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Title:
Child activity blanket
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An activity blanket provides stimulation for a child. According to one implementation, an activity blanket includes front and rear surfaces and an internal pocket between these surfaces. The front surface has an aperture positioned to allow access to the pocket. According to another aspect, an activity blanket is configurable for transition between open and stowed configurations. The blanket has a two-piece interlocking handle that includes an engaging member and a receiving member, each attached to the perimeter of the blanket at different locations. The receiving member is receives the engaging member when the blanket transitions to the stowed configuration. According to another aspect, an activity blanket in a stowed configuration has exposed blanket portions and a stowed concealed blanket portion between the exposed blanket portions. The blanket also has a two-piece interlocking handle with an engaging member and a receiving member attached to opposing outer edges of the blanket.


Inventors:
Campbell, Mark (Atlanta, GA, US)
Winderweedle, Rachel (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/582028
Publication Date:
04/19/2007
Filing Date:
10/17/2006
Assignee:
Popadu, LLC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/655
International Classes:
A63H3/52
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20070178802RATTLE STICK FOR ATTRACTING ANIMALSAugust, 2007Knight
20080263766MAT FOR CHILD DEVELOPMENTOctober, 2008Omar
20090247041Throwing DiscOctober, 2009Cowles et al.
20080268743TOY TRACK SET AND RELAY SEGMENTSOctober, 2008O'connor et al.
20090325458Sound-Controlled Structure Connectable To A Multimedia PlayerDecember, 2009Liu
20070087655Interleaving story toyApril, 2007Rifkin
20090176433Method and Apparatus for Body-worn Entertainment DevicesJuly, 2009Forti
20060183402Articulable shoulder puppetAugust, 2006Von Jabba
20090093184METHOD OF INTEGRATING OPTICAL FIBERS INTO FABRICS AND PLUSH TOYSApril, 2009Garbos et al.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOPE BALDAUFF HARTMAN, LLC (1720 PEACHTREE STREET, N.W, SUITE 1010, ATLANTA, GA, 30309, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An activity blanket, comprising: a front material surface; a rear material surface opposing the front material surface; an internal pocket disposed between the front material surface and the rear material surface; and an aperture in the front material surface positioned to allow access to the internal pocket through the front material surface.

2. The activity blanket of claim 1, further comprising a two-piece interlocking handle.

3. The activity blanket of claim 2, wherein the two-piece interlocking handle comprises: a first handle piece comprising a sphere attached to a first end of a protrusion, wherein a second end of the protrusion is attached to a blanket perimeter; and a second handle piece comprising a receiving member, wherein the receiving member comprises a concave surface configured to receive the surface of the sphere and a slot for receiving the protrusion.

4. The activity blanket of claim 1, further comprising stitching, wherein the stitching secures the front material surface to the rear material surface and creates the internal pocket disposed between the front material surface and the rear material surface.

5. The activity blanket of claim 4, wherein the stitching creates a plurality of internal pockets and wherein the activity blanket further comprises an aperture located in the front material surface at each of the plurality of internal pockets.

6. The activity blanket of claim 1, further comprising a plush toy sized for insertion within the aperture.

7. The activity blanket of claim 1, further comprising a collar secured to a perimeter of the aperture.

8. The activity blanket of claim 1, comprising a flap secured to a portion of a perimeter of the aperture such that the flap may be raised to expose the aperture or lowered to cover the aperture.

9. The activity blanket of claim 1, wherein the internal pocket comprises pocket material having an outer perimeter secured to a perimeter of the aperture and disposed between the front material surface and the rear material surface.

10. An activity blanket configurable for transitioning between an open configuration and a stowed configuration, the activity blanket comprising: a blanket material; and a two-piece interlocking handle comprising an engaging member attached to a perimeter of the blanket material at a first location, and a receiving member attached to the perimeter of the blanket material at a second location and configured to receive the engaging member when the activity blanket transitions to the stowed configuration from the open configuration.

11. The activity blanket of claim 10, wherein when the receiving member is mated to the engaging member, the blanket material comprises a front exposed blanket portion, a rear exposed blanket portion, and a stowed concealed blanket portion disposed between the front exposed blanket portion and the rear exposed blanket portion.

12. The activity blanket of claim 10, further comprising at least one storage pocket located on the blanket material at a position that allows for external access when the activity blanket is in the stowed configuration with the receiving member mated to the engaging member of the two-piece handle.

13. The activity blanket of claim 12, wherein the at least one storage pocket is removably attached to the blanket material.

