I'm the founder of a nonprofit group (started in 1994), where nearly ALL hands-on activities were done at the programs on 'a shoestring.'
Additionally, I was the facilitator of an after-school science club for students grades 3-5 on the Navajo Nation and am happy to share some of my insights. I am going to reply and later offer an attachment, with more information that I have at home, if you'd care to get more. Also, be sure to follow up with any questions, comments or areas you'd like me to expand on.
First, understand any cultural sensitivity that may exist with the student population. For example, stepping outside briefly and asking students to do a survey of the wildlife that exists, even in an urban area, is simple, interesting and fun, if they have focus and a specific area to study. Some cultures may discourage handling insects, or other natural wildlife.
Drawing items collected
Classifying and ...
Resources for teachers to use for science on a tight budget that are easily assessible.