High-contrast newborn and baby toys are perhaps the best toys you can get for your baby! Infants can only see black, white and a bit of red until they’re about 6 months old. That’s why toys and home décor that plays with these colors are what your children will find most visually stimulating and interesting to look at.
As you can imagine, their brains don’t work the same as our adult brains do. Our brains have matured and grown accustomed to the world around us, but babies’ brains can be overwhelmed by the new world and all of the information that’s constantly trying to make its way into their brains. What high-contrast shapes and patterns do is that they give your babies something simple, engaging and concrete to focus on. This concentration exercise allows their brains to rest from everything else that’s going on around them.
High-contrast toys can seem a little boring to you as an adult, but you really have to understand your baby’s stage of development to know that they’re perfectly designed to hold your babies’ attention. Once you get them a few of these toys, you’ll see just how wonderful it is for them.
Why should you give your baby high-contrast toys?
It might not seem that way, but newborns have the power of sight from birth. Of course, they don’t see the world as clearly as an older child or us adults, but they do respond to visual stimuli. Until they’re about 6 months old, babies will respond better to contrasting graphics and colors.
That’s why high-contrast toys come into the picture! By providing your babies with toys that contrast visual extremes such as black, white, and red, they will be able to focus their attention a lot better. That way you encourage visual development and also physical activity because they will get excited about these toys and they will kick, wave their arms and wiggle around.
There are not many producers of these high-contrast toys for newborns and babies, but the good news is that you can find wonderful high-contrast toys nonetheless thanks to the people who have noticed just how important they can be and they’ve put all of their productive powers to provide some cool high-contrast toys and even phone apps you can use to stimulate your child.
What is the magic of high-contrast toys?
Extensive research has been done on both babies’ development and the use of high-contrast toys. This research has consistently shown that newborns and babies indeed do prefer to look at black and white geometric shapes and patterns. If you’ve ever wondered why your baby is not at all interested in bright or pastel colored toys and images, it’s because for the first 6 months of their lives they’re not really seeing these colors. They can be interested in some of those toys, but it’s most likely because of their sound or texture.
Colors that are usually chosen to appeal to children do not fulfill their purpose because it’s all about contrast. The colors that provide the most contrast are the ones that your baby will find almost enchanting.
What’s so magical about contrast? Well, it has everything to do with the development of your child’s eyes. The structure of the retina that’s in charge of perceiving color (the rods and cones) are not mature enough to allow your baby to perceive the values and intensities of colors like green, yellow, purple, pink, blue and red. That’s why black and white are easier for them to perceive; this will be so for 6 to 9 months.
These first months are very important for their development, so you can’t allow for them to just be dormant until they can appreciate the color. That’s why high-contrast toys are a wonderful way to get them to focus and get familiarized with their world. Using flash black and white flash cards featuring animals or common objects, and even patterns and shapes, can hold your baby’s attention for an average of 4 to 5 minutes and it can even go up to 45 minutes after their immediate needs are met just like feeding, diaper change, etc.
You’ll be interested in knowing that out of all the geometric shapes and designs, babies are particularly captivated by circles. That’s because it’s much easier for their eyes to navigate the circle’s edges than to navigate the corners of other geometrical shapes.
What do babies see?
I know that you’ve wondered about this before, so let me tell you that studies have shown that when your newborn baby looks at the world, they can:
- See clearly within 13 inches from their face; that’s why you have to move things a little closer for them to focus, otherwise they won’t be interested.
- Follow appealing objects with their eyes as long as they’re held 10 to 13 inches from their face.
- Look at the edges of shapes and figures for the contrast between them and the background.
- See and distinguish some colors, more specifically: black, white, and a bit of red.
- Discriminate and discern shapes. That’s why if it seems like your baby prefers some shapes over others, it’s because they do!
- Perceive depth and three-dimensional objects. That’s why they’re able to look at the edges of shapes and distinguish them from their background.
Top 5 High-Contrast Toys
Now that you know about the wonders of high-contrast toys, it’s time to get a few for your newborns and babies so you can get them to have a little fun perceiving the world around them.
Getting a high-contrast mobile for their crib is perhaps one of the best ways to use high-contrast toys to get their attention. For the first few months, babies don’t get up to much, so when they spend a little time away from mommy and daddy’s arms, it’s good for them to have something to concentrate on.
That’s where this Musical Infant Stimulation Mobile comes in. It features a universal mount that will fit most standard cribs and it also plays classical Brahms’ lullabies. Your baby will not only be stimulated and soothed by the classic, calming melodies, but they will also get to focus on the high-contrast black, white, and red graphics cards that will be facing them.
You can buy this Musical Infant Stimulation Mobile on Amazon.
You can find a few types of high-contrast books, either made of fabric to add in that sensory play, and also board books. Today I bring you a couple of high-contrast black and white books; you can find them in white on black or black on white. They show illustrations of things such as animals and nature so you can show your baby and spend some quality time talking to them and making the sounds for the animals you encounter.
This hardcover high-contrast book is also a great choice for you and your baby. It’s accordion style and sturdy enough to stand by itself; it’s also the perfect size for little hands. Give them a try!
There are a few choices out there when it comes to high-contrast toys to get your baby focus and interested in a fun activity. Your choices are: the Sassy Ring O’Links Rattle that features several vibrantly colored rings on a black and white link, the Infant Graphic-Shapes Set which is a set of 3 soft, high-contrast blocks perfect for sensory play and to develop visual skills, and there’s also the Wimmer Ferguson Crawl & Discover Mat with a lot of wonderful features for your baby to discover and focus on. These are just a few of the choices available for you, try them out!
High-contrast baby apps:
Fisher Price has a couple of great high-contrast apps to get your baby to focus on images of cute and loving animals full of charm and simplicity. “Development with Contrast Colors for Baby” and “Black & White High Contrast” is both available for download on the Fisher Price site and your baby won’t get enough of them; they’re interactive, engaging, simple, and both the music and animations are just wonderful.
If you’re an Android user, you can get the wonderful Baby World App. It’s also available for iOS. This app comes with free sets of black and white flashcards, soothing, baby-friendly music and even a filter so you can experience how your baby sees the world.
High-contrast printable flashcards
A very inexpensive way to help your babies develop their visual skills is by printing free flashcards off of the Internet and making your own set of varied high-contrast flashcards so you can show your baby a wide array of images, shapes, and patterns.
These amazing high-contrast toys are great for your babies’ visual development and you’ll have a good time getting your baby to focus on something for the very first time because it’s just a wonderful thing to see.