What works for me when I hear “Mom, I am bored?”
I put them to work. Really. Yes, work. Really.
Now I should mention here that we expect them to entertain themselves. As my husband’s mom use dto say–“I am NOT your entertainment committee.” That said sometimes they do need a little direction.
Now, I am not talking, “Go clean your room” type work. Nope. I give them something they will think is fun and set them to it.
He also loves to wipe things off–I give him a wet wash cloth or a wet wipe and he will wash all my walls, counter tops, and the fronts of all the cupboard, plus all the door knobs. With 5 people home constantly those things get gross.
With the girls it is trickier. Letting them dust is a big one. We got a free sample of Swiffer Dusters in the mail and they LOVE using those though they are just as happy with an old sock really (and the sock seems to work as well. (On the other hand the Febreeze allergy reducer stuff REALLY WORKS!!!! They LOVE spraying it on the curtains and furniture.) They also like washing the car and cleaning windows and mirrors, when I let them. (They go through too much spray and I always feel like I should be helping them–which I hate.)
Essie will also hang out the laundry to dry–she loves that, and Rachel will work on cleaning projects with specific goals willingly (like the basement so we can have an art class there or getting ready for the yard sale this weekend, or cleaning so we can have company.)
Not that they are actually bored that often–they spend most of their free time playing Wii, reading books, or helping the neighbors with their gardens. Which is why my house is seldom actually clean–they are too busy MAKING messes to need me to let them clean them up.