Title:
Trampoline slide and convertible slide assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A trampoline slide assembly configured for use with a trampoline to facilitate efficient and enjoyable or fun mounting and dismounting of a trampoline. The trampoline slide assembly comprises, generally, a slide and means for securing the slide to the trampoline. More specifically, the trampoline slide assembly comprises a slide deck having a launch platform located thereon, wherein the slide deck is in close proximity to a jumping mat of the trampoline to facilitate accessibility therefrom, a lower landing situated in close proximity to a support surface; a slide having a contact surface extending between the launch platform and the lower landing, wherein the contact surface is oriented on an incline to facilitate a sliding action by a user, a step system operable with the slide to facilitate mounting and/or dismounting of the trampoline, wherein the step system is contiguous with the slide, and means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to a portion of the frame of the trampoline, wherein the means comprises any one of several different types of attachment configurations. The trampoline slide assembly may also be configured with a water delivery system to enable the trampoline slide to function as a water slide. Other types of trampoline slide assemblies may comprise inflatable slide assemblies in one or more configurations.



Inventors:
Finlinson, Brook A. (Lehi, UT, US)
Jacobsen, Greg G. (Kaysville, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/332821
Publication Date:
08/24/2006
Filing Date:
01/13/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/35
International Classes:
A63B5/11; A63B9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GINSBERG, OREN ISAAC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THORPE NORTH & WESTERN, LLP. (P.O. Box 1219, SANDY, UT, 84091-1219, US)
Claims:
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. A trampoline slide assembly configured for use with a land trampoline having a rigid frame, said trampoline slide assembly comprising: a slide having a supported, inclined contact surface configured to facilitate a user sliding thereon; and means for securing said slide to said rigid frame of said trampoline, at least a portion of said slide extending downward and away from said trampoline towards a support surface.

2. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising a step system contiguous with said slide and configured to facilitate the mounting and/or dismounting of said trampoline, as well as the use of said slide.

3. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 2, wherein said step system comprises a staircase having at least one step.

4. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 2, wherein said step system comprises a ramp having an inclined surface, said ramp being contiguous with said slide.

5. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 2, wherein said step system further comprising a non-slip surface.

6. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising a launch platform operatively related to said slide and configured to support a user and to provide an initial starting or sliding point for said user prior to sliding down said slide, and to ease the transition from said trampoline to said slide.

7. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 6, wherein said launch platform comprises a contact surface selected from the group consisting of a substantially horizontal contact surface, and a contact surface formed on an incline.

8. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 6, further comprising a slide deck that extends outward from said slide in a substantially horizontal manner, said slide deck being configured to assist a user in accessing said trampoline slide assembly from said trampoline.

9. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising padding located about at least a portion thereof for providing protection to a user during use of said trampoline and said trampoline slide assembly.

10. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 9, wherein said padding is selected from the group consisting of existing padding of said trampoline, separate padding removably coupled to said trampoline slide assembly, and any combination of these.

11. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising a terminal lower landing located at a base of and operatively related to said slide, said lower landing being configured to ease the transition from said slide to said support surface, and to slow the downward motion of said user upon sliding down said slide.

12. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 8, wherein said means for securing comprises: a receiver operative with said slide, said receiver being configured to receive and engage a portion of said frame of said trampoline, thus securing said trampoline slide assembly to said trampoline, said receiver comprising a u-shaped configuration that corresponds to a size and shape of said frame of said trampoline.

13. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 12, wherein said means for securing further comprises a releasable securing device configured to couple to said slide and to said frame, said securing device being configured to prevent said frame from releasing from said receiver once secured therein.

14. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 13, wherein said securing device is selected from the group consisting of a rope, a strap, a clamp, a hook and loop fastener, and any combination of these.

15. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, wherein said means for securing comprises: an attachment plate secured to said slide and configured to interface with said frame of said trampoline; a receiving portion formed in said attachment plate for receiving said frame; a mounting bracket configured to releasably couple said frame to said attachment plate, said mounting bracket being secured in place by a fastener.

16. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, wherein said means for securing comprises: a u-shaped structure formed in said slide and configured to initially receive a portion of said frame; and a locking component configured to prevent said frame from releasing through said u-shaped structure.

17. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 16, further comprises a slot integrally formed with said u-shaped structure, said slot being configured to slidably receive said portion of said frame.

18. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 16, wherein said u-shaped structure and said slot are formed in said slide at a location selected from a top surface, an underside surface, and a vertical face.

19. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising a water delivery system operative with said trampoline slide assembly and configured to deliver water about said trampoline slide assembly to enable said trampoline slide assembly to function as a water slide.

20. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 19, wherein said water delivery system comprises: a plurality of apertures formed in said slide, said apertures being configured to emit water onto a surface of said trampoline slide assembly; and a water feed line operative with said slide to deliver water to one or more of said plurality of apertures, said water feed line being in fluid communication with a controllable fluid source.

21. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 19, wherein said water delivery system comprises: a bladder configured to be removably coupled to said slide, said bladder being in fluid communication with a controllable fluid source; and a plurality of apertures formed in said bladder, said plurality of apertures being configured to emit water onto a surface of said trampoline slide assembly as delivered by said fluid source.

22. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising one or more feet extending from said slide, said feet being configured to interface with said support surface to provide stability and steadiness to said slide.

23. The trampoline slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising guard rails located adjacent said slide, said guard rails defining a boundary of said slide.

24. A trampoline slide assembly configured for use with a land trampoline, said trampoline slide assembly comprising: a slide deck having a launch platform located thereon, said slide deck being in close proximity to a jumping mat of said trampoline to facilitate accessibility therefrom; a lower landing situated in close proximity to a support surface; a slide having a contact surface extending between said launch platform and said lower landing, said contact surface being oriented on an incline to facilitate a sliding action by a user; a step system operable with said slide to facilitate mounting and/or dismounting of said trampoline, said step system being contiguous with said slide; and means for securing said trampoline slide assembly to a rigid frame component of said trampoline.

25. A slide comprising: a contact surface supported about a support surface and oriented on an incline, said contact surface being configured to facilitate a sliding action by a user from an elevated position to a lowered position; and a step system integrally formed and operative with said slide to facilitate ascension up said slide and/or descension down said slide by said user.

26. The slide of claim 25, wherein said step system comprises a configuration selected from the group consisting of a staircase, a ramp, and any combination of these.

27. A trampoline slide assembly configured for use with a land trampoline, said trampoline slide assembly comprising: a slide having a contact surface oriented on an incline, said contact surface being configured to facilitate a sliding action by a user; a rigid frame operative to support said slide; means for securing said trampoline slide assembly to a rigid frame component of said trampoline.

28. A trampoline slide assembly configured for use with a land trampoline, said trampoline slide assembly comprising: an inflatable component configured to form a pre-determined closed shape upon being inflated, said inflatable member having, at least as part of said shape, a slide comprising a supported, inclined contact surface configured to facilitate a user sliding down thereon to dismount said trampoline; means for securing said inflatable member to a rigid frame component of said trampoline.

29. A method for facilitating trampoline play, said method comprising: providing a trampoline slide assembly operatively configured for use with a trampoline; providing means for securing said trampoline slide assembly to a rigid frame of said trampoline; and providing a slide oriented on an incline and configured to facilitate a sliding action by a user from a surface of said trampoline.

30. The method of claim 29, further comprising providing a step system contiguous with said slide, said step system facilitating the mounting and dismounting of said trampoline via said step system.

31. The method of claim 29, further comprising facilitating said trampoline slide assembly to function as a water slide, wherein water is caused to be emitted about said trampoline slide assembly.

32. The method of claim 31, wherein said facilitating comprises: providing a plurality of apertures formed in at least a portion of said trampoline slide assembly, said apertures being configured to emit water onto a surface of said trampoline slide assembly; and connecting said plurality of apertures to a water feed line operative with said trampoline slide assembly to deliver water to one or more of said plurality of apertures, said water feed line being in fluid communication with a controllable fluid source.

33. The method of claim 31, wherein said facilitating comprises: providing a bladder configured to be removably coupled to said trampoline slide assembly, said bladder being in fluid communication with a controllable fluid source; and providing a plurality of apertures formed in said bladder, said plurality of apertures being configured to emit water onto a surface of said trampoline slide assembly as delivered by said fluid source.

34. A method for mounting and dismounting a trampoline, said method comprising: obtaining a trampoline slide assembly operative with said trampoline, said trampoline slide assembly comprising a slide and a step system; securing said trampoline slide assembly to said trampoline; ascending said step system to mount said trampoline; and sliding down said slide to dismount said trampoline.

35. The method of claim 34, further comprising descending said step system to dismount said trampoline.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/643,854, filed Jan. 13, 2005, and entitled, “Trampoline Slide and Convertible Slide Assembly,” which is incorporated by reference in its entirety herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to play structures, as well as to slides, ladders, and their combinations, such as in the case of a backyard play structure. More particularly, the present invention relates to a trampoline slide assembly and a convertible combination ladder/slide assembly, each of which are configured for use with a trampoline.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND RELATED ART

Since their advent, trampolines have steadily increased in popularity as they are continuously being recognized as providing enjoyable entertainment for children and adults alike. Indeed, trampolines are a common play structure that can be found in many residential households, in competition arenas, and in general recreational facilities. Currently, there are about 500,000 trampolines sold each year, with most of these being intended for residential use. Notably, the increased use of trampolines has spanned both residential and competition settings, such that the trampoline is now a well recognized piece of sporting or exercise equipment, in addition to the more familiar play structure found in numerous households. Part of the appeal of a trampoline is that its use is more than just recreational, it can be a great form of aerobic exercise for athletic training and a great way to showcase practiced skill and talent in a competitive manner. Nonetheless, most trampoline activity occurs within the backyards of residential homeowners around the world.

