Sign up
Title:
PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Playground equipment may include a support structure. The support structure may include a platform and one or more supports sized and configured to support the platform at height above a support surface. The supports may include one or more generally vertical supports and/or one or more generally angled supports. A swing may be connected to the support structure. The swing may include a seat and one or more tethers. The tethers may be attached to spaced apart portions of the seat and/or to spaced apart portions of the support structure. The tethers may be sized and configured to retain the seat in a generally fixed orientation during use of the swing. The tethers may be sized and configured to help retain at least a substantial portion of the seat disposed underneath the platform during use of the swing.


Inventors:
Hamblin, Kevin (Logan, UT, US)
Kearl, Jacob (Plain City, UT, US)
Phillips, Corey (West Roy, UT, US)
Phelps, Bryan (West Roy, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/844147
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/23/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B17/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090227435Horizontal rotary torso exercising apparatus and methodSeptember, 2009Pandozy
20070037674Multi-exercise apparatusFebruary, 2007Finn et al.
20060035760Passive child therapy tricycle with adjustable seatFebruary, 2006Hill
20050075216Hand exercisersApril, 2005Chu
20030073549Neck exerciserApril, 2003Hatch
20020077223Martial arts scoring systemJune, 2002Zai
20060128532Extendable swing arm assembly for a treadmillJune, 2006Wang
20100051036Exercising Set for Pelvic Floor MusclesMarch, 2010Kushnir et al.
20040214692Grid on an exercise product and exercise system therewithOctober, 2004Koenig
20030064867Frame of exerciser bikesApril, 2003Chen
20080220945Body training machineSeptember, 2008Chen
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Workman, Nydegger (60 EAST SOUTH TEMPLE, 1000 EAGLE GATE TOWER, SALT LAKE CITY, UT, 84111, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Playground equipment comprising: a support structure comprising: a platform; and at least one support sized and configured to support the platform at a height above a support surface; and a swing comprising: a seat; and a plurality of tethers attached to the seat and the support structure, the plurality of tethers being sized and configured to retain the seat in a generally fixed orientation relative to the support surface, the plurality of tethers comprising: a first tether attached to a first portion of the support structure and a first portion of the seat; a second tether attached to a second portion of the support structure and a second portion of the seat; and a third tether attached to a third portion of the support structure and a third portion of the seat, the first, second and third portions of the support structure being spaced apart from each other, the first, second and third portions of the seat being spaced apart from each other.

2. The playground equipment as in claim 1, wherein the first tether comprises a first chain including a first end connected to the first portion of the support structure and a second end connected to the first portion of the seat; wherein the second tether comprises a second chain including a first end connected to the second portion of the support structure and a second end connected to the second portion of the seat; and wherein the third tether comprises a third chain including a first end connected to the third portion of the support structure and a second end connected to the third portion of the seat.

3. The playground equipment as in claim 1, wherein the first portion of the support structure comprises a first portion of the platform; wherein the second portion of the support structure comprises a second portion of the platform; and wherein the third portion of the support structure comprises a third portion of the platform, the first, second and third portions of the platform being spaced apart from each other.

4. The playground equipment as in claim 1, wherein the first, second and third portions of the support structure are spaced apart at least about six inches from each other.

5. The playground equipment as in claim 1, wherein the first, second and third portions of the support structure are spaced apart at least about twelve inches from each other.

6. The playground equipment as in claim 1, wherein the first, second and third portions of the support structure are spaced apart at least about eighteen inches from each other.

7. The playground equipment as in claim 1, wherein the first, second and third portions of the support structure are spaced apart at least about twenty four inches from each other.

8. The playground equipment as in claim 1, wherein the first, second and third portions of the support structure are arranged in a generally regular triangle arrangement.

9. Playground equipment comprising: a support structure comprising: a platform; and at least one support sized and configured to support the platform at a height above a support surface; and a swing comprising: a seat; and a plurality of tethers sized and configured to retain at least a substantial portion of the seat disposed underneath the platform during use of the swing, the plurality of tethers comprising: a first tether attached to a first portion of the platform and a first portion of the seat; a second tether attached to a second portion of the platform and a second portion of the seat; and a third tether attached to a third portion of the platform and a third portion of the seat, the first, second and third portions of the platform being spaced apart from each other, the first, second and third portions of the seat being spaced apart from each other.

10. The playground equipment as in claim 9, wherein the first, second and third portions of the platform are spaced apart at least about six inches from each other.

11. The playground equipment as in claim 9, wherein the first, second and third portions of the platform are spaced apart at least about twelve inches from each other.

12. The playground equipment as in claim 9, wherein the first, second and third portions of the platform are spaced apart at least about eighteen inches from each other.

13. The playground equipment as in claim 9, wherein the first, second and third portions of the platform are spaced apart at least about twenty four inches from each other.

14. The playground equipment as in claim 9, wherein the first, second and third portions of the platform are arranged in a generally regular triangle arrangement.

15. The playground equipment as in claim 9, wherein the seat includes at least three elongated portions extending from a generally central portion of the seat.

16. The playground equipment as in claim 9, wherein the at least one support comprises a pair of generally vertical supports and a pair of generally angled supports, the generally angled supports forming a generally upside down V-shaped configuration.

17. The playground equipment as in claim 16, wherein the generally upside down V-shaped configuration forms part of a swing set.

18. Playground equipment comprising: a support structure comprising: a platform; and a plