LINCOLN, Neb. – Though Nebraskans everywhere have been practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the community, camping enthusiasts need only look to their home or backyard for the ultimate “getaway.”
“Nebraska Game and Parks Commission knows that camping is one of many people’s favorite activities, and we want to encourage you to create memories with your family during this time by doing some of your favorite things at home,” said Parks Division Administrator Jim Swenson.
Until conditions allow for overnight camping at its state park and recreation areas, the Commission is encouraging people to pack up and pitch a tent at home as part of a new campaign: Camp At Home, Nebraska.
Those who participate can share photos of their “at-home” adventures by using the hashtag #CampAtHomeNE in their social post, or by sending photos via direct message to the Game and Parks Facebook page. Those who send a direct message with a photo, their name and address will be automatically entered into a drawing for prizes, including miniature camp lanterns and a grand prize two-night camping stay at one of our state parks after the threat of COVID-19 has diminished.
“We hope by camping at home, people can continue to foster their love of the outdoors while having a bit of fun during these stressful times,” Swenson said.
To help inspire, Game and Parks shares its top 10 tips for creating #CampAtHomeNE memories:
- Get everyone in your household involved in the planning and work together to design your ideal camp-at-home experience.
- Pitch your tent or make your own out of materials around the house wherever you have space — even if that means your living room.
- Gather around the campfire, built in an appropriate and safe location, such as a fire pit, fire ring, or even a clay flowerpot or metal bucket. Don’t have a safe place? Skip it!
- Focus on food. Roast hotdogs or tinfoil dinners. Whip out your cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven and make one-pot campfire meals. Or put all your energy into s’mores. The microwave, oven, barbecue grill and camp stove are all acceptable alternatives to cooking outdoors.
- Invent “camping” games using everyday household items.
- Go on a backyard scavenger hunt tailored to your interests. Moonlit scavenger hunts can add to the fun.
- Make your backyard a movie theater. Project a movie onto a white sheet or side of the house, or just huddle behind a tablet or other electronic device for a quaint viewing experience.
- Practice outdoors skills. Make a slingshot out of stick and rubber band, build a birdhouse, or practice casting.
- Fix gear. Replace fishing line on reels, patch holes in tents, or season cast-iron cookware.
- Light up the yard. Play hide-and-go seek while wearing glow sticks, or make your own camp lantern using an empty peanut butter jar and a battery operated candle.
“The important part is making the adventure your own, Swenson said. “We’ve given you some ideas to get started and hope you share your adventures with us to inspire others.”
For more ideas, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/CampAtHomeNE.