Prep: 5-10 Minutes / Activity Time: 5-10 Minutes

Just as babies learn to walk and talk over time, they develop visual abilities in a similar progression. Black and white high-contrast images help to stimulate babies’ visual and brain development. Here’s an activity that introduces basic shapes and images to help set the stage for letter learning and pre-reading skills.

  • white, unlined index cards
  • black and red marker
  • tape
  • or, printed contrast cards

Step 1: Using a black marker, draw geometric images on white, unlined index cards. Simple lines and basic shapes are a good start -- you don’t want to overwhelm your baby, just spark interest. As your baby gets older, you can add a contrasting color like red or blue to enhance the visual interest.

Step 2: Using tape, place the cards in the places your baby looks during everyday routines. For example, you might put cards on the wall next to your diaper change area, under the sun shade of your baby’s stroller or car seat, or on a blanket on the floor during tummy time. Make sure the pictures are 8- 10 inches away from your baby’s face as that is the distance of her vision for the first few months.

Step 3: Following your baby’s gaze, describe the image she might be looking at. Watch to see when she shifts her focus to a new picture or away from the activity and follow her lead.