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What’s black and white all over? This play activity! Invite your child to explore this amazing play that will inspire curiosity and ignite their inner designer. In experimenting and examining each object independent of its color your little one will engage more deeply with all of the other properties of the play materials they are using. Open-ended and easy to set up this original play is sure to be a winner for children of ALL ages.

What’s Black & White All Over?

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What’s Black & White All Over?

Image of black and white materials such as a dryer ball with a panda face atop a white piece of paper with black circles. A perfect set up for this play-based learning activity.


  • A collection of black (or mostly black) objects of varying sizes, weights and textures
    Black objects might include a belt, a remote, a spatula, a black crayon, a pot top, black or dark spoons/measuring cups, an empty water bottle filled with black food coloring, toilet paper or paper towel tubes painted black/covered with black tape, balled up black construction paper, etc.

  • A collection of white (or mostly white) objects of varying sizes, weights and textures
    White objects might include cotton balls, a bar of soap, golf balls, a white crayon, tissues, Q-tips, socks, etc. 

  • A collection of objects that are both black and white
    Black & white objects might include dice, a toy panda, a remote control, newspaper, a toy zebra, a chess board, a mini soccer ball, salt & pepper shakers, etc. 

  • A large piece of white paper or a white sheet

  • A large piece of black paper or a black sheet
Image of a play-based learning activity set up featuring black & white  materials such as ropes, spoons, rings, boxes, and other household items atop black and white butcher paper.



  • First, lay out your white sheet/paper and place your black objects on top.
  • Next, lay out your black sheet/paper and place your white objects on top. 
  • You may choose to overlap your black and white backgrounds as shown here. 
Image of a child engaging in a play-based learning activity using black & white materials such as a bowl, spoon, roll of masking tape, plastic cup, and a musical egg shaker.


  • Explore your black and white playscape. 

  • Compare and contrast the different shapes and sizes of objects.

  • Which items can you put next to each other and play with at the same time?

Play your way! What else can you do with these open-ended materials?

Why Play This Way?

Providing only black and white objects for play encourages children to see and recreate patterns, think mathematically by counting and comparing “like parts,” and appreciate design, shape and utility without the distraction of color.

Better with a Book

At LᐧMᐧNᐧOᐧPlay!, we love to pair our play with a great book.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! If you liked this activity, you’ll LOVE our Book Club.
Discover special books and bring them to life with activities that make meaningful connections between reading and playing. 

join the book club!

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