They may start off rolling on the floor saying they are bored. But when mother is completely lacking in sympathy, a clothes-line is strung, buckets of soapy water appear, and the washing commences. Not to mention the tent held up by a stick and secured by boulders. (It's for the town mercantile, naturally.)
What's more, mother may be instructed to go away and not return until they are done. Ignore the children for a morning? Well, I'd be happy to oblige.
It's a win-win.