The kids and I recently went to an event that had as its activity green crafting, which was a great frugal activity that I wanted to share with you, as it was really fun, not to mention can be done entirely for free.
All the crafting base materials were items found in nature, or things that would have otherwise gone in the trash. There were all sorts of dried out seed pods, shells, acorns, various sticks, wood, corn husks, stems, pine needles, pine cones and so many other types of forageable items, as well as bits and bobs of plastic that were saved from the trash, milk cartons, etc...
The only items that cost any money were the glue (hot glue, in this case) and paint.
There was a table with sample items, mainly different critters made from these materials, glued together, some painted and some unpainted.
Here's what our family members made at this crafting activity, so you, too, can get some ideas of things you and your kids can craft together from free materials. Of course, no need to what we're doing, just showing some possibilities.
A made up creature, inspired by elephants, hedgehogs, and who knows what.
A man and a spider.
And now- go out and collect! My entire family enjoyed crafting these (though the younger ones needed a little bit of help with the hot glue).
To keep this even more frugal, I'm sure you can do this with glue that isn't hot glue, it will just take more patience to wait for each bit to dry.
Have you ever crafted with nature? What did you make? What materials did you use?