Black and White Cards for Visual Stimulation in Newborn Babies- Free Printable

by | May 13, 2021

Newborn babies bring so much joy! Between their oh so adorable sounds, and cute baby expressions- you just can’t get enough. If you are anything like me, you may be wondering about how your newborn is developing and what types of things your newborn is absorbing from the world.

One of those things is your newborn’s sight. What exactly CAN they see anyway? You may be curious about what your baby can actually see, and how you can encourage development in this area.

If you are interested in some expert input on how to support your newborn’s visual development you can read on for some insightful tips, suggestions, and even free black and white picture cards to use with your little one. (Download Below!)

What do newborn babies see?

“At birth, an infant is very sensitive to bright light. Within a few weeks they can see light and dark ranges, high contrast, and patterns (black and white), and are attracted to bright colors and objects right in front of them.” states Dr. Amanda Salter, MD, comprehensive ophthalmologist.

Dr. Sandra El Hajj explained, “Newborn infants are normally very nearsighted. This means that they cannot focus on things that are more than 10 inches away from them. This is why these babies tend to look at very nearby objects. They may seem to be looking at people around them but they will be seeing blurry faces.

What does this mean for you?

Your baby’s vision is not fully developed, but it IS developing and there are certain colors and patterns that are easier for your little one to view. Using high contrast cards for babies, along with black and white picture cards will allow your newborn the opportunity to increase their visual development.

Dr. Salter states that “at 1 month, babies still prefer focusing on bright objects within a foot in front of them. They can see distance (not as clearly) but prefer near objects.” This is typically the same distance between their eyes and their parent’s faces.

When you are preparing to use black and white cards for your baby it is important to remember this. You should aim to keep the black and white flashcards in an area that is near to your baby’s face. Choosing a distance that is similar to the distance between baby’s eyes and your face will produce the best results.

“In the first 2-3 months babies eyes may not work well together and you may notice the eyes crossing or wandering. If this is constant talk to your doctor. By about 3 months old this should correct, and your baby should be able to focus and track objects and maybe reach for objects.” says Dr. Salter, MD

You may notice that your babies eyes are crossing or wandering. As a new mother this may be concerning to you! I know the first time I noticed it, I was a bit worried! It is comforting to know however, that this is a typical response and not something to be concerned about.

By 5-6 months, they will have improvement in color vision and can recognize faces (parents) across a room. Depth perception also improves at this age and reaching for objects becomes easier.

What do black and white cards do for babies?

You may be wondering why is black and white good for babies anyway? What is it about this particular color arrangement that makes it an important part of your baby’s visual development?

Black and white picture cards are not only fun to use with your newborn but they also provide you with plenty of opportunities to watch your baby’s vision develop, and can help you notice right away if there seem to be any problems or issues.

“Baby’s are attracted to black and white and patterns as newborns. Using pattern cards or objects/toys with bright colors and shapes will attract your baby’s attention and you may get your baby to track the cards or toys with their eyes in the first few months.” Dr. Salter explained.

Bold black and white picture cards stimulate the development of your newborn’s optic nerves. When you take the time to use black and white flashcards and focus on providing your newborn with this type of visual stimuli it can train your newborn’s vision.

Using high contrast cards for babies teaches the eye muscles and brain to coordinate and function properly! Who knew black and white picture cards could be so important to your baby’s development?!

When can I show my baby black and white?

You can start using black and white picture cards and black and white flashcards as soon as your newborn comes home. Research actually suggests that babies can only see these colors for the first few months after birth. So providing your newborn baby with black and white picture cards allows you to maximize on the opportunity of developing your little one’s vision.

Activities for using high contrast cards in developing newborn vision

Looking for ways to stimulate your baby in their everyday environment? Here are some great ideas!

1. Create a black and white gallery for the nursery

Your newborn baby will be constantly moving their eyes and taking in the world around them. You can give them something productive to look at by adding these black and white picture cards to the nursery.

Adding these high-contrast cards for babies can improve your baby’s visual development while also making a bold statement in the nursery!

2. Add a black and white nursery mobile

You can find mobiles for baby’s everywhere, but when you are focusing on your newborn’s visual development it is best to use a mobile that is not only exciting and engaging for your baby, but also something they can actually see! You can actually use the free black and white picture cards download located below to create a DIY mobile for your little one to use.

All you need is a small circle like an embroidery hoop, some string, a hole punch and the black and white picture cards (download below!). Just hang the picture cards on the hoop for a fun and exciting DIY mobile for your baby.


3. Display Black and White Cards

Use the time your baby is awake to your advantage. Take black and white picture cards and display them where your newborn can see. You can set up these black and white flashcards on the floor during tummy time, or anywhere your baby may be during the day.

4. Play with black and white picture cards

Keep the deck of black and white picture cards within reach. When you are holding your baby you can use these high contrast cards for babies as a chance to play with your little one. Hold the black and white picture cards up and watch your babies eyes as they follow the picture.

A major milestone that you will notice is your baby turning their head. You can help your baby hit this milestone by playing with these black and white flashcards.

5. Black and white flashcards

You can use the black and white picture cards as flashcards for your baby. The more you practice with your baby and allow the opportunity for them to use their vision- the more you will see your newborn growing and developing.

6. Add Black and White Cards to Books

When you are reading to your baby you can tape a black and white picture card onto the book and watch your baby be mesmerized while also listening to the story you are reading.

7. Put black and white flashcards in the car

You can tape a few of these cards onto the back seat where your baby is facing. Allowing your baby to see these black and white flashcards can have a calming effect on your little one while driving.

8. Let baby explore a black and white floor or tummy time mat

Your baby's vision is not fully developed. Using high contrast cards for babies will increase their visual development.

Using a black and white tummy time mat, like this one from Etta Loves, is a great way to get your baby fixated on high contrast colors. This is a perfect distance from their eyes and a great place to play.

9. Tape black and white picture cards to your shirt

When you are holding your baby, you can tape one of the picture cards to your shirt. This will be the perfect distance away, and allow your baby to develop their vision while you are holding and enjoying them.

10. Tape the black and white flashcards on baby’s toys

You can tape the black and white flashcards on other toys that your baby’s have, such as their activity gyms, bouncers, or floor mats.

You can download the black and white flashcards below!


Having a newborn is equally exciting and exhausting, but it is important that you take the time to provide your baby with experiences and activities that will aid in their development. Using these black and white flashcards with your newborn is a perfect way to do just that. If you are looking for even more ideas to play with your newborn check out this post over at Just Simply Mom: How to Play With a Newborn.

Your baby's vision is not fully developed. Using high contrast cards for babies will increase their visual development.