Despite the enjoyment and satisfaction that can be realized from jumping on a trampoline, there are many risks involved. What is seemingly a source of fun and way to foster competitive sport, a trampoline can quickly become a cause of serious injury and even death if not used properly. The increased popularity of trampolines has unfortunately resulted in a dramatic increase in serious injuries, including broken necks, spinal cord injuries, damage to internal organs, and disabling head traumas. In addition, trampolines are responsible for many less serious injuries such as broken bones, including legs, arms, and other parts of the body, as well as different types of dislocations and muscle damage. To make matters worse, the majority of these injuries occur among children under the age of 14 who do not recognize the inherent risks associated with jumping on a trampoline. While the majority of trampoline related injuries occur on the jumping mat, a large number of injuries are sustained while mounting and dismounting the trampoline. This is especially true for younger children who are smaller, and thus have a more difficult time getting on and off the trampoline because of its height with respect to the ground or other suitable support surface.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that roughly 80,000-100,000 people are treated each year for injuries sustained while jumping on a trampoline or otherwise using or attempting to use a trampoline. Accordingly, the CPSC has recognized the need and has called for the development of safety advancements to help reduce the number of trampoline injuries.

A typical trampoline, namely the frame and the jumping mat supported by the frame, comprises a jumping height between 32 and 34 inches as measured from its support surface, such as the ground, depending upon the particular make of the trampoline. This particular jumping height has been calculated to provide a safe jumping experience, while still achieving good trampoline performance. This particular jumping height has also been determined as the most optimum height for accommodating the greatest number of people, including children and adults, based on both age and weight, as well as the stiffness of the springs coupling the jumping mat to the frame. Indeed, most people can utilize a trampoline of this height with the jumper and the jumping mat displacing a sufficient distance without contacting the ground.

Despite the seeming advantages of providing a trampoline with a standard height, there are many instances where such a standard height is excessive. One particular instance is when the trampoline is purchased for use by children. Statistics show that the most common practice for consumers of trampolines is to purchase a trampoline not for themselves, but for their children. Occasionally adults will utilize the trampoline, but the majority of time it will be used by their children and their friends. Nonetheless, trampolines are manufactured to accommodate the majority of the population, and thus have a standard height between 32 and 34 inches. Because there seems to be no available alternative, many people purchase trampolines knowing that there is no easy and safe way for their children to mount or dismount the trampoline.

As indicated, many of the accidents that occur each year from trampoline use involve children attempting to mount or dismount the trampoline. Both of these required tasks can be extremely daunting for children as the frame and jumping mat are often far over their heads or beyond their stepping or even leaping capabilities. Unfortunately, because parents do not want to hoist their children on and off the trampoline each time the children desire to use the trampoline, both parents and children have resorted, and it has become acceptable, to positioning various objects in close proximity to the trampoline with the intent of using the object as a means for more easily accessing the trampoline, or more specifically, for mounting and dismounting the trampoline. Such objects may include chairs, buckets, step ladders, and other items, with the most common object being a chair. Placing these objects adjacent the trampoline for such purposes places children at unnecessary risk. Indeed, it goes without saying that such practices lead to injuries as the child must dismount an object being used in a way other than as intended. For example, a chair may fall out from under the child as the child leans away from the chair to mount the trampoline. Furthermore, injury may result from children falling off of the trampoline as they are trying to step down from the trampoline onto an unstable chair. Using various objects or items to mount and dismount a trampoline can provide an unnecessary and potentially dangerous fall for a child, or any user for that matter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In light of the problems and deficiencies inherent in the prior art, the present invention seeks to overcome these by providing a trampoline slide assembly and a convertible combination ladder/slide assembly, each of which may be used with a trampoline to accommodate safe, efficient, and fun mounting and dismounting of the trampoline, as well as to provide an enjoyable play device for users.

In accordance with the invention as embodied and broadly described herein, the present invention features a trampoline slide assembly configured for use with a trampoline, the trampoline slide assembly comprising: (a) a slide having a supported, inclined contact surface configured to facilitate a user sliding down therefrom; and (b) means for securing the slide to a frame of the trampoline, at least a portion of the slide extending downward and away from the trampoline towards a support surface.

In one exemplary embodiment, the slide may further comprise a step system integrally formed with and located contiguous to the slide. The step system may comprise a staircase of stairs, a ramp, or any combination of these. The step system functions to allow a user to ascend up the trampoline slide assembly to access or mount the trampoline. The step system may also be used to dismount the trampoline.

Also, the trampoline slide assembly may be operated with a water delivery system configured to enable the trampoline slide assembly to function as a water slide.

The present invention also features a trampoline slide assembly configured for use with a trampoline, the trampoline slide assembly comprising: (a) a slide deck having a launch platform located thereon, the slide deck being in close proximity to a jumping mat of the trampoline to facilitate accessibility therefrom; (b) a lower landing situated in close proximity to a support surface; (c) a slide having a contact surface extending between the launch platform and the lower landing, the contact surface being oriented on an incline to facilitate a sliding action by a user; (d) a step system operable with the slide to facilitate mounting and/or dismounting of the trampoline, the step system being contiguous with the slide; and (e) means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to a frame of the trampoline.

In addition, the trampoline slide assembly may comprise a water delivery system to enable the slide assembly to function as a water slide.

The present invention further features a slide comprising: (a) a contact surface supported about a support surface and oriented on an incline, the contact surface being configured to facilitate a sliding action by a user from an elevated position to a lowered position; and (b) a step system integrally formed and operative with the slide to facilitate ascension up the slide and/or descension down the slide by the user.

The present invention still further features a method for mounting and dismounting a trampoline, the method comprising: (a) obtaining a trampoline slide assembly operative with the trampoline, the trampoline slide assembly comprising a slide and a step system; (b) securing the trampoline slide assembly to the trampoline; (c) ascending the step system to mount the trampoline; and (d) sliding down the slide to dismount the trampoline.

The present invention still further features a method for facilitating trampoline play, the method comprising: (a) providing a trampoline slide assembly operatively configured for use with a trampoline; (b) providing means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to the trampoline; and (c) providing a slide oriented on an incline and configured to facilitate a sliding action by a user from a jumping mat of the trampoline.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Understanding that these drawings merely depict exemplary embodiments of the present invention they are, therefore, not to be considered limiting of its scope. It will be readily appreciated that the components of the present invention, as generally described and illustrated in the figures herein, could be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations. Nonetheless, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a trampoline slide assembly according to one exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the underside of the trampoline slide assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates a detailed view of the slide deck of the trampoline slide assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of the trampoline slide assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating exemplary locations for a plurality of water emitting apertures;

FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of the underside of the trampoline slide assembly of FIG. 1 and the water feed line fluidly coupling the hose and the water emitting apertures;

FIG. 6 illustrates the trampoline slide assembly of FIG. 1 as attached to a trampoline;

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of a trampoline slide assembly according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of a trampoline slide assembly according to still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 illustrates a side view of the exemplary trampoline slide assembly of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 illustrates a water delivery system according to one exemplary embodiment, wherein the water delivery system comprises a bladder configured to be removably coupled to the trampoline slide, and to emit water for the purpose of converting the trampoline slide into a water slide;

FIG. 11 illustrates a top view of the bladder water delivery system of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 illustrates a front view of the bladder water delivery system of FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 illustrates an alternative embodiment of means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to the frame of the trampoline;

FIG. 14 illustrates yet another alternative embodiment of means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to the frame of the trampoline;

FIG. 15 illustrates still another alternative embodiment of means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to the frame of the trampoline;

FIG. 16 illustrates an exploded perspective view of a trampoline slide assembly according to still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, wherein the trampoline slide assembly comprises a frame and a removable slide that couples to and is supported in one or more ways by the frame;

FIG. 17 illustrates a side view of the inflatable trampoline slide assembly of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 illustrates a perspective view of a trampoline slide assembly according to still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, wherein the trampoline slide assembly comprises an inflatable trampoline slide assembly;

FIG. 19 illustrates a rear view of the inflatable trampoline slide assembly of FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 illustrates a side view of a trampoline slide assembly according to still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, wherein the trampoline slide assembly comprises a combination ladder/slide assembly configured in a conversion state as a stand-alone play structure;

FIG. 21 illustrates a perspective view of the combination ladder/slide assembly of FIG. 20, wherein the combination ladder/slide assembly is broken up into its slide and ladder component parts, each of which are securely coupled to the frame of a trampoline;

FIG. 22-A illustrates a side view of the ladder component of the combination ladder/slide assembly of FIG. 20;

FIG. 22-B illustrates a rear view of the ladder component of the combination ladder/slide assembly of FIG. 20; and

FIG. 23 illustrates a rear view of the combination ladder/slide assembly of FIG. 20, with the ladder and slide components coupled together to form a stand-alone play structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The following detailed description of exemplary embodiments of the invention makes reference to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof and in which are shown, by way of illustration, exemplary embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. While these exemplary embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art practice the invention, it should be understood that other embodiments may be realized and that various changes to the invention may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Thus, the following more detailed description of the embodiments of the present invention, as represented in FIGS. 1 through 23, is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as claimed, but is presented for purposes of illustration only and not limitation to describe the features and characteristics of the present invention, to set forth the best mode of operation of the invention, and to sufficiently enable one skilled in the art to practice the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention is to be defined solely by the appended claims.

