet. They can only see things within 10-12 inches clearly and everything beyond that distance appears blurry. This means that newborn babies are farsighted and cannot focus on objects that are far away.
As a result, newborns tend to focus more on things that are close to baby’s face, and they will often study objects by looking at them closely. However, due to baby’s eyesight being not fully developed, everything they see will appear blurry or fuzzy to them.
This is why providing visual stimulation in the form of high contrast patterns and colors can be beneficial for infants and their early development as it helps stimulate their visual senses and supports their brain development.
Why are black and white cards good for babies?
At birth, a baby’s eyes have the potential to see, but their visual pathway is immature and cannot process visual information fully.
While still in the womb, babies can see the color red (the color of the uterus!) and track objects, but everything appears fuzzy to them, and they cannot distinguish between similar shades. This is why black and white high contrast cards for babies are the best option in those early weeks.
The visual pathway includes rod and cone photoreceptors in the back layer of the eye that convert light into electric signals. These signals are sent via the optic nerve to the visual center in the brain, where they are processed and translated into images that allow us to see.
-Your baby’s eyesight is limited in the early weeks
-Using high contrast cards can encourage the maturation of your baby’s visual pathway
-Research suggests that this can improve your baby’s vision, focus and tracking skills,
Between the ages of 0-4 months, babies’ visual pathways gradually mature, and they can distinguish between shades of white, gray, and black. Using high-contrast sensory flashcards during this time can stimulate and encourage the maturation of the visual pathway. Showing your baby simple black or white images and shapes on these flashcards can help the optic nerve make strong connections and stimulate the visual center to operate efficiently. This support can improve your baby’s vision, focus, and tracking.
After about four months, babies may start seeing and responding to the color red and subsequently to other primary colors. They develop depth perception and can focus on objects further away. They become aware of their fingers and toes and enjoy watching them move. High-contrast flashcards with a pop of red, black and white images and more complex patterns and pictures can further stimulate their visual pathway.
Using sensory flashcards is a great way to help your baby with their visual learning, bond with them, and have fun playing games.
Our Top 3 Newborn Black and White Cards
Picking the right black and white cards for your newborn will depend on your lifestyle and how long you plan to use them.
Life is busy when you have a newborn so we’ve shared our favorites below.
Best Value Cards
50 Page Visual Stimulation Flashcards
These budget friendly flash cards will capture your newborns attention. With 50 cards to choose from there’s plenty to keep them busy.
Best Cloth Flashcards
High Contrast Flip Book and Bag
These cloth high contrast cards can be stored neatly away in their cloth bag, perfect for on the go stimulation.
Best Learning Cards
Tumama Visual Stimulation Cards
These high contrast cards are great value for money because they grow with your baby, helping them learn letters, numbers and more.
How to Use High Contrast Cards for Baby
Using high contrast cards is a great way to stimulate a newborn’s visual development. High contrast cards are usually black and white or brightly colored with bold patterns and shapes, high contrast colors which are easy for babies to see and focus on. By placing the cards within the baby’s visual range, you can encourage them to focus their attention and track the movements of the cards.
It’s important to remember that newborns have short attention spans, so it’s best to start with stimulation cards for short periods of time, such as 1-2 seconds, and gradually increase the time as they become more interested and engaged. It’s also a good idea to encourage them to touch and grasp the cards, as this helps to develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
When you’re using the cards with your baby, talk to them about what they’re seeing and ask them questions about the shapes and patterns on the cards. This helps to build their language skills and cognitive development.
It’s important to remember that babies get tired easily, so if your baby becomes fussy or agitated, take a break and try again later.
Where to Use the Black and White Cards
High contrast cards can be used in many different ways to stimulate and entertain your baby, as well as to make your daily routine easier. Placing them in the car seat, stroller or on the changing table can help distract your baby during diaper changes or car rides.
You can also use them during tummy time to encourage your baby to lift their head and strengthen their neck muscles. Overall, high contrast cards can be a great tool for parents to help support their baby’s development and engage with them in a meaningful way.
