Since I'm just getting started in the motherhood game (boys are 20 mo. and 3 years), I have not yet heard "mom, I'm bored." My boys still get a charge out of watching birds out the back window.
My sister, on the other hand, has five kids, the oldest now in college. She has homeschooled them all and I'm sure heard the dreaded phrase more than once. So I decided to ask her what to post for this week's WFMW:
(Edited for space, but pretty much verbatim. As if there's not enough space on the Internet for her entire answer...)
"First, when I read questions like that, I think what the person is really wanting to know is "What can I get my kid to do so that he will leave me alone?" 'Cause I can think of all kinds of things to do with my kids, but I didn't/don't always want to play along. Anyway, when one of my sweet cherubs would say they were bored, I'd tell them to stand in a corner until they thought of something to do. (And it could not be TV or computer.) It usually didn't take them too long to come up with something.
I did that because these kids I have should never, ever be bored! They have toys! They have books! They have a backyard! We gave them siblings! Enough to switch around even. Sheesh. The kid who comes to me and says he's bored better be prepared to pay the piper. Or clean something.
P.S. The disclaimer is that I know my kids and at what age I could expect this to work. I don't assume anything for anyone else. Also, the corners were always cobweb-free. Again, I don't assume anything for anyone else..."
So then I guess she started thinking about how a "kinder, gentler" idea might sound better to post for the masses, and she suggested getting the kids involved in the local library's Summer Reading Program.
Uh-huh, I bet there was a lot of worn corners in their house...