The most recent edition of the Bright Kids newsletter had a great idea: the Boredom Bowl. Everyone takes small pieces of paper and writes down every free or very cheap thing to do that they can think of – visiting a pet store, going to the library, playing a round of mini-golf, etc. Then you fold up the pieces of paper, put them in the Boredom Bowl, and when you’re bored (or rather, when the kids say over and over again, “I’m bored, Mommy”), you pull out the bowl. Someone picks out an activity, and then you go do it.
(Of course, the alliteration in “Boredom Bowl” is appealing but it really makes more sense to use a jar with a lid for easy storage.)