Activities for using high contrast cards in developing newborn vision
Using black and white picture cards is a great way to stimulate your newborn’s vision. You can display these high-contrast flashcards anywhere your baby may be during the day, such as during tummy time on the floor.
Here are some tips for using these cards:
- Place your baby on your thighs with their belly down and gently rub their back. Show a high-contrast card in line with your baby’s vision and slowly move it to see if the baby moves their head in the direction of the card.
- Newborns tend to look sideways, so you can place the contrast cards on the side they are looking at. Keep changing the side for the cards to encourage your baby to move their head.
- Make a small foldable booklet with these cards and place it in front of your baby.
- For a fun activity, paste or make transparent pockets for the contrast cards on the six sides of a small cubical box.
Using these high-contrast flashcards is a simple and effective way to support your baby’s visual development and bond with them through play.
Other Ways for Your Baby to Enjoy High Contrast Images and Toys
Let baby explore a black and white floor or tummy time mat
A play gym can benefit not only core strength but, combined with high contrast images, you can help your baby’s visual and brain development too! Either use a black and white tummy time mat or bring black and white toys to tummy time.
Don’t forget to check out our expert advice on the best play mats for tummy time!
Beiens Black and White Play Mat
Keep Your Newborn Stimulated with This Beiens Black and White Play Mat
Looking for a way to keep your newborn entertained and engaged? Look no further than this Beiens Black and White Play Mat. Designed specifically to provide high-contrast visuals and tactile sensations, this play mat is the perfect addition to any new parent’s arsenal.
- Designed for Newborns: The high-contrast black and white design is perfect for young babies, helping to stimulate their visual development and engage their senses.
- Multiple Textures: With a variety of textures and fabrics, this play mat provides plenty of tactile stimulation to keep your baby engaged and interested.
- Easy to Clean: Made from soft, durable materials, this play mat is easy to wipe clean and machine washable for hassle-free maintenance.
- Lightweight and Portable: At just 1.5 pounds, this play mat is easy to move from room to room or take on-the-go, making it the perfect accessory for playtime at home or on-the-go.
- Includes Teether: Along with the play mat, this set includes a teether toy that is perfect for soothing sore gums and providing additional sensory stimulation.
- Limited Color Palette: While the black and white design is perfect for newborns, it may not be as visually appealing for older babies or toddlers.
- May Not Be Big Enough: While the compact size of this play mat makes it easy to take on-the-go, it may not be large enough for babies who are starting to crawl or roll.
- Teether Toy Not Very Durable: While the teether toy is a nice addition to the set, some users have reported that it is not very durable and may break easily.
Black and white Nursery Mobile
You can either buy a high contrast baby mobile, make your own or adjust one you already have at home. Your little one will just love looking at the attention grabbing images as they lay in their crib.
For our top tips, check out our post on the best high contrast hanging toys.
Vlokup Montessori Woodland Mobile
Watch your baby’s eyes light up with joy as they gaze at the Vlokup Montessori Woodland Mobile. This visually stimulating mobile will not only entertain your little one, but it will also aid in their visual development.
- Perfect for newborns: The high contrast black and white colors are perfect for newborns’ developing eyes and can help enhance their visual acuity.
- Adorable woodland theme: The cute woodland animals featured on the mobile will captivate your baby’s attention and stimulate their imagination.
- Montessori-inspired design: The simple and minimalist design is inspired by Montessori principles, promoting natural learning and exploration.
- Easy to install: The mobile comes with a hook and a wind-up music box, making it easy to install in your baby’s room.
- Durable and long-lasting: Made with high-quality materials, this mobile is durable and long-lasting, making it a great investment for your baby’s development.
- Does not include a crib arm: You will need to purchase a crib arm separately to hang the mobile from your baby’s crib.
- Mobile does not move on its own: This mobile requires the wind-up music box to be manually turned to make it spin.
- Not suitable for older babies: While this mobile is perfect for newborns, older babies may quickly lose interest in the high contrast black and white colors.