The following detailed description and exemplary embodiments of the invention will be best understood by reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein the elements and features of the invention are designated by numerals throughout.

The present invention describes a method and apparatus for facilitating play on a trampoline, and particularly a land trampoline having a rigid frame structure, wherein the trampoline is supported about a support surface, such as the ground. The present invention also describes a method and system for facilitating play on a convertible slide assembly, wherein the convertible slide assembly may function as a stand-alone slide and ladder combination with a ladder portion removably attached or coupled to a slide portion, or where the convertible slide assembly may be separated as individual components, in which the ladder and the slide are each configured to be coupled to a trampoline.

The trampoline slide assembly comprises a slide that safely attaches to a rigid frame of a trampoline. The trampoline slide assembly couples to the trampoline via a safe, attachment configuration that secures the slide assembly to the trampoline to ensure the safety of the users, especially children. Depending upon the exemplary embodiment, the trampoline slide assembly may comprise a generic design with very little features, or it may comprise one or more features, such as a built-in step system that allows users to climb up the steps onto the trampoline and return safely back down the slide, a water system to provide a water slide, and other features. The trampoline slide assembly turns the process of getting on and off of a trampoline from a safety hazard and a chore, into something as fun as the trampoline itself.

The trampoline slide assembly is configured to attach directly to the rigid frame of the trampoline, and preferably the rigid, horizontal outer frame component that supports the springs and jumping mat of the trampoline. In addition, the trampoline slide assembly is preferably made to attach to the frame so that it is operable with the trampoline without interfering with normal use of the trampoline. Specifically, the trampoline slide assembly is configured so that it does not interfere with the trampoline springs or the spacing of the trampoline springs. It is also preferably configured to operate with any padding used to cover the springs, or with netting or other assemblies often used with a trampoline.

The trampoline slide assembly is configured to releasably or removably attach or couple to the trampoline using any one of a variety of different attachment configurations. Several different types of attachment configurations are discussed below, which attachment configurations provide means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to the trampoline. In essence, the present invention contemplates an interface between the slide assembly and the trampoline, which interface provides an easy transition from the jumping mat of the trampoline to the slide assembly.

The attachment configuration, or means for securing, provides several functions. First, a connection interface is provided that allows the slide assembly to be releasably or removably coupled to a trampoline, as well as to different types of trampolines. Second, unwanted movement of the slide assembly is minimized through a secure attachment. Third, forces or loads acting on the slide assembly through use are stabilized. Several different types of means for securing are described herein. Other functions and advantages will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

In addition, the trampoline slide assembly may comprise various attachments that may be removably attached or coupled to the slide assembly for one or more purposes. For example, one attachment may comprise foam or other padding that may be removably attached and secured to the trampoline slide assembly for cushioning purposes. This padding may be made to function with or supplement any existing padding on the trampoline. In other embodiments, the trampoline slide assembly may be configured to utilize the existing padding of the trampoline to cover those portions of the trampoline slide assembly that are proximate the frame. An additional feature and another attachment may comprise a water delivery system that is configured to deliver water to the surfaces of the slide assembly, thus converting the slide assembly into a water slide. A standard hose may be used to supply water to the slide assembly, and specifically to the slide surface, thus providing additional entertainment for users. Specific types of water delivery systems are described below. Still other attachments may include a small splash pool located at the bottom of the slide, or a flexible sheet of plastic or other material that rests on the ground and extends from the lower landing of the slide assembly, and that functions to extend the slide across the grass or other surface, particularly as having water applied thereto.

The present invention trampoline slide assembly allows users, and particularly children, to get more use and pleasure out of a trampoline beyond simply jumping. Indeed, the present invention provides several additional ways to entertain users beyond what might otherwise be possible without the trampoline slide assembly. In addition, the trampoline slide provides an advantage by allowing a safe way to mount and dismount the trampoline as opposed to the hazardous ways described above. Thus, parents can feel safe by giving their children more freedom to access and use the trampoline. The following discusses several different exemplary embodiments for a trampoline slide assembly and a convertible slide assembly in accordance with the present invention.

It is noted that each of the embodiments discussed below are similar to one another in one or more ways, and that any one feature specifically discussed in a particular embodiment may be applicable to and featured in other embodiments. Therefore, the features discussed in a particular embodiment are not necessarily restricted to that embodiment, but may be incorporated into each or all of the other embodiments and their equivalents, as will be recognized by those skilled in the art.

Preliminarily, the term “mount” or “mounting,” as used herein, shall be understood to mean the accessing, the climbing, jumping or stepping onto, or the otherwise putting of oneself onto a trampoline for one or more purposes.

The term “dismount” or “dismounting,” as used herein, shall be understood to mean the climbing down from, the climbing, jumping or stepping off of, or the otherwise removing of oneself from off of a trampoline.

The term “means for securing,” as used herein, is intended as a broad term to encompass any means for coupling, resting upon, engaging, or otherwise interfacing with one or more components of a rigid frame of a trampoline for the intended purposes as discussed herein.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, shown are respective perspective views of a trampoline slide assembly according to a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention. In essence, the present invention trampoline slide comprises a dual function, namely to allow a user, and particularly a child, to access or mount a trampoline safely, as well as to provide a fun and efficient way of dismounting the trampoline. Specifically, FIG. 1 illustrates the trampoline slide 10 as comprising, as its main components, an upper landing or slide deck 14, a lower landing 40, a slide 60, a step system comprising a first staircase 76 and a second staircase 84, and means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to the frame of a trampoline, and particularly the upper horizontal frame component of the trampoline. In the figures, the trampoline slide assembly 10 is configured as comprising a size that extends from only a portion of the perimeter of the trampoline. However, the slide may comprise a size that is configured to extend around all or a portion of the perimeter of the trampoline, thus fully or partially enclosing the trampoline. Within such embodiments, one or more step systems may be employed, each being located at different locations about the trampoline perimeter. Although not shown, such embodiments are contemplated herein and are to be considered within the scope of the invention. In essence, the present invention is intended to encompass any slide or slide-like structure extending from a trampoline that allows a user to slide down an inclined surface to dismount a trampoline.

In some embodiments, the trampoline slide assembly may not include a slide deck or a lower landing, but may simply comprise a suitably supported slide portion and means for securing the slide portion to the frame of the trampoline.

The upper landing or slide deck 14 is configured to engage or couple to the frame of a trampoline, wherein the trampoline functions to support the slide assembly 10. In addition, the slide deck 14 is configured to extend outward to completely or substantially cover a portion of the springs connecting the trampoline mat or jumping mat to the outer frame when in its coupled position, thus increasing the protection the user has from falling through the springs when trying to access the slide assembly 10.

The slide deck 14 is shown comprising a u-shaped configuration having a step 18 and surrounding a launch platform 22. The step 18 is configured to support the weight of the user intending to enter and sit on the launch platform 22 for the purpose of using the slide assembly 10. The step 18 is located above a surface of the trampoline, namely the jumping mat, the springs, and/or the frame, and functions to assist the user in accessing the trampoline slide assembly from the jumping mat. The launch platform 22 is integrally formed with or otherwise operatively related or attached to the slide 60 and is configured to provide an initial starting or sliding point for the user prior to commencing or sliding down the slide portion 60. The launch platform 22 further functions to ease the transition of a user from the trampoline 2 to the slide 60.

In some embodiments, the launch platform 22 may be configured to comprise a horizontal surface. However, in other embodiments, the launch platform 22 may be configured so that its surface is oriented on a slight incline. One foreseeable reason for forming the launch platform 22 on a slight incline is to facilitate the flow of water from the launch platform 22 down the slide 60, such as in the case in which the slide assembly 10 further comprises components for allowing the slide assembly 10 to function as a water slide. An inclined launch platform 22 will help to keep water from accumulating thereon. As with the other components of the trampoline slide assembly 10, the launch platform 22 is configured to support the weight of a user intending to use the trampoline slide assembly 10. Another reason might be to facilitate the transition from the launch platform 22 to the slide 60.

Extending upward from the slide deck 14 and positioned between the step 18 and the launch platform 22 is an upper rail 26. The upper rail 26 functions to separate the launch platform 22 from the step 18, as well as to assist the user in positioning himself or herself on the launch platform 22. The upper rail 26 is integrally formed with first and second guard rails 68 and 72. The upper rail 26 may comprise the same or a different height than the guard rails 68 and 72.

