My baby sees a physical therapist once a week. Primarily we work on gross motor skills. The therapist gives us activities to do throughout the day every day.
Rubbing hands and feet
I am going to put one of my crazy ideas here. I believe that it is important to rub my baby's hands and feet. We give him firm foot and hand massages whenever we are holding him. I can post abstracts as to why I came up with this, but briefly: It seems our kids have fewer nerves reporting from their periphery into their brain. The lack of these nerves contributes to their balance problems, coordination, sensory integration issues, gross motor deficits, and fine motor deficits. Stimulating the neurons that exist can cause more to grow (especially during certain developmental windows). My hunch (pretty much a total guess) is that this window of opportunity is probably most pronounced during 4-8 months.
We have been doing this for a week now (starting at 5 months). Since rubbing his feet, he has been baring weight just a tiny bit. Since rubbing his hands, his grip has gotten much stronger. It could be coincidence. But, I assume it can't do any harm. After all, I wish someone would chase me around giving hand a foot massages. :)
If anyone tries it, be sure and let me know whether you notice anything or if it is just my wishful thinking.
Last year for Christmas we purchased a 9 foot by 9 foot inflatable moonwalk at Sam's Club. I think it was $150. It was certainly under $200. We bought it for our two girls two jump around in and get the winter wigglies out. I did a cursory google search for a link to one so that you would know for sure what I am talking about, but couldn't find one easily. I will keep an eye out, though.
The OT and PT are incredibly impressed with my boy (6 months) in the moonwalk. In fact after seeing the difference it made with him, both of them stated that they were going to look to get one to put in their "headquarters." It turns out to be amazing for his therapy. In this, he can get onto his hands and knees. Just to put this in perspective, this is a 9 month milestone. It really activates his body and it is great to see him sitting and compensating for all of the movement while the girls bounce in it. Plus, it is so soft, he can fall over and have the experience of falling and catching himself and rolling around where it is really fun. His tone is remarkably high when he comes out of the thing. It is tremendous for activating his little body. I think of it as sort of the cheap version of hippotherapy!
We had kept it in the basement, but now we will be pushing aside all of our living room furniture and moving it upstairs so that we can put him in it often.