So it may seem unusual to see the little green sheds sitting in snow-covered playgrounds this time of year.
But the lively sounds of children playing, with an energized leader in a bright blue sweatshirt, make it clear — wintertime play options are coming to a park near you.
“I was picking the kids up from preschool and I saw the Green Shack and I thought it was a mistake,” said Steve Ostopowich, a father of three.
“I thought they dropped it off a little too early!”
But Ostopowich was mistaken, the City of Edmonton has turned the seasonal staple into a roving year-round program.
“It means fun, for hours and hours,” Ostopowich said. “Anything that can get my kids out of the house is pretty good for me.”
From September until June, eight different green shacks will rotate through parks around town. Each will be there for a month, open one day on the weekend, and two days a week after school.
“When the kids see us at first they’re like, ‘What? A winter Green Shack… that’s awesome!'” said Nicki D’Angelo, the shack leader at Brookview Park.
When the bell rings at George H. Luck School across the field, D’Angela says “it’s like hoards of multi-coloured snow gear that comes rushing at us, like, ‘Ah! It’s a green shack!'”
“Kids don’t care that it’s cold, they’re just really excited to play.”
Wintertime play options include building snow castles, snowshoeing, or flashlight tag during the dark December days.
The second year of the program has proven to be popular. The City says average visits per shack are comparable to the summertime months.
And though it costs the city about $120,000 more to operate the program year round, staff estimate 20,000 kids will take part in the fun this season.
The City has a full schedule of where the Winter Green Shacks are scheduled to be for the remainder of the season on its website.
– Margeaux Morin, Global News