The upper slide deck 14 further comprises means for securing the slide assembly 10 to a trampoline, and particularly to a rigid frame component of the trampoline, using one or more different types of attachment configurations. In the particular embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, means for securing comprises the slide deck 14 having formed therein, namely within a portion of its underside, first and second receivers 30 and 34, each of which are configured to engage respective portions of the frame of a trampoline, thus securing the trampoline slide assembly 10 to the trampoline. As shown, first and second receivers 30 and 34 comprise a semi-circular configuration formed in the underside portion of the step 18, which semi-circle configuration corresponds to the circular size and shape of the horizontal frame component of the trampoline to which the slide assembly 10 is being attached, thus allowing the frame of the trampoline to be received into the first and second receivers 30 and 34. First and second receivers 30 and 34 may be located in other positions about the upper slide deck 14, as will be recognized by one skilled in the art. In an alternative embodiment, the trampoline slide assembly 10 may be configured with a single receiver spanning beneath the slide deck and forming a channel having a configuration configured to receive the frame of the trampoline. Thus, first and second receivers 30 and 34 are not intended to be limiting in any way. Again, other means for securing the slide assembly 10 to the frame of a trampoline are contemplated and intended to be covered by the present invention. Examples of other means for securing are set forth and explained below.

The trampoline slide assembly 10 further features a slide 60 spanning between the upper slide deck 14 and the lower landing 40. The slide 60 functions as any prior related slide, and allows a user to quickly and enjoyably dismount the trampoline. More specifically, the slide 60 is oriented on an incline and functions to support and facilitate a sliding motion by a user from an elevated position to a lowered position. In one exemplary embodiment, as shown, the slide 60 is integrally formed with (or otherwise operatively related or coupled to the launch platform) and extends outward and down from the launch platform 22 of the slide deck 14. In another exemplary embodiment, the trampoline slide assembly may not comprise a launch platform, in which case the slide 60 may be configured to extend immediately downward from a portion of the trampoline.

The slide 60 comprises a contact surface 64 configured to receive and support a user in a downward sliding manner, as well as to provide a surface for water flow in those embodiments featuring operable water slide components. The slide 60 is oriented on an incline and extends between the upper slide deck 14 and the lower landing 40, as shown, to provide a fun and safe way for the user to get off of or dismount the trampoline. The slide 60 may be formed on any incline, as will be recognized by one skilled in the art, but will typically comprise an incline between 30° and 60°.

Also, as will be obvious to those skilled in the art, the slide 60 may comprise a curved configuration, rather than a linear configuration. In other words, the slide 60 may have one or more bends therein as extending between the trampoline and the support surface.

Running parallel to the slide 60 on opposite sides are first and second guard rails 68 and 72. First and second guard rails 68 and 72 also provide many possible functions. First, they may function as boundaries or barriers for the slide 60. Second, they may function to separate the slide 60 from the first and second staircases 76 and 84, thus making it easier to use both. Third, they may function as guides to ensure the user stays on the slide 60 during use. Fourth, they may function as hand rails for a user sliding down the slide 60 or climbing up the staircases 76 and 84. Finally, they may function as barriers to contain the water flowing down the slide in those embodiments featuring components enabling the slide assembly 10 to operate as a water slide. The guard rails 68 and 72 are configured to extend upward from the slide 60 any suitable distance.

The trampoline slide assembly 10 further features a lower landing 40. The lower landing 40 is positioned at the base of the slide 60 and is configured to function as the terminal end of the trampoline slide assembly 10. Specifically, the lower landing 40 comprises a terminal platform 44 that is integrally formed with the slide 60 and that is horizontal or substantially horizontal to the ground level, thus ending the incline of the slide 60 and slowing the downward motion of the user to assist the user in coming to a stop. In essence, the lower landing 40 functions to ease the transition from the slide 60 to the support surface, such as the ground. The lower landing 40 further comprises terminal rails 48 and 52, which are integrally formed with or that are an extension of first and second guardrails 68 and 72, discussed above.

As indicated above, the trampoline slide assembly 10 further comprises a step system that is integrally formed with or coupled to or otherwise operatively related to the slide portion of the trampoline slide assembly. The step system is preferably a part of the trampoline slide assembly 10, and is generally, but not necessarily, oriented on the same or a similar incline as the slide 60. Thus, the step system may be said to be integrally formed with the slide portion, and oriented parallel thereto. The step system is designed to provide a way for a user to ascend directly up the trampoline slide assembly to access and use either or both of the trampoline and/or the slide assembly in a safe and efficient manner, without having to resort to various objects, such as chairs, that may be used in an unintended manner. Indeed, a user may slide down the slide and then immediately thereafter scale the step system of the trampoline slide assembly to again access the slide or the trampoline. The step system may also provide an alternative way down the slide assembly rather than requiring the user to use the slide 60.

In one exemplary embodiment, the step system is shown in FIG. 1 as comprising first and second staircases 76 and 84. First staircase 76 comprises a series of steps 80 leading from the lower landing 40 up to the step 18 of the slide deck 14. Similarly, the second staircase 84 comprises a series of steps 88 leading from the lower landing 40 to the step 18 of the slide deck 14. First and second staircases 76 and 84 are configured and function to allow a user to ascend up the trampoline slide assembly 10 for the purpose of accessing or mounting and using the trampoline and/or the slide 60 of the trampoline slide assembly 10. The first and second staircases 76 and 84 are shown juxtaposed to the first and second guardrails 68 and 72 respectively, and are located on each side of the slide 60. Thus, in using the trampoline slide assembly 10, and particularly the step ladder system, a user simply straddles the slide 60, and also the first and second guardrails 68 and 72, while climbing up each of the first and second staircases 76 and 84. Alternatively, the staircases 76 and 84 may be made wide enough to allow the user to ascend either staircase alone, without requiring the child to straddle the slide 60 and use both staircases. Means for securing the trampoline slide assembly 10 to the frame of the trampoline should be configured to accommodate the offsetting loads that would be applied in the event only one staircase is used to ascend the trampoline slide assembly 10.

Although the exemplary embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrates a staircase on each side of the slide 60, it is also contemplated that a single staircase may be utilized. In the single staircase configuration, a single staircase would be located on either side of the slide 60, rather than on both sides as in the dual staircase configuration shown. The single staircase may comprise a series of steps allowing the user to ascend the slide assembly 10 and access the trampoline similar to the dual staircase configuration discussed above and shown in the drawings. However, in this embodiment, the user would not be required to straddle the slide 60 while climbing the stairs. Again, in such an embodiment, means for securing may be appropriately configured to support the offset loads and accommodate use of the slide assembly 10 in this particular configuration.

Each of the first and second staircases 76 and 84 may comprise any number of steps 80 and 88, respectively. This will largely depend upon the size of the trampoline slide assembly and the incline of the slide portion. The first and second staircases 76 and 84 may further comprise first and second ribs 102 and 106 located on their outer edges and that protrude upward from the surface of the stairs to provide a structural stopper or barrier to help contain the foot of the user and to prevent inadvertent sliding or slipping of the foot off the stairs during ascension up the staircases.

The plurality of steps 80 and 88 in each of the first and second staircases 76 and 84 may further comprise a non-slip surface to help the user climbing (ascending or descending) the staircases to maintain proper grip and balance. The non-slip surface may be integrally formed within the steps at the time of manufacture of the slide assembly 10, or it may comprise some type of non-slip material subsequently applied to the surface of each stair. FIG. 1 illustrates non-slip surface 110 as formed into or applied to the upper stair of the first staircase 76.

In another exemplary embodiment, the step system comprises a ramp or a series of ramps, or other similar inclined surfaces, instead of a staircase. An exemplary ramp 90 is illustrated in FIG. 1 in dotted or phantom lines. The ramp 90 will provide the same function as staircase 84, only without steps. The ramp(s) will preferably comprise a non-slip surface to reduce the potential for sliding or slippage. In still another exemplary embodiment, the step system may comprise a combination of ramps and stairs. Other configurations besides these are contemplated and will be obvious to those skilled in the art.

The trampoline slide assembly 10 further comprises first and second slots 92 and 94 formed in the step 18 of the upper slide deck 14. These slots 92 and 94 are configured to be positioned proximate the frame of the trampoline once it is received within and engaged with the first and second receivers 30 and 34. The slots 92 and 94 function to receive some type of securing device (not shown), such as a strap, a rope, etc., that may be used to further secure the trampoline slide assembly 10 to the frame of the trampoline, and to prevent the releasing of the frame from the receiver(s). As shown, slots 92 and 94 are located substantially above and in line with the first and second receivers 30 and 34 respectively. In use, a securing device, preferably an adjustable strap, in inserted through the slot 92 and wrapped around the frame of the trampoline and the outer surface of the upper slide deck 14. The strap is then tightened to securely couple the trampoline slide assembly 10 to the frame of the trampoline. Alternatively, the securing device may comprise a clamp or other suitable device.

The trampoline slide assembly 10 further comprises first and second feet 96 and 98 extending from the bottom of the first and second staircases 76 and 84. Optionally, similarly configured feet may be located on the underside portion of the lower landing 40. First and second feet 96 and 98 are configured to interface with the ground to stabilize the trampoline slide assembly 10 once coupled to the frame of the trampoline. As shown, first and second feet 96 and 98 comprise a protrusion that may partially penetrate or sufficiently interact with the ground to prevent lateral and longitudinal movement of the trampoline slide assembly 10 while in use. First and second feet 96 and 98 may further comprise any type of additional stabilizing means, such as a blunt spike that further penetrates the ground, or series of cleats that reduce the tendency for the slide assembly 10 to shift or move during use.

Optionally, the trampoline slide assembly 10 may further comprise a hand rail, shown as handrail 114, configured to assist the child in ascending up the trampoline slide assembly 10. The handrail 114 may be securely coupled to the upper slide deck 14 and the lower landing 40, or the first staircase 76, as shown, in a fixed or removably coupled manner, and may be any pre-determined or adjustable height. The trampoline slide assembly 10 may comprise a single handrail, or two handrails, one on each side.

With reference to FIG. 3 illustrated is a detailed view of the upper slide deck 14 of the exemplary embodiment of the trampoline slide assembly 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. As can be seen from FIG. 3, the upper slide deck 14 and particularly the upper rail 26, further comprises a series of apertures 122 formed therein. Apertures 122 are fluidly connected to a water delivery system, thus allowing the trampoline slide assembly 10 to function as a water slide. In this embodiment, the water delivery system comprises a water feed line (not shown) that comprises a connection enabling it to be fluidly connected to a water source via a fluid feed line, such as a standard garden or other similar hose. Once a hose is connected to the water feed line and turned on, water is allowed to flow through the water feed line to be emitted through each of the apertures 122 formed in the upper landing or slide deck 14. Water emitted from the apertures 122 is directed onto the surface of the launch platform 22. From here, the water is preferably not allowed to accumulate for long periods of time, but is further directed to flow down the surface 64 of the slide 60, thus providing the trampoline slide assembly 10 with a water slide effect. As will be shown below, any number of apertures 122 may be formed in the trampoline slide assembly 10, as well as formed in any location, even at the bottom on the lower landing 40.

With reference to FIG. 4 illustrated is a perspective view of the trampoline slide assembly 10 showing a plurality of apertures 122 formed within the various components of the trampoline slide assembly 10, namely formed at several different locations along the slide assembly 10. FIG. 4 illustrates how the trampoline slide assembly 10 may function as a water slide with water being emitted at different points or locations along the slide assembly 10. As such, the formation of the apertures 122 in the upper rail 26 of the slide deck 14, as shown in FIG. 3, is not intended to be limited in any way. Furthermore, it is not intended that the particular location of the apertures 122, as shown in FIG. 4, be limiting in any way. Indeed one skilled in the art will recognize the trampoline slide assembly 10 may comprise any number of apertures 122 formed in any location about the trampoline slide assembly 10, with the water delivery system being configured to correspond to these. As shown in FIG. 4, the exemplary trampoline slide assembly 10 comprises a series of apertures 122 formed in the upper slide deck 14, first and second guardrails 68 and 72, the surface 64 of the slide 60, and also the terminal platform 44 of the lower landing 40. The water feed line (not shown, but discussed below) is fluidly coupled to each of these apertures 122, and provided means by which water may be directed to the apertures 122 to be emitted therefrom.

With reference to FIG. 5, illustrated is a perspective view of the underside of the trampoline slide assembly 10. FIG. 5 illustrates a plurality of apertures 122 formed within the slide assembly 10 at various locations as discussed above, which apertures 122 function as fluid emitters to allow the slide assembly 10 to function as a water slide. FIG. 5 further illustrates and the present invention further features a water delivery system in the form of a water feed line 126 configured to fluidly couple each of the apertures 122 to a delivery line, or hose 140. The water feed line 126 functions as the means for delivering water to the plurality of apertures 122 for the purpose of allowing water to be emitted from the apertures 122 onto the surrounding or corresponding surfaces of the trampoline slide assembly 10, or to an area adjacent or about the trampoline slide assembly 10. The water feed line 126 is configured to attach to the underside of the trampoline slide assembly 10 using any attachment means commonly known in the art. Water feed line 126 is further configured to fluidly couple to a standard hose 140. Thus, water feed line 126 comprises an attachment 130 capable of fluidly connecting to the connection 144 located on the end of the hose 140. The connection of the water feed line 126 to the hose 140 functions to allow water to be delivered from the hose 140 to the water feed line 126, which water is received from a controllable fluid source 148.

The water feed line comprises a primary supply line 134 and a series of secondary lines 138 branching off of the primary supply line 134. Once the fluid source 148 is activated, water is directed through the hose 140, into the water feed line 126, and particularly the primary supply line 134. From here, the water is directed to each of the secondary lines 138, which are fluidly connected to the respective apertures 122 formed in the trampoline slide assembly 10. Essentially, water is directed to and caused to be emitted from the apertures 122 to allow the trampoline slide assembly 10 to function as a water slide.

In another exemplary embodiment, the trampoline slide assembly may have contained or housed therein a bladder or bladder system that can be filled with water. The bladder may be fluidly coupled to each of the several apertures formed in the slide assembly in a similar manner as described above. In addition, when filled with water, the bladder system may function to provide added security and safety by balancing and distributing the weight of the trampoline slide assembly and any loads received by the trampoline slide assembly during use.

FIG. 6 illustrates the trampoline slide assembly 10 as coupled and secured to the rigid, horizontal frame component 4 of a trampoline 2, which frame 4 is typically made of metal or another rigid material. As shown, the upper slide deck 14 protrudes across the frame 4, the springs 6, and partially onto the jumping mat 8, thus protecting a user from falling through the springs 6 while trying to use the trampoline slide assembly 10 during play to dismount the trampoline. In practice, the trampoline slide assembly 10 functions to allow a user to climb up or ascend the slide assembly 10 using the first and second staircases 76 and 84 to access the trampoline 2. Furthermore, the trampoline slide assembly 10 functions to allow the user to slide down the slide 60 to reach the ground level when it is desired to dismount the trampoline 2. Thus, the present invention eliminates unsafe practices commonly found in the art to assist a user in both mounting and dismounting a trampoline. FIG. 6 further illustrates a portion of the water feed line 126 having the connection 130 coupled thereto as discussed above.

With reference to FIG. 7, illustrated is a trampoline slide assembly according to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the trampoline slide assembly 210 comprises a generic slide that couples to the rigid frame 4 of the trampoline 2 without interfering with the springs 6 or jumping mat 8. The trampoline slide assembly 210 comprises an upper landing or slide deck 214 that also functions as a launch platform 222. Extending downward on an incline from the slide deck 214 and launch platform 222 towards the ground is slide portion 260. Likewise, extending from the slide 260 is the lower landing 240 configured to support the terminal platform 244. The slide assembly 210 comprises a slide surface 264 comprised of a suitable material that functions to facilitate the sliding of a user down the slide from the trampoline 2.

It is contemplated that the slide assembly 210 may be configured to comprise any of the features or elements or components described herein with respect to any of the other exemplary trampoline slide assembly embodiments. For instance, first and second guard rails 268 and 272 may be located and positioned on each side of the slide assembly 210 to help prevent the user from slipping off of the trampoline. The guard rails 268 and 272 may extend the entire length of the slide assembly 210, or terminate at any point. In addition, the slide assembly 210 may be configured even more generically, without a launch platform or landing, as shown. In such an embodiment, the slide assembly would consist of a slide having an inclined contact surface, and means for securing the slide to the frame. Again, all other features described herein may be incorporated into such a generic slide. Although not shown, the slide assembly 210 may also be configured as a water slide as taught herein.

The attachment configuration used to releasably secure or attach the trampoline slide assembly 210 to the frame 4 of the trampoline 2 may be any known in the art and/or described herein. In the exemplary embodiment shown, the attachment mechanism comprises the same type as described below and illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9.

With reference to FIG. 8, illustrated is a trampoline slide assembly according to still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. In this particular embodiment, and similar to the exemplary embodiment described above and shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the trampoline slide assembly 310 comprises, as its main components, an upper landing or slide deck 314, a lower landing 340, a slide 360, a step system comprising a first staircase 376 and a second staircase 384, and means for securing the trampoline slide assembly 310 to a trampoline 2.

The upper landing or slide deck 314 of the trampoline slide assembly 310 is configured in somewhat of a different configuration than the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2. In this embodiment, the slide deck 314 is shown as not being configured to extend to completely or substantially cover either a portion of the springs 6 or a portion of the jumping mat 8. As such, the slide deck 314 does not function to protect a user from falling through the springs when trying to access the trampoline slide assembly 310. However, it will be obvious to one skilled in the art that slide assembly 310 may be configured to comprise a slide deck that does extend over the springs 6.

The slide deck 314 is shown as comprising a u-shaped configuration surrounding a launch platform 322. The launch platform 22 is integrally formed with the slide 360, or configured to extend therefrom, and is configured to provide an initial sliding point for the user, or in other words, to receive the user immediately prior to the user sliding down the slide portion 360. In some embodiments, the launch platform 322 may comprise a flat planar surface. However, in other embodiments, the launch platform 322 may comprise a surface oriented on a slight incline. One foreseeable reason for configuring the launch platform 22 on a slight incline is to allow water to flow from the launch platform 322 down the slide 360, such as in the case in which the slide assembly 310 further comprises components for allowing the slide assembly 310 to function as a water slide. An inclined launch platform 322 will help to keep water from accumulating thereon. As with the other components of the trampoline slide assembly 310, the launch platform 322 is configured to support the weight of a user intending to use the trampoline slide assembly 310.

