Babies develop rapidly in their first year of life. They go from being helpless newborns to mobile, interactive toddlers in just 12 months. Eyesight is one of the areas that develops the most during babyhood. Using high-contrast cards for newborns can support your baby’s visual development.
Read on to get your free printable high-contrast cards for newborns and learn about babies’ eyesight development!
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Babies’ Eye Development
While adults can see a wide range of colors and shades, babies are born only seeing black and white. And in their first three months, newborns can’t yet focus on objects that are more than 8 to 10 inches away from their faces. Once they hit three months of age, babies’ range of vision increases.
During the newborn stage, you can help your baby improve their visual tracking, which is their ability to follow an object with their eyes. Get your newborn’s attention with a toy, holding it above the midline of their body. Slowly move the toy to one side and watch to see if your baby follows it with their eyes. Then, repeat, moving the toy to the other side.
If your baby loses track of the object, shake it to get their attention and continue the activity. If this doesn’t work, you can start at the midline again.
You can also do this activity with high-contrast images for newborns. See below for more visual stimulation ideas for babies.
Related: Natural Toys for Babies
What Are High-Contrast Cards for Babies?
High-contrast cards are black-and-white images that are easier for newborns to focus on. Also called infant stimulation cards, they are often made up of uncomplicated patterns.
High-contrast cards in later stages include shades of red or dark orange. However, during the newborn stage, simple black-and-white high-contrast pictures are preferred.
How Do You Use High-Contrast Cards With A Newborn?
There are many ways to use high-contrast cards for newborns. They’re an incredibly simple tool with many different applications for infant visual stimulation.
Ways to use high-contrast cards for newborns include:
- Introduce the high-contrast cards by holding a card 8 to 12 inches from your baby’s face. Keep the card still and steady (you may need to prop your arm up). Hold the card there for as long as your baby will focus on it before switching to another visual stimulation card. As your baby’s vision develops, they will likely be able to focus on an image for longer, and you can start using high-contrast cards with more complex patterns.
- Visual tracking practice (see above)
- Make a mobile out of high-contrast cards.
- Hang visual stimulation cards from your newborn’s play gym or car seat.
- Hold or prop high-contrast cards in front of your newborn during tummy time to give them something to focus on.
- Post high-contrast cards around your home so that your baby can look at them from different vantage points or when you’re carrying them around.
Get Your Free Printable: High-Contrast Cards for Newborns
Our high-contrast cards for babies PDF include 8 black-and-white images that will encourage visual stimulation for your newborn.
- Enter your email address below to get your free high-contrast cards for newborns printable.
- Print the cards on cardstock so they will be more durable.
- Cut out the cards and use these ideas from your post to help your newborn develop their vision!
One of the benefits of these high-contrast cards for babies is that they’re FREE, so if they get lost or end up in your baby’s mouth, you can just print new ones. I recommend printing a few sets – for home, the car, grandparents’ house, etc. – so you can use them with your newborn whenever they’re alert and you have a few extra minutes.
High-Contrast Baby Books
If you want to introduce your child to books early (a great idea, by the way!), then high-contrast baby books are the way to go. Since they’re filled with simple black-and-white images, they will be easier for your newborn to focus on, helping them to build strong literacy habits from the very beginning.
Here are a few great high-contrast baby book options:
This adorable book is filled with black-and-white high-contrast images for babies. The pages alternate between simple patterns and more complex animal pictures, so it can continue to help your baby’s vision development through a few different stages.
This pack of 6 crinkle books has a ton of images for you to introduce to your little one: shapes, animals, fruit, transportation, marine animals, and insects. Some of the crinkle books have exclusively black-and-white images, while others include a red hue. So you can start by introducing the simpler books to your newborn and progress to the more complex ones as their vision develops.
I love this book because, not only is it entirely in black-and-white, but it also unfolds and stands up on its own. This is perfect for tummy time, so you can place the high-contrast images in front of your newborn, giving them a reason to keep their head up!
What is your favorite way to use high-contrast cards with your newborn? Tell me in the comments!