14. The activity blanket of claim 10, wherein the blanket material comprises: a front material surface; a rear material surface opposing the front material surface; an internal pocket disposed between the front material surface and the rear material surface; and an aperture in the front material surface positioned to allow access to the internal pocket through the front material surface.

15. The activity blanket of claim 14, further comprising a collar secured to a perimeter of the aperture.

16. The activity blanket of claim 15, comprising a flap secured to a portion of the collar such that the flap may be raised to expose the aperture or lowered to cover the aperture.

17. An activity blanket in a stowed configuration, comprising: a front exposed blanket portion; a rear exposed blanket portion; a stowed concealed blanket portion disposed between the front exposed blanket portion and the rear exposed blanket portion; and a two-piece interlocking handle comprising an engaging member attached to an outer edge of the activity blanket, and a receiving member attached to an opposing outer edge of the activity blanket and mated to the engaging member.

18. The activity blanket of claim 17, wherein each of the front exposed blanket portion and the rear exposed blanket portion comprises approximately ⅙ of the surface area of one side of the activity blanket.

19. The activity blanket of claim 17, further comprising an aperture in the front exposed blanket portion positioned that allows access to an internal pocket through the front material surface.

20. The activity blanket of claim 17, wherein the front exposed blanket portion and the rear exposed blanket portion comprise a center blanket panel approximately ⅓ the size of the activity blanket, and wherein the stowed concealed blanket portion comprises two panels, each panel adjacent to the center blanket panel, each panel comprising approximately ⅓ the size of the activity blanket, and each panel folded behind the center blanket panel.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Blankets are common accessories for parents with children. Child blankets are used in a variety of ways. Blankets are often used not only as a cover to keep a child warm, but also as a floor covering to prevent a child from coming into contact with the floor or other surface underneath the blanket. When used in this latter capacity, blankets sometimes incorporate various colors and patterns in an attempt to provide stimulation to a child that may be sitting or lying on top of the blanket. Some blankets are used in conjunction with attached structures from which toys may be attached, such as a blanket with an archway extending over the blanket with attachment points for hanging toys over a child. These blankets are often called activity mats since they provide a surface on which a child may lie and interact with toys. However, typical child blankets and activity mats are not versatile enough to be used in both capacities, while also providing a self- contained, convenient configuration that allows for compact storage and easy carrying.

It is with respect to these considerations and others that the various embodiments of the disclosure presented herein have been made.

SUMMARY

According to one aspect of the disclosure presented herein, an activity blanket includes front and rear material surfaces. An internal pocket is positioned between the front and rear surfaces of the blanket. The front surface has an aperture that allows access to the internal pocket. According to other implementations, the activity blanket has a two-piece interlocking handle. One handle piece attached to the blanket perimeter may have a sphere attached to a protrusion, while the other handle piece has a concave surface for receiving the surface of the sphere and a slot for receiving the protrusion.

According to another aspect of the disclosure presented herein, an activity blanket is configured for transitioning between an open configuration and a stowed configuration. The blanket includes a blanket material and a two-piece interlocking handle. The handle includes an engaging member and a receiving member. Each handle member is attached to a perimeter of the blanket material at a different location. The receiving member and the engaging member are mated together in order to transition the activity blanket from the open configuration to the stowed configuration.

According to yet another aspect of the disclosure presented herein, an activity blanket in a stowed configuration has a front blanket portion that is exposed, a rear blanket portion that is exposed, and a stowed blanket portion that is concealed between the front and rear exposed portions. The activity blanket also has a two-piece interlocking handle. The handle has an engaging member and a receiving member attached to opposing outer edges of the activity blanket.

Other apparatus, systems, and/or methods according to embodiments described herein will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon review of the following drawings and Detailed Description. It is intended that all such additional apparatus, systems, and/or methods be included within this description, be within the scope of the present invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.