Unlike the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the trampoline slide assembly 310 does not comprise an upper rail separating the launch platform 322 from a step. Instead, upper portions of first and second guard rails 368 and 372 terminate on opposing sides of one another on the slide deck 314 without connecting, thus providing an unobstructed access or opening to the launch platform 322 for the user to enter in preparation of sliding down the slide. However, it will be obvious to one skilled in the art that an upper rail may be provided in this embodiment, if desired.

The trampoline slide assembly 310 further features a slide 360 spanning between the upper slide deck 314 and the lower landing 340. As shown, the slide 360 is integrally formed with and extends outward and down from the launch platform 322 of the slide deck 314. The slide 360 comprises a surface 364 configured to receive and support a user, as well as to provide a surface for water flow in those embodiments featuring operable water slide components. The slide 360 is oriented on an incline and extends between the slide deck 314 and the lower landing 340, as shown, to provide a fun and safe way for the user to get off of or dismount the trampoline. The slide 360 may be formed on any incline, as will be recognized by one skilled in the art, but will typically comprise an incline between 30° and 60°.

Running parallel to the slide 360 on opposite sides are first and second guard rails 368 and 372. First and second guard rails 368 and 372 are the same or similar to those discussed above, and provide the same or similar functions and advantages.

The trampoline slide assembly 310 further features a lower landing 340 that is positioned at the base of the slide 360, and that is configured to function as the terminal end of the trampoline slide assembly 310. The lower landing 340 comprises a terminal platform 344 that is integrally formed with the slide 360 and that is horizontal or substantially horizontal to the ground level, thus ending the incline of the slide 360. The lower landing 40 further comprises terminal rails 348 and 352, which are integrally formed with or that are an extension of first and second guardrails 368 and 372.

As indicated above, the trampoline slide assembly 310 further comprises a step system configured to allow a user to ascend the trampoline slide assembly 310 for the purpose of accessing the trampoline for use or for sliding down the slide assembly 310, or both. The step system comprises first and second staircases 376 and 384. First staircase 376 comprises a series of steps 380 leading from the lower landing 340 up to the upper slide deck 314. Similarly, the second staircase 384 comprises a series of steps 388 leading from the lower landing 340 to the slide deck 314. First and second staircases 376 and 384 provide an efficient and safe way to ascend up the trampoline slide assembly 310.

The first and second staircases 376 and 384 are shown juxtaposed to the first and second guardrails 368 and 372, respectively, on each side of the slide 360. Thus, in using the trampoline slide assembly 310, and particularly the step system, a user simply straddles the slide 360, and also the first and second guardrails 368 and 372, while climbing up each of the first and second staircases 376 and 384. Alternatively, the staircases 376 and 384 may be made wide enough to allow the user to ascend either staircase alone, without requiring the user to straddle the slide 360 and use both staircases. Means for securing the trampoline slide assembly 310 to the frame 4 of the trampoline should be appropriately configured to accommodate the offsetting loads that would be applied in the event only one staircase is used to ascend the trampoline slide assembly 310.

Although the exemplary embodiments shown in FIG. 8 illustrates a staircase on each of the slide 360, it is also contemplated that a single staircase may be utilized, or as indicated above, one or more ramps, or combinations of these. In the single staircase configuration, a single staircase would be located on either side of the slide 360, rather than the dual staircase configuration shown. The single staircase may comprise a series of steps allowing the user to ascend the slide assembly 310 and access the trampoline similar to the dual staircase configuration discussed above and shown in the drawings. Again, in such an embodiment, means for securing may be appropriately configured to support the offset loads and accommodate use of the slide assembly 310 in this particular configuration.

The plurality of steps 380 and 388 in each of the first and second staircases 376 and 384 may further comprise a non-slip surface to help the child climbing the staircases to maintain proper grip and balance. The non-slip surface may be integrally formed within the steps at the time of manufacture of the slide assembly 310, or some type of non-slip material may be subsequently applied to the upper surface of each stair. FIG. 8 illustrates non-slip surface 410 as formed into or applied to the upper surface of the stairs 388 of the first staircase 376.

The trampoline slide assembly 310 further comprises first and second feet 396 and 398 formed on the bottom of the first and second staircases 376 and 384, respectively. Optionally, similarly configured feet may be applied to or formed on the underside of the lower landing 340. First and second feet 396 and 398 are configured to interface with the ground to stabilize the trampoline slide assembly 310 once coupled to the frame 4 of the trampoline 2. As shown, first and second feet 396 and 398 comprise a protrusion that may partially penetrate or sufficiently interact with the ground to prevent lateral and longitudinal movement of the trampoline slide assembly 310 while in use. First and second feet 396 and 398 may further comprise any type of additional stabilizing means, such as a blunt spike that further penetrates the ground or series of cleats that reduce the tendency for the slide assembly 310 to shift or move during use.

With reference to FIGS. 8 and 9, the trampoline slide assembly 310 further comprises means for securing the trampoline slide assembly 310 to the trampoline 2, and particularly the rigid, horizontal frame component 4 of the trampoline 2. In this particular embodiment, means for securing comprises an attachment configuration having an attachment plate 384 sized and configured to interface with and couple to and suspend the frame 4 of the trampoline 2. The attachment plate 384 is shown as being coupled to and supported about the slide deck 314. The attachment plate 384 may comprise a planar contact surface (the surface that contacts the frame 4) if being caused to interface with and attach to a linear frame component (e.g., such as in the case of a square or rectangular trampoline). Alternatively, the attachment plate 384 may comprise a curved contact surface if being caused to interface with and attach to a nonlinear or curved frame component (e.g., such as in the case of a circular trampoline). Such a suitably configured attachment plate 384 will allow the trampoline slide assembly 310 to better nest and mate with the frame 4 of the trampoline 2.

The attachment plate 384 further comprises first and second supports 392 and 396 extending in an orthogonal manner with respect to one another. First and second supports 392 and 396 function to provide lateral and longitudinal support to the slide assembly 310 as coupled to the frame 4. Specifically, the first and second supports 392 and 396 are configured to receive, proximate their intersection, the frame 4 of the trampoline 2, thereby allowing the frame 4 to support the slide assembly 310. The first support 392 extends outward in a horizontal manner and is configured to rest on the top portion of the frame 4, as shown. The second support 396 extends downward in a vertical manner and is configured to abut the outer portion of the frame 4.

The attachment plate 384 may further comprise a receiver 388 situated at or defined by the intersection of the first and second supports 392 and 396. The receiver 388 is configured to receive the frame 4, or at least a portion thereof, in a loaded nesting relationship between the first and second supports 392 and 396. The receiver 388 preferably comprises a radius or other suitable configuration that corresponds to the cross-sectional geometric configuration of the frame 4. In this case, the receiver 388 comprises a radial configuration, with the radius r measuring slightly larger than the cross-sectional radius of the circular frame 4 to allow the frame to nest within the receiver 388.

The attachment plate 384 is shown as further comprising a support plate 400 coupled to or formed with the second support 396, and that is configured to extend away from the from the second support 396 in a direction opposite that of the first support 392. As such, the attachment plate 384 comprises an s-shape configuration. The support plate 400 functions to bear at least a portion of the loads being exerted on the slide assembly 310 as it is suspended from the frame 4, and during use. The support plate 400 extends along the underside of the slide deck 314, and couples thereto.

It is noted that although a single elongate attachment plate is illustrated, this is not intended to be limiting in any way. Other embodiments may include a plurality of attachment plates supported about the slide deck and configured to attach or couple to the frame of a trampoline for the purpose of securing the trampoline slide assembly thereto.

Means for securing further comprises a mounting bracket 404 used to engage the inner portion of the frame 4, and to ultimately couple to the attachment plate 384 to secure the attachment plate 384, and the trampoline slide assembly 310, to the trampoline 2. The mounting bracket 404 comprises a receiver portion and a support extension. The receiver portion is sized and configured to receive a portion of the frame 4 opposite the receiver 388 of the attachment plate 384. The receiver portion of the mounting bracket 404 is also sized and configured to correspond to the cross-sectional geometric shape of the frame 4, and thus, in this case, the receiver portion comprises a radial configuration having a slightly larger radius than that of the circular cross-sectional shape of the frame 4.

To secure the mounting bracket 404 to the frame 4 and the attachment plate 384, means for securing further comprises a fastener or other device for securing the mounting bracket in place. In the embodiment shown, the fastener comprises a thumb knob 408 that is configured to engage a plate bolt 412. The plate bolt 412 is configured to extend through a carriage 412, an aperture formed in the second support 396 of the attachment plate, as well as an aperture formed in the mounting bracket 404. The plate bolt 412 is threaded to be received into the thumb knob 408, and engage corresponding threads formed therein. Tightening the thumb knob 408 functions to firmly secure the frame 4 in place within the receiver 388 and against the first and second supports 392 and 396, thereby securely coupling the trampoline slide assembly 310 to the trampoline 2. The thumb knob 408 and the mounting bracket 420 may be selectively applied and removed to removably couple and secure the trampoline slide assembly 310 as desired.

Although not described, it can be seen that a similar assembly or attachment configuration is provided for on the other side of the trampoline slide assembly 310, thereby providing two attachment configurations.

