I've written extensively about the Montessori mobiles, but what if they just aren't for you, what if you are looking for inexpensive alternatives using materials from around the home? Here are a few ideas.
Plants! Otto has a smaller plant in his room that he will often focus on, it's well positioned next to his movement mat. The area pictured above is under a window so this monstera plant's large leaves will move gently in the breeze, providing just enough movement to engage Otto. This plant also provides interesting shadows which I can see him observing later in the day.
The fringe on a blanket, scarf or shawl. I remember seeing a similar set up at Michael Olaf, where the baby was visiting a home with no mobiles and the family put a scarf on a lamp shade - perfect! Otto is only a week or so younger than the child in the video, so it was worth a try.
Toys! Toys hanging from a hook in the ceiling or from a baby playgym provide similar opportunities as the tactile mobiles like the bell or ring on a ribbon. Above he is using the Skwish which is nice and large (easier to connect with) and makes a soft rattling noise when he bats at it.
Round rattles or teethers provide a nice grasping opportunity but many like this also make a nice sound. Almost any rattle will do - use what you already have at home.
Above is his favourite rattle, it has a bell inside that makes a sweet sound. This provides a similar opportunity to the bell on a ribbon.
He loves to bat at his woven ball when it is presented like this. It has a bell inside which is nice and clear. The size of the ball also makes it easier to hit.
I know I don't need to cover the benefits of using such mobiles (visual tracking, coordination, concentration, learning cause and effect) but it's just wonderful to watch the joy and excitement the child gets from using them.