It should be appreciated that this Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top view of an activity blanket in an open configuration illustrating pockets and a two-piece handle according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a panel of an activity blanket illustrating a pocket with a plush toy inserted according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a pocket along line 3-3 as shown in FIG. 1, illustrating a pocket configuration according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a pocket along line 4-4 as shown in FIG. 1, illustrating a pocket configuration according to one embodiment presented herein; FIG. 5A is a top view of an activity blanket in an open configuration illustrating a first fold axis according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 5B is a top view of an activity blanket in a partially stowed configuration illustrating a second fold axis according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 5C is a top view of an activity blanket in a partially stowed configuration illustrating a third fold axis according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 5D is a top view of an activity blanket in a stowed configuration illustrating a folded blanket with a locked handle according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 5E is a top view of an external storage pocket illustrating pockets for storing toys according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 5F is a top view of an activity blanket in a stowed configuration illustrating a folded blanket with a locked handle and attached external storage pocket according to one embodiment presented herein;

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of two pieces of a handle illustrating the pieces in an unlocked configuration according to one embodiment presented herein; and

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of a two-piece handle illustrating the two pieces of the handle in a locked configuration according to one embodiment presented herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following detailed description is directed to an activity blanket that provides children with cognitive stimulation and that can be folded and secured for storage. These embodiments may be combined, other embodiments may be utilized, and structural changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the disclosure presented herein is defined by the pending claims and their equivalents.

Referring now to the drawings, in which like numerals refer to like elements through the several figures, aspects of the activity blanket will be described. FIG. 1 shows an activity blanket 100 in an open configuration according to one implementation. Although FIG. 1 shows the activity blanket 100 as being substantially square in shape, it is to be understood that the activity blanket 100 may be any shape and size. The activity blanket 100 is made up of a series of panels 102. Alternatively, the activity blanket 100 may include a single panel or any number of panels of any shape, dimension, and configuration. The panels 102 are manufactured by sewing together top and bottom layer material and will be discussed in further detail below with respect to FIGS. 3 and 4. The panels 102 may be various colors and textures to provide visual and tactile stimulation to a child lying on the activity blanket 100.

As seen in FIG. 1, one or more of the panels 102 may include a pocket 106. The activity blanket 100 is shown as having two different types of pockets 106, open pockets 106A and covered pockets 106B. The pockets 106A and 106B will be described in detail below with respect to FIGS. 3 and 4, respectively. The activity blanket 100 has a border 104 sewn around each outer edge to prevent the top and bottom layers of the activity blanket 100 from separating. A handle 108 is included to facilitate carrying the activity blanket 100 when folded into a storage configuration. The handle 108 may also function as toy to provide a child using the activity blanket 100 with further stimulation. The handle 108 has two pieces, handle piece 108A and handle piece 108B, located at opposing edges of the activity blanket 100. Although each handle piece 108A and 108B is shown to be located substantially at the midpoint of the edge on which it is attached, it should be appreciated that the handle pieces 108A and 108B may be located at any position along an edge of the activity blanket 100 that will allow for the activity blanket 100 to be folded into a storage configuration in a similar manner as to that described below with respect to FIGS. 5A-5F. A configuration and method for mating the handle pieces 108A and 108B will be described in more detail below with respect to FIGS. 6A and 6B. The design of the handle 108 as described throughout this disclosure represents peas in a pod when the handle pieces 108A and 108B are mated together. It should be appreciated that the number of potential designs for the handle 108 is virtually limitless. The handle 108 may be manufactured to represent any object, person, animal character, plant, or combination thereof.

According to one implementation, the handle 108 is a plush toy. “Plush” as used throughout this description may be a cloth or other pliable material that is stuffed to create an item is soft to the touch and safe for a small child. It should be appreciated that any soft, non-hazardous fillings that meet toy safety standards may be used to stuff any of the plush aspects of the activity blanket 100 described herein, including the plush toys described below. It should also be understood that the handle 108 and any other plush aspect of the activity blanket 100 may be manufactured using child-safe foam or other pliable material, without utilizing a stuffing process wherein an outer material is stuffed with an inner filling material. A plush item may have plastic, metal, or other rigid material within the item to provide some rigidity to the otherwise pliable item. Further, the handle 108 and any or all of the plush aspects of the activity blanket 100 and associated toys described below may alternatively be manufactured from a non-pliable material such as plastic to provide a child with alternative surfaces and textures to provide increased stimulation and development.

FIG. 2 shows a panel 102 having a pocket 106A. The pockets 106 are for inserting one or more plush toys 200. It should be understood that while the pockets 106 are described herein as being used with the plush toys 106, any toy suitable for the age of a child using the activity blanket 100 may be used with the pockets 106. The activity blanket 100 is shown throughout the figures as having a “garden” theme. The handle piece 108B resembles peas while the handle piece 108A resembles a pea pod. When assembled, the two-piece handle 108 resembles peas in a pod. Similarly, the plush toy 200 shown resembles a carrot. Other plush toys for an activity blanket 100 having a garden theme might include various other vegetables. It should be appreciated that the activity blanket 100 may be manufactured in any number of other themes with a coordinated handle 108 and plush toys 200.