With reference to FIGS. 8 and 10-12, the trampoline slide assembly 310 further comprises a water delivery system configured to convert the trampoline slide assembly into a water slide. In this particular embodiment, the water delivery system comprises a bladder 420 configured to removably couple to the slide deck 314, and to deliver or emit fluid to the launch platform 322, the slide 360, and/or the terminal platform 344. The bladder 420 may attach or couple to the slide deck 314 (or any other suitably configured part of the trampoline slide assembly 310) using any known attachment means. In the embodiment shown, the bladder comprises one or more, preferably at least two, projections 434 extending from an underside thereof, each of which are configured to be inserted and into corresponding apertures 435 formed in the upper surface of the slide deck 314 to provide a snap fit, thereby securing the bladder 420 to the slide deck 314.

The bladder 420 comprises an elongate body 422 defining an extension portion 432 having a plurality of apertures 432 formed therein for delivering or emitting water therefrom to the slide upon filling the bladder 420. The extension portion 432 allows a portion of the bladder 420 to be situated between first and second guard rails 368 and 372 extending along the upper surface of the slide deck 314, and to extend over a portion of the launch platform 322 to ensure water is emitted in the proper location. The apertures 432 may be configured to provide any type of jet stream or spray as desired. The apertures may further be configured to support nozzles therein.

The bladder further comprises a connector 430 configured to receive and fluidly communicate with a fluid delivery device 434, such as a standard hose. The connector 430 comprises a threaded portion that allows a corresponding threaded hose end to be securely coupled to the connector 430. The fluid delivery device 434 is further in fluid communication with a fluid source 436 configured to supply the fluid to the bladder 420. Upon activating the fluid source 434, water is caused to flow through the fluid delivery device 434 to the bladder 420. Once the bladder is at least partially filled, fluid is caused to be emitted from the apertures 432 and onto the surfaces of the trampoline slide assembly 310 as desired to provide a water slide.

As one skilled in the art will recognize, and in the spirit of the present invention, other types of water delivery systems other than those described herein, are contemplated to enable the trampoline slide assembly 310 to function as a water slide.

With reference to FIGS. 13-15, illustrated are a plurality of alternative attachment configurations providing different means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to the frame of a trampoline. Specifically, FIG. 13 illustrates the slide assembly 10-a as comprising an alternative attachment configuration in the form of a u-shaped structure 150 formed within the slide deck 14-a, wherein the u-shaped structure 150 comprises an opening 152 located about the underside or lower surface of the slide deck 14-a. The opening 152 is configured to provide access to a slot 154 configured to receive the frame 4 of the trampoline, as shown. In this configuration, the trampoline slide assembly 10-a is caused to engage at least a portion of the frame 4 of the trampoline by causing the portion of the frame 4 to be inserted through the opening 152 into the slot 154, wherein it is then caused to slide within the slot 154 until coming to rest against the walls of the u-shaped structure 150. This is caused to happen by placing the opening 152 of the u-shaped structure 150 over the frame 4 until the frame is within the slot 154. The slide assembly 10-a may then be pulled away from the trampoline until the frame is properly seated in the u-shaped structure 150. The u-shaped structure preferably comprises a nub or other protrusion 156 on its inside surface that functions to lock the frame into place once it passes over the protrusion 156. Alternatively, the u-shaped structure 150 may be reversed and formed so that the opening 152 is located near the front of the slide deck 14-a and the slot 154 extending away from the opening in the direction away from the trampoline. In this configuration, and instead of pulling, the slide assembly 10 is pushed toward the trampoline to cause the frame 4 to be properly seated in a locking position.

FIG. 14 illustrates the slide assembly 10-b as comprising an alternative attachment configuration in the form of a u-shaped structure 160 formed within the slide deck 14-b, wherein the u-shaped structure 160 comprises an opening 162 located about a vertical face of the slide deck 14-b. The opening 162 is configured to provide access to a slot 164 configured to receive the frame 4 of the trampoline, as shown. In this configuration, the trampoline slide assembly 10-b is caused to engage at least a portion of the frame 4 of the trampoline by causing the portion of the frame 4 to be inserted through the opening 162 into the slot 164, wherein it is then caused to slide within the slot 164 until coming to rest against the walls of the u-shaped structure 160. Once in position, a locking component 166 is coupled to the u-shaped structure 160 to prevent the frame 4 from being removed, thus securing the slide assembly 10-b to the trampoline. The locking component 166 is designed to be removably coupled to the slide deck 14-b, thus allowing the slide assembly 10-b to engage and disengage the frame 4 of the trampoline, as desired. Once coupled, the slide assembly 10-b is secured to the frame of the trampoline and cannot be removed unless the locking component 166 is removed. Preferably, two or more locking components 166 will be employed to secure the slide assembly 10-b to the trampoline.

The locking component 166 comprises a thin strip of metal or other suitable material that couples to the u-shaped structure 160 at each end using any known attachment or fastening means.

In some exemplary embodiments, the locking component 166 may be configured to swivel, thus allowing the locking components 166 to remain attached and to pivot into place to lock the slide assembly 10-b to the frame 4 of the trampoline, as well as to pivot out of the way to release the slide assembly 10-b from the frame 4 of the trampoline.

FIG. 15 illustrates the slide assembly 10-c as comprising an alternative attachment configuration in the form of a u-shaped structure 170 formed in the upper surface of the slide deck 14-c. The u-shaped structure 170 comprises a slot 174 configured to receive the frame 4 therein. Upon inserting the frame 4 of the trampoline into the slot 174, a locking component 176 in the form of a plate or bracket is positioned over the slot 174 secure the frame 4 within the slot 174 and to securely couple the slide assembly 10-c to the frame 4 of the trampoline. The locking component 176 is designed to be removably coupled to the slide deck 14-c, thus allowing the slide assembly 10-c to be removably secured to the trampoline.

With reference again to FIGS. 7 and 8, the exemplary trampoline slide assembly embodiments shown therein and discussed above further feature the ability to nest with another similarly configured trampoline slide assembly to comprise a low profile matching or nesting relationship. The ability to nest in such a manner provides many advantages, such as in areas of packaging, shipping, and inventory storage. The configuration of the upper portion of the slide assembly is configured to receive and nest with the lower portion of an adjacent slide assembly. Likewise, the configuration of the lower portion of the slide assembly is configured to receive and nest with an upper portion of an adjacent slide assembly.

With reference to FIGS. 16 and 17, illustrated is a trampoline slide assembly according to still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As shown, the trampoline slide assembly 510 comprises a rigid frame or framework operative to support a slide or slide component 560. The rigid frame 514 is preferably made of a durable material, such as metal, thus being capable of increasing the stiffness of the slide 560. The rigid frame 514 is configured to interact with the slide 560 for the purpose of providing additional support to the slide 560, as the slide 560 is preferably made of a plastic material that may be subject to torsional and bending loads during use. The frame 514 is preferably configured so that it increases the resistance of the slide to both torsional and bending forces. Thus, during use, the slide will be less likely to bend or twist under the loads applied thereto by a user.

The frame 514 may comprise any configuration. In the embodiment shown, the frame comprises an external frame having a combination of longitudinal support rails 518 and cross beams 522. However, the frame 514 may also be as simple as a single support rail configured to be positioned coaxial with longitudinal axis of the underside of the slide 560. Alternatively, the frame 514 may be configured as an internal frame.

The frame 514 is designed to interact with the slide for the intended purposes discussed above. With respect to the external frame 514 shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, the frame 514 may be configured to nest within one or more recesses or grooves, or between ridges or ribs, formed on the underside of the slide 560, which help to maintain a proper position or orientation of the frame 514 about the slide 560. Alternatively, the frame 514 may simply rest against a flat underside surface of the slide 560 with the attachment means functioning to maintain the frame 514 about the slide 560. Each of these embodiments, and others obvious to those skilled in the art, are contemplated by the present invention.

The slide 560 is configured to removably couple to the frame 514 using any known attachment means. In one exemplary embodiment, as shown, the slide attaches to the frame 514 using bolted connections. The slide 560 comprises apertures 562 formed in the slide for receiving a bolt 566, which may then be inserted through apertures 530 in the frame 514 and secured by nut 570. Others may include a snap fit, screws, and any others known in the art.

The slide component 560 may be configured similar to any of the exemplary embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-9 and described above, with modifications to allow the slide 560 to attach or couple to the frame 514 depending upon the particular attachment means used. In essence, the trampoline slide assembly 510 may be configured to comprise a configuration that is the same or similar to any of the trampoline slide embodiments discussed herein. As such, the discussion of these embodiments is incorporated into this particular embodiment, where applicable.

The slide assembly 510 further comprises means for securing the slide assembly to a trampoline. Means for securing may comprise any of those discussed herein, or any that would be obvious to one skilled in the art. Means for securing is preferably supported about the frame 514, but may be supported about the slide 560, or both.

With reference to FIGS. 18 and 19, illustrated is a trampoline slide assembly according to still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As shown, the trampoline slide assembly 610 comprises an inflatable member configured to form a pre-determined shape upon being inflated, wherein the inflatable member comprises at least a slide portion 660. The slide portion 660 is shown as comprising a supported, inclined contact surface 662 configured to facilitate a user sliding down thereon to dismount a trampoline 2. The slide portion 660 is supported about sidewalls 670 of the inflatable member.

