I love kids' crafts that are inexpensive, easy and can be made from materials most of us already have on hand. I wrote Labor Day Crafts for Kids with this in mind.
The trend with crafts for kids has been toward elaborate projects that require a trip to the craft store and roughly $30 to get all the required materials. As a mom to three boys and a Cub Scout den leader, I just can't do that. Not only is it a pain in the rear to have to make the trip to the craft store, but it's also cost prohibitive to buy craft materials for every single project. My philosophy is to stock the basics, like paint, glue, markers, crayons, tape and paper. Then, I search the house, nature and sometimes put out a plea to other families when I need materials for Scouting projects. The less money we spend, the better.
We made a version of the Labor Day Leaf Collection Book at a Cub Scout meeting with first graders. It wasn't for Labor Day and we didn't put leaves in it, but instead used newspapers to find interesting pictures for decoration and collecting. I'm always amazed at how each child comes up with a unique design! This project was definitely a hit at our last den meeting of the school year in June. Best of all, I didn't need to shop for materials, though I did send my boys outdoors looking for sticks to make the book bindings.
I haven't made the Party Soda Can Shaker with my kids yet, but I'm going to at some point. Whether it will be an at-home project for just my kids or something I do at a den meeting, I'm not sure. But, I know it will be a free project that the kids will enjoy.