Can't go camping during the coronavirus outbreak? Pitch a tent in your living room. (Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

4 Creative Ways to Bring the Outdoors Inside

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Deep breath. These are some unprecedented times in the world. Here in California during this coronavirus pandemic, we are uniting to do our part in an effort to limit the viral spread by keeping our social distance: a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others. And while we Californians really love our outdoors, many parks and beaches have closed for public health safety during this time.

So you might be feeling a little stir crazy! Yes, COVID-19 has unfortunately shut down a lot of open space for now, but it won't be forever. In the meantime, Weekend Sherpa has come up with a few creative ways you can bring the great outdoors inside. Check them out and #OptInside.


Camp in your living room.

So your camping trip got put on hold? You can still set up camp in your home! This activity is surprisingly cathartic, as just breaking out the camping gear feels pretty good.

Move the coffee table and pitch your tent. You can also lay out your sleeping pad and sleeping bags, even your camping chairs. If you don't have all the gear, be creative: Move furniture around to make a fort-style improvisation, bring out pillows (much more comfy, anyway!) and create your own camp-haven out of the resources you've got. Then set your TV to YouTube's "Campfire by the River" by TheSilentWatcher. Perfect. You've now got yourself a sweet little camping spot right by the river.

Sit back, read a book, listen to the sound of the crackling fire and birdsong in the background. Play some board games or cards and, when evening comes, see if you can find a good stargazing channel to stream and gaze upon. Good night.

Make s'mores over candlelight.

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

Okay, let's hope you have a bag of marshmallows on hand, or maybe you have some Peeps you bought for Easter and can break them out early. Light a candle, preferably unscented. Place your marshmallow on the end of a fork and hold it about three or four inches above the flame. Rotate like it's a rotisserie. Careful here, marshmallows can catch fire if it's too close to the flame—slightly charred marshmallow is still kinda tasty, though. If you've got the graham crackers and chocolate (Hershey's is the old standby, but anything works), make s'mores. For the adults, we recommend pairing the s'mores with some whiskey because that's a great combo around a real campfire, so it should be equally great around the candlelight.

Take selfies at National Parks and other amazing destinations.

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

Okay, it sounds kinda cheesy but it's actually highly recommended! Tune your streaming TV to YouTube. Search something like "beautiful landscapes" and you'll find a variety of gorgeous and relaxing videos. We like Top 13 U.S. National Parks and Norway's Nature. Get a shot in front of the fjords of Norway! Crater Lake! Yosemite Falls! Get creative with it in your poses and your wardrobe. Snowy backgrounds mean hats, gloves, and jackets. Desert destinations call for T-shirts and sunglasses .... your screen background is Hawaii? Aloha! Break out a bathing suit (maybe hold off on the birthday suit though ... this is PG selfie).

Create beautiful prints using leaves, weeds, and paper.

(Courtesy of Ellen Rawley)

Here's a wild idea: Fill your indoor space with reminders of the natural world by creating leaf art prints. We got this idea from our friend, Ellen Rawley (@wild_still), a product development expert for purpose-driven brands. She's currently sheltering in place in her Petaluma cottage and coming up with all kinds of crafty ways to spend time indoors.

For this easy and beautiful craft project, you'll need leaves and flowers, paper (card stock is best, but computer paper will work), a hammer (a mallet is best, but a metal hammer works too), and a stable work surface you don't mind getting banged up, like a cutting board.

First, gather your materials from around your home, whether that's picking leaves in your front yard or harvesting from between the cracks in the sidewalk. While some flowers make good prints, greens and leaves are more consistently impressive. Some common weeds to try are crabgrass, oxalis, dandelion, and wild radish.

Back inside, arrange your materials on top of the paper. When you are happy with your composition, place a piece of computer paper on top and hold firmly while you hammer over the entire arrangement (if you're doing this with a little one, try taping the paper instead so that fingers are spared). Once complete, remove the top sheet of paper and peel off any remnants of plant material. Voila—you brought the outdoors inside.

Weekend Sherpa is a weekly email roundup and website covering the outdoors in California, and is currently encouraging people to #OptInside.

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