When I brought Sicily home from the hospital, I was a new mom. And even though I had worked with babies in the past, I really didn’t have any expectations for how our days would go.
Sicily spent most of her day laying happily on the floor surrounded by bright colored toys. Nothing really kept her attention very long, but she still grew into a 2 year old who loves learning and can focus for a long time on a task.
Jump ahead 2 years and now I have Kade. Everything was great that first week with Daddy home. I resorted to my lay on the blanket with bright colored toys as I did with Sicily.
Then Daddy went to work, and Baby Kade was not giving me enough time to continue Tot School with Sicily.
I started looking up ideas on how to play with your newborn and found a lot of information on high contrast images. After some research, I decided to make a few cards to tape on the wall.
Well after a few tries, Kade loved spending his time looking at the cards. And it gave me a little more time to focus on our Tot School activities.
Benefits of High Contrast Images
Not only do high contrast images keep baby occupied for a while, it turns out these simple little cards make a huge impact on their brain development.
Babies eyes are not fully developed and their little brains have a hard time focusing when there are too many colors to distinguish. Black and white images are simple for their brains to comprehend and super engaging for them. The high contrast images are easier on their eyes and helps them learn how to focus on different objects.
When we practice tracking exercises, the cards help baby learn where things are in space. This is an important skill to learn and helps them to be able to reach for objects when they get a few months older.
One big complaint I get about teaching toddlers at home is their attention span. Toddlers do have a short attention span, but these little high contrast images can start increasing the time focused at an early age.
According to Huggamind, there was a study done where babies fixated on the same black and white images for 3 minutes a day. After a week their attention span (time focused on these images) increased from 10 seconds to 60-90 seconds.
How to Use High Contrast Images
It’s as simple as taping them to the wall. When Kade was between 0-2 months, I would tape 3 cards on the edge of the baseboard in multiple areas around the room. He moved around the room with us so he had different images every hour or so to look at.
When he turned 3 months, I set up a little area in a corner where I could tape a few images on each side of him to encourage head turning.
I made sure to place him in different positions when looking at the images so he didn’t develop a flat head and to encourage different gross motor skills.
I would lay him on his side for 5-10 minutes then switch to the other side. Cards were placed above his head and off to each side so he could turn his head at his own free will.
As he got a bit older, I would lay him on his belly in front of the cards to encourage him to lift his head. I started with placing the cards about an inch away and gradually moved them further out ending up on the wall in front of him.
Another activity you can do with the cards is tracking. Start by placing the card above your baby’s head. Give him a few minutes to focus then start moving the card slowly from one side to the other. Tracking can be hard for little ones, so it may take a lot of practice before baby understands what you want him to do.
Isn’t it amazing how the simplest things can make the biggest impact on the little ones? Be sure to download the high contrast cards I created for you to use with your baby.