Are you the proud parent of a newborn? If so, a big congrats! As a new parent, you know just how quickly your infant grows and develops during their first few months of life AND just how much they sleep, eat, and poop. But there is one crucial milestone your baby will reach…the ability to track objects with their eyes. There’s no better way to help them achieve this than by an engaging activity to develop their eye-tracking skills. So here it is…a simple yet effective newborn eye-tracking activity that I’ve personally done to help my preemie twin girls. More importantly, this easy activity fits into a newborn routine seamlessly. Let’s get to it!
PS…I received this newborn eye-tracking activity tip from an occupational therapist while my girls were in the NICU. I currently do this activity DAILY and so far they both seem to enjoy it! More importantly, it’s benefiting their eye-tracking skills.
First, When Should A Newborn Track With Their Eyes?
A newborn should begin to track objects with their eyes at around 3 months of age but from my experience, eye-tracking can happen sooner.
Our one daughter, Lua, began tracking with her eyes in the NICU when she was around 30 weeks premature. Our twin girls were born 27 weeks early on June 23rd (my due date was September 22nd). I was pretty shocked when I came into the NICU one morning to hear our nighttime nurse say that Lua tracked with her eyes. She wasn’t necessarily “tracking objects” but her eyes reacted to shadows and movements. Still, what an amazing thing to witness and hear about, right?
Meet Lua (right) and her sis, Lily Mae (left). 🙂
Speaking of “tracking objects”, here is one of the best newborn eye-tracking activities to try.
Visual Stimulus Cards
As I previously mentioned, an occupational therapist told me to get Black and White visual cards to help our girls start to develop their eye-tracking skills.
Why Black and White Cards?
During the early stages of development after birth, infants have an easier time focusing on high-contrast objects and colors, like black and white. Black and white colors encourage focus and vision development early on.
I found cards on Amazon called High Contrast Baby Flashcards.
The reason, I chose this particular card set is that you can use them from birth up to 3 years of age.
Also, these cards have super high ratings and reviews AND are recommended as “Amazon’s Choice”. Rather than buying one set of Black and White cards, I wanted to get a set that I can use for my girls over the years.
Bonus, these cards are relatively inexpensive under $20 bucks.
Using these flashcards benefits a baby in a few ways:
• How to respond and listen to their name
• Strengthen the eye muscles
• Encourage visual stimulation and eye-tracking
With that said, here is how to use visual stimulus cards.
How To Use Visual Stimulus Cards
It’s best to hold the flashcards away from your baby’s face about 30 to 40 cm or about the length of a 1-foot ruler.
0 to 3 Months
Use black and white cards to enhance focus and stimulate vision and brain development.
At this stage, babies are sensitive to objects and images in the colors black and white.
Practice Tip: Hold each card up for a few seconds and then rotate to the next after your baby saw it.
3 to 6 Months
Use black, white, and red cards to increase color awareness and observation.
At this age, little ones start to increase their perception of color and shapes of items.
Practice Tip: Hold each card for a few seconds while rotating from left to right and up to down.
6 to 12 Months
Use pictures rich in color to help your babe recognize color and to inspire their imagination.
During 6 to 12 months, vision gradually improves and babies prefer to look at patterns with strong colors. Depth perception also heightens like far and near, left and right, tall and short.
Practice Tip: Again, hold each card for a few seconds while rotating from left to right and up to down. You may also go outside to introduce various objects and colors.
12 to 36 Months
Use 3-dimensional pictures rich in color to boost cognitive skills and visual perception.
During the toddler phase, a baby has the capacity to recognize and learn objects with practice. This is a key time when cognitive skills and visual observation develop quickly.
Practice Tip: As you hold up each card, say the name of the object and point to the little details on the card to guide your baby to learn and observe it.
Video: The BEST Newborn Eye-Tracking Activity Ever!
To Wrap It Up
There you have it…a simple newborn eye-tracking activity to help your little ones visual skills that you can easily incorporate into your day-to-day activities.
Visual stimulus cards continue to be a part of my twin’s daily routine and they really seem to enjoy it. When I hold up the cards, both my girls are engaged, sometimes smiling! And trust me, it’s so much fun to see your little one concentrate and follow the pictures with their eyes.
What other newborn eye-tracking activities do you recommend? Have you tried using visual stimulus cards? I’d love to hear about it so let me know in the comments below.
Until the next post, I’m sending you all the positive parenting vibes!
You made my day being here today, thank you!
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About The Author
Lindsey is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older bro! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, the blog Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation 501(c)(3) which helps children with cerebral palsy (like her sweet nephew, Lenny) receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive. ♥
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