Turning now to FIG. 3, a cross-section of the pocket 106A, taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 1, according to one embodiment will be described. As seen in FIG. 3, the blanket 100 includes a top layer 308 and a bottom layer 310. The space between the top layer 308 and the bottom layer 310 defines an interior 306 of the activity blanket 100. The interior 306 may be occupied by air or a stuffing material depending on the desired characteristics of the activity blanket 100. As described above with respect to the plush toys 200, the stuffing material may be any non-hazardous filling material that meets appropriate safety standards. The pocket 106A includes a collar 300 and an interior chamber 304.

According to one implementation, the interior chamber 304 is disposed entirely within the interior 306 of the activity blanket 100. The interior chamber 304 is defined by pocket material 309 sewn to an interior side of top layer 308. The pocket material 309 is sewn around the circumference of an aperture in the top layer 308, allowing the remainder of the pocket material 309 to float within the interior 306 of the activity blanket 100 to create the pocket 106A. The pocket material 309 may be a single piece of fabric or may be composed of multiple pieces of fabric sewn together. Alternatively, the interior chamber 304 may be defined solely by the interior 306 of the activity blanket 100 rather than sewing or otherwise securing the pocket material 309 to the top layer 308 in order to create the pocket 106A. In this alternative embodiment, the panel 102 would define each pocket 106 since the stitching that creates each panel operates to seal off the interior 306 of the blanket 100 along the seams of each panel 102. According to further embodiments, each pocket 106A and 106B may be removably or fixedly attached to an exterior surface of the top layer 308.

The collar 300 creates a raised, plush entranceway to the pocket 106A. The collar 300 may be sewn together from a single piece of material or from multiple pieces of material sewn together. The interior of the collar 300 is filled with a stuffing material 302 to give the collar 300 the desired shape and pliability. Alternatively, as discussed above with respect to the handle 108, the collar 300 may be formed from a single piece of pliable material such as foam. The collar 300 is sewn along the circumference of an aperture in top layer 308 that serves as the entranceway to the pocket 106A. While the pockets 106A are shown to have circular apertures as entranceways and the pockets 106B are shown to have square apertures as entranceways, it should be appreciated that any shape and size of aperture may be used for any pocket entranceway. Similarly, any number and configuration of pockets 106 may be incorporated into the activity blanket 100 without departing from the scope of the disclosure presented herein. By providing different shapes and configurations of pockets 106, the activity blanket 100 may be used to further increase a child's cognitive development.

FIG. 4 shows a cross-section of the pocket 106B, taken along line 4-4 shown in FIG. 1. The pocket 106B is an alternative type of pocket, which includes a plush flap 402 over the entranceway to the pocket 106B rather than an open collar. As described above, the activity blanket 100 includes the top layer 308 and the bottom layer 310. The space between the top layer 308 and the bottom layer 310 defines the interior 306 of the activity blanket 100. The interior 306 may be occupied by air or stuffing material as described above depending on the desired characteristics of the activity blanket 100. The pocket 106B includes a collar 400, a flap 402 and an interior chamber 404. The collar 400 presents a raised surface over which the flap 402 is mounted. The flap 402 is sewn along a single edge to the collar 400 such that the flap 402 may be raised to expose the interior chamber 404 of the pocket 106B by pulling up an edge that is not sewn to the collar 400. It should be understood that the flap 402 may be secured directly to the top layer 308 without utilizing the collar 400. The flap 402 is filled with pliable material 412 such as the stuffing materials described above or may alternatively be a single piece of material such as a foam material. By having the flap 402 over one or more of the pockets 106B of the activity blanket 100, a child or parent may hide toys within the pockets 106B, introducing sensory principles of occlusion to the child and enhancing play. It should be appreciated that the opening method for the flaps may vary, including multiple flaps over a single pocket, flaps that partially expose the interior of the pocket, or flaps that securely close using zippers, snaps, ties, buttons, or any combination thereof of these or any other closing means.

