A few benefits to the MMA7361 Acceleromter are that it can be set to detect +/- 1.5g or +/-6g. I also have a very low power consumption and its small size even with the breakout board makes it an ideal fit for any project. Not to mention the relatively low cost.
Step 1: Materials
1x MMA7361 Acceleromter - Sparkfun has one with a breakout board
1x Proto shield/perf board
The every project extras: