First of all, you should know that whenever I hear any of my children tell me they are bored, I clap my hands and squeal and do a little tap dance, (I took in jr. high) and then I hand them a toilet brush.
That is the standard assignment for anyone who dares to utter those dreaded words, so, as you can imagine, I hardly ever hear that complaint. Why, I can't even remember the last time anyone said it.
My children are pretty good at keeping boredom at bay, and here are a few things I do to encourage them to figure out for themselves how to keep from being bored.
Go to the library regularly. I let them check out lots of books. As in, I had to get special permission from the librarian to exceed the regular limit.
Have reams of blank paper and crayons, markers, and colored pencils available. My kids spend lots of time making books, posters, sending letters, etc.
Have games available. Battleship, Monopoly, Operation, and Stratego are some favorites around here.
Keep the television off. When they aren't accustomed to being entertained, they will actively seek to entertain themselves.
Have plenty of popsicles on hand and insist that they be eaten outside. (I also insist that if I find any popsicle trash outside, there will no popsicles for the remainder of the week.)
Tell them to come back inside as soon as they are ready to tackle a list of chores you have put together. They will stay out there for a good, solid hour at least.
I'm not sure why it is, and I know it isn't because we are involved in tons of extra activities, because we aren't, but my children really don't get bored. They occasionally complain about not having enough time in the day to get all of their playing and imagining and exploring in before bedtime.
They really are very imaginative about keeping themselves busy with exploring the world around them. (Check out the post where I documented them watching ice melt.) I suspect that this could be because they have plenty of time each day to decide for themselves what to do. They are accustomed to planning their own free time instead of having it planned for them.
Another factor that plays into this, I think, is that since we have a list of things each child is expected to accomplish each day (chores, copy work, Bible, math practice), when they get to their free time, it is seen as a treat for them to explore all the opportunities available to them.
How about you? How do you handle bored kids?