The interior chamber 404 is entirely within the interior 306 of the activity blanket 100. The interior chamber 404 is defined by pocket material 409 sewn to an interior side of the top layer 308. The pocket material 409 is sewn around the circumference of an opening in top layer 308, allowing the remainder of the pocket material 409 to float within the interior 406 of the activity blanket 100 to create the pocket 106B. As stated above with respect to the pocket 106A and the pocket material 309, the pocket material 409 may be a single piece of fabric or may be composed of multiple pieces of fabric sewn together. Also as discussed above, the interior chamber 404 may be defined solely by the interior 406 of the activity blanket 100 rather than including material sewn to the top layer 308 in order to create the pocket 106B. In this alternative embodiment, the panel 102 defines each pocket 106B since the stitching that creates each panel 102 operates to seal off the interior 306 of the activity blanket 100 along the seams of each panel 102. By utilizing the interior pockets 106 in combination with plush toys 200, toys may be hidden within the activity blanket 100 to stimulate a child's perception of permanence, as well as to encourage reaching, rolling, and crawling from one pocket to another. In addition, adult users may create any number of games for their children such as matching games between pockets 106 and plush toys 200. It should also be understood that the interior chambers 304 and 404 of pockets 106A and 106B respectively may include other items to stimulate exploration, such as hidden, attached plush figures. The interior chambers 304 and 404 may be of varying sizes, shape, texture, and color.

Referring now to FIGS. 5A-5F, a stowed configuration 514 of the activity blanket 100 and the transition between an open configuration 500 and the stowed configuration 514 will be described. FIG. 5A shows the activity blanket 100 in the open configuration 500 according to various embodiments described herein. The blanket 100 has a first section 504, a second section 506 abutting the first section, and a third section 508 abutting the second section 506. Each section 504, 506, and 508 is approximately one third the size of the activity blanket 100. The second section 506 includes the two-piece handle 108, with the handle pieces 108A and 108B attached to opposing sides of the second section 506. According to one implementation for transitioning between the open configuration 500 and the stowed configuration 514, the first section 504 is folded along a first axis 502 behind the second section 506. FIG. 5B shows the results of this operation. The third section 508 is then folded behind the second section 506 along a second axis 510 parallel to the first axis 502. FIG. 5C shows the results of this second folding operation. The second section 506 is folded along an axis 512 that is substantially perpendicular to the first axis 502 at a location substantially midway between the opposing sides of the second section that is equidistant from the handle pieces 108A and 108B. In doing so, a lower section 522 is folded backwards behind an upper section 524 such that the two-piece handle 108 comes together. The handle piece 108B locks into the handle piece 108A to secure the activity blanket 100 in the stowed configuration 514, shown in FIG. 5D.

When the activity blanket 100 is in the stowed configuration 514, only the lower section 522 and the upper section 524 are exposed such that approximately one sixth of the blanket is viewable from the front or the rear of the activity blanket 100 when in the stowed configuration 514. The lower section 522 provides a rear exposed blanket portion since it is folded behind the upper section 524, which becomes a front exposed blanket portion. The first section 502 and the third section 508 become concealed between the front and rear exposed blanket portions when the activity blanket is transitioned to the stowed configuration 514. It should be understood that method for transitioning the activity blanket 100 from the open configuration 500 to the stowed configuration 514 may include folding portions of the activity blanket 100 that are of any size and shape in any sequence. Further, the handle pieces 108A and 108B may be attached to any edge of the activity blanket 100 at any location. According to alternative embodiments, when the handle pieces 108A and 108B are mated together to form the handle 108, a portion of the activity blanket 100 is concealed between exposed portions of the activity blanket 100 to create a stowed configuration. The resulting stowed configuration does not need to resemble the shape and proportions of the stowed configuration 514 shown in FIG. 5D.

External pockets for storing toys may be permanently or removably attached to the outside of the blanket when in the stowed configuration 514. FIG. 5E shows a storage panel 516, which contains three storage pockets 518. It should be understood that the storage panel 516 may include any number of storage pockets of any size and configuration. The storage pockets 518 may be sewn such that they are open on one end, or may include closing means such as zippers, hook and loop fasteners, buttons, snaps, ties or any other means for closing the pockets to secure the contents. FIG. 5F shows a stowed configuration 520, wherein the storage panel 516 is affixed to the activity blanket 100 in the stowed configuration 514.

It should be understood that storage panel 516 may be permanently or removably attached to the activity blanket 100. If permanent, the storage panel 516 may be sewn to either the top layer 308 or the bottom layer 310 of the activity blanket 100, depending on folding preference. If it is desired that the storage panel 516 be hidden from view when the activity blanket 100 is in use, then the storage panel 516 may be sewn to the bottom layer 310 of the activity blanket 100. The activity blanket 100 sections shown in FIGS. 5A-5C would then be folded forwards rather than backwards such that the bottom layer of the blanket 100 is visible when the blanket is in the stowed configuration 520. It should be noted that the plush toys 200 may also be stored directly in the pockets 106 or placed in the center of the activity blanket 100 prior to transitioning the activity blanket from the open configuration 500 to the stowed configuration 514 or 520, such that the toys 200 are folded into the activity blanket 100.