The inflatable trampoline slide assembly 610 may be inflated using any known means. Located in one of the sidewalls 670 is a valve or stem 688 or other configuration operable with an aperture formed in the sidewall 670, which is configured to facilitate the flow of air into and out of the inflatable trampoline slide assembly 610, which air is received from an air source 690.

The inflatable trampoline slide assembly 610 is designed to be positioned adjacent a trampoline 2, when inflated, to function in a similar manner as the other trampoline slide assemblies discussed herein. By being inflatable, this particular trampoline slide assembly provides additional advantages. First, the entire trampoline slide assembly is comprised of a soft, forgiving and flexible material that, when inflated, provides proper support to a user while at the same time providing a cushioned effect. As such, no additional padding may be needed as there is nothing rigid that might injure a user. Second, the inflatable member may be deflated for transport or for storage. In its deflated state, the trampoline slide assembly may be folded to take-up a relatively small volume of space.

The inflatable trampoline slide assembly 610 may further comprise a step system. In the embodiment shown, the trampoline slide assembly 610 comprises a step system consisting of opposing staircases 684 and 686. Other embodiments may include a step system having a single staircase located on either side of the slide portion 660. Also, the step system may comprise ramps. Still further, the inflatable trampoline slide assembly 610 may comprise a slide portion without a step system. In essence, the trampoline slide assembly 610 may be configured to comprise a configuration that is the same or similar to any of the trampoline slide embodiments discussed herein. As such, the discussion of these embodiments is incorporated into this particular embodiment, where applicable.

As shown in FIG. 19, the inflatable trampoline slide assembly 610 further comprises means for securing the trampoline slide assembly to a trampoline. Again, those types of means for securing discussed herein, or a modified form thereof, may be used in this or other inflatable embodiments. In the exemplary embodiment shown, means for securing comprises two straps, shown as straps 694-a and 694-b, secured to the upper portion of the rear sidewall 670-b. The straps are configured to wrap around a portion of the frame of the trampoline, and to securely couple the inflatable trampoline slide assembly to the trampoline.

Finally, the inflatable trampoline slide assembly 610 may comprise a water delivery system similar to any of those described herein. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 19, the water delivery system comprises a hose 704 attachable to a nozzle 708 supported about the upper portion of the trampoline slide assembly 610 and aimed to provide water about the slide portion 660. Although not specifically shown, other water delivery systems are contemplated herein.

With reference to FIGS. 20-23, illustrated is a trampoline slide assembly according to still another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The following description refers to these figures collectively, with parenthetical references used when temporarily discussing a particular figure. In this embodiment, the present invention trampoline slide assembly features a combination ladder/slide assembly that may be used as a stand-alone play structure with the ladder and slide components coupled to one another, or alternatively, as separate individual ladder and slide components, each of which are removably attachable to a trampoline. To obtain the individual components, the combination ladder/slide assembly is uncoupled and broken down to provide the individual ladder and slide components. Once separated, each of these components may be secured to a trampoline to provide means for accessing or mounting and/or getting off or dismounting the trampoline.

As shown, the convertible ladder/slide assembly 710 comprises an individual slide component 414 and an individual ladder component 780, each of which may be coupled together to form a stand-alone play structure (see FIG. 20), wherein a user may scale the ladder component and then slide down the slide component.

The slide component 714 (see FIGS. 20-21) comprises, primarily, an upper slide deck 718, a lower landing 740, and a slide 760 extending between the slide deck 718 and the lower landing 740. The slide component 714 further comprises a launch platform 722 and a terminal platform 744 similar to the ones described above. As in other embodiments, the slide component may also comprise guard rails 768 and 772 (see FIG. 21) and one or more staircases, shown as staircase 876 (see FIG. 20). In essence, the slide component 714 may be configured as any other present invention slide assembly discussed herein, with the added feature of being able to releasably couple to the ladder component 780 to form a stand-alone play structure.

Unlike prior related play structures, the present invention slide component 714 further comprises the ability to release from the ladder component 780 and to be secured to the frame 4 of a trampoline 2. As such, the convertible ladder/slide assembly 710 comprises means for securing the slide component to a trampoline. Means for securing may comprise any discussed above, or those obvious to one skilled in the art. In the particular embodiment shown, means for securing comprises a u-shaped structure formed in the bottom surface or underside of the slide deck 718. The u-shaped structure comprises receivers formed therein that are each configured to removably receive and engage therein a portion of the frame 4 of the trampoline 2 (see FIG. 21), thus allowing the slide component 714 to function as a trampoline slide assembly similar to those discussed above. This same u-shaped structure is also used to receive and couple the first and second posts 812 and 816 of the ladder component 780 when in the stand-alone configuration.

It is noted that the slide component 714 may comprise any of the features or attachments discussed above in relation to the other exemplary trampoline slide assemblies, such as any features and/or attachments capable of enabling the slide component 714 to function as a water slide.

The counterpart to the slide component 714 is the ladder component 480 (see FIGS. 20-23). The ladder component 780 comprises first and second supports 784 and 788 and a plurality of rungs 792 extending laterally between the vertical supports 784 and 788, each of which are configured to assist a user in climbing or scaling the ladder component 780. The ladder component 780 further comprises a coupler member 796 (see FIGS. 22-A and 22-B) situated atop thereof and having a body portion 800. The coupler member 796 provides two primary functions. First, the coupler member 796 functions to facilitate the removable attachment of the slide component 714 thereto, therefore coupling the slide component 714 to the ladder component 780 to form the stand-alone play structure. The slide component 714 is coupled to the ladder component via first and second posts 812 and 816 formed in the coupler member 796 as these are configured to receive and engage the receivers formed in the u-shaped structure of the slide component 714. In this configuration, the coupler member 796 is also configured to nest within the slide deck 718 of the slide component 714 (see FIG. 23). Second, the coupler member 796 functions to facilitate the removable attachment of the ladder component 780 to the frame 4 of the trampoline 2, in a similar manner as the slide component 714 discussed above. Specifically, the first and second receivers 804 and 808 formed in the coupler member 796 are configured to removably receive and engage the frame 4 of the trampoline 2

Both the slide and ladder components 714 and 780, respectively, may comprise a spring guard, shown as spring guard 776 (see FIG. 21), configured to extend across the springs 6 to the jumping mat 8 to minimize the potential for a user to fall into the springs while accessing either the slide or ladder components 714 or 780.

The convertible ladder/slide assembly 710 may further comprise a brace 828 that extends between and couples to each of the ladder and slide components 714 and 780, respectively, via brace posts 820 and 824. The brace 828 functions to increase the stability of the convertible ladder/slide assembly 710 when its component parts are coupled together to operate as a stand-alone play structure.

The slide component 714 and the ladder component 780 are shown in an uncoupled state, with each attached to the frame 4 of a trampoline 2 (see FIG. 21). In this state, a user may scale the ladder component 780 to mount and use the trampoline 2, as well as the slide component 714. The ladder component 780 may also be used to dismount the trampoline. Alternatively, the present invention contemplates providing one or more staircases 876 in the slide component, in a similar or other manner as discussed above, wherein the staircase may also be used to both mount and dismount the trampoline.

The convertible ladder/slide assembly 710 may further comprise a water delivery system having the necessary components to allow the slide assembly 710 to function and operate as a water slide. The configuration and components may be similar to the components discussed above in the exemplary trampoline slide assembly 10, or they may be different as will be recognized by one skilled in the art.

In essence, the convertible ladder/slide assembly 710 comprises all of the beneficial features of the trampoline slide assemblies discussed above, with the additional feature of being able to operate as a stand-alone play structure. Although there are stand alone ladder/slide play structures that currently exist in the art, the present invention convertible ladder/slide assembly furthers existing technology by providing the ability to uncouple or breakdown the ladder/slide assembly into separate ladder and slide component parts and attach these to a trampoline. As such, the convertible ladder/slide assembly is three products in one, namely a stand-alone play structure with both the slide and ladder components coupled together, an independent ladder that may be removably secured to a trampoline for mounting and dismounting the trampoline, and an independent slide that also may be removably secured to the trampoline, also mounting and dismounting the trampoline.

The foregoing detailed description describes the invention with reference to specific exemplary embodiments. However, it will be appreciated that various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention as set forth in the appended claims. The detailed description and accompanying drawings are to be regarded as merely illustrative, rather than as restrictive, and all such modifications or changes, if any, are intended to fall within the scope of the present invention as described and set forth herein.

More specifically, while illustrative exemplary embodiments of the invention have been described herein, the present invention is not limited to these embodiments, but includes any and all embodiments having modifications, omissions, combinations (e.g., of aspects across various embodiments), adaptations and/or alterations as would be appreciated by those in the art based on the foregoing detailed description. The limitations in the claims are to be interpreted broadly based the language employed in the claims and not limited to examples described in the foregoing detailed description or during the prosecution of the application, which examples are to be construed as non-exclusive. For example, in the present disclosure, the term “preferably” is non-exclusive where it is intended to mean “preferably, but not limited to.” Any steps recited in any method or process claims may be executed in any order and are not limited to the order presented in the claims. Means-plus-function or step-plus-function limitations will only be employed where for a specific claim limitation all of the following conditions are present in that limitation: a) “means for” or “step for” is expressly recited; b) a corresponding function is expressly recited; and c) structure, material or acts that support that structure are not expressly recited, except in the specification. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined solely by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the descriptions and examples given above.