Turning now to FIG. 6A, the handle 108 will be fully described. The handle 108 includes the handle pieces 108A and 108B. As described above, the handle pieces 108A and 108B are shown as representing a pod and peas, respectively. It should be appreciated to one with skill in the art that any desired form may be used for the handle pieces 108A and 108B depending on the desired theme for the blanket. The handle piece 108A includes a receiving slot 608, a locked position 610, a grip portion 604, a tab 614, a tab groove 618, and an aperture 622. The handle piece 108B includes a grip portion 602, a neck 606, a tab 612, a tab groove 616, and an aperture 620.

When locking the handle pieces 108A and 108B together, a neck 606 of the handle piece 108B engages and traverses the slot 608 on the handle piece 108A. The slot 608 is manufactured in the grip portion 604 such that the gap in the grip portion 604 created by the slot 608 is slightly narrower than the diameter of the neck 606. Because the gap in the slot 608 is narrower than the diameter of the neck 606, a small amount of force is required to push the neck 606 through the gap, extending the gap, until the neck 606 reaches the locked position 610. When the neck 606 reaches the locked position 610, the gap returns to its original dimension since the diameter of the aperture at the end of the gap is larger than the diameter of the neck 606, and thus allows the gap to close behind the neck 606. This feature prevents the handles from uncoupling without a small amount of force being applied to the handle piece 108B in order to extend the slot 608 to a position that will allow the neck 606 to pass back through.

In addition to the frictional aspect of the narrow slot 608 that locks the neck 606 into place, the handle 108 also requires a rotation of the handle pieces 108A and 108B with respect to one another prior to locking or unlocking the handle. As seen in FIGS. 6A and 6B, the grip portion 604 of the handle piece 108A is concave so that grip portion 602 of the handle piece 108B is cradled within. The sides of the grip portion 604 extend above the bottom of the grip portion 602 when the neck 606 of the grip portion 602 is in the locked position 610. Consequently, the grip portion 602 is prevented from laterally sliding out of the slot 608 without rotating the handle piece 108B as shown in FIG. 6A. It should be understood that a handle without a concave piece requiring handle rotation does not depart from the scope of the disclosure presented herein.

The tabs 614 and 612 are used to secure the handle pieces 108A and 108B to the activity blanket 100. One edge of the activity blanket 100 slides into the tab 614 in the handle piece 108A and is sewn into place. Similarly, an opposing edge of the activity blanket 100 slides into the tab 612 of the handle piece 108B and is sewn into place. It is to be understood that any means may be employed for securing the tabs 614 and 612 to the activity blanket 100. Sewing is preferred since the handle pieces 108A and 108B are plush items, made from cloth and stuffed with a suitable material. Because the handle 108 is plush, it may serve not only as a tool for carrying the blanket, but also as a toy for a child to enjoy. The manner in which the handle 108 locks together further stimulates the cognitive development of a child when the child reaches the age that she is able to explore this locking feature. The apertures 622 and 620 align when the handle 108 is in a locked position and provide a means for hanging the activity blanket 100 on a hook when configured for storage.

The activity blanket 100 is a versatile accessory. In addition to the uses and configurations described above, the activity blanket 100 may be used for numerous other applications. The pocket system may be used for storage of other toys and items or as a closet organizer. The blanket may be used as a wall hanging or room decoration. The interlocking, themed handles may be applied to bags, pillow, or any fabric closure. In this regard, the handles may be removably attached to the blanket so that they may be applied to items other than the blanket. The pockets, handles, toys, pocket collars, and panels may include means for making noise, such as rattles or squeakers, as well as light-emitting devices, to further stimulate a child's development and enjoyment.

Although the subject matter presented herein has been described in conjunction with one or more particular embodiments and implementations, it is to be understood that the invention defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific structure, configuration, or functionality described herein. Rather, the specific structure, configuration, and functionality are disclosed as example forms of implementing the claims.

The subject matter described above is provided by way of illustration only and should not be construed as limiting. Various modifications and changes may be made to the subject matter described herein without following the example embodiments and applications illustrated and described, and without departing from the true spirit and scope of the present invention, which is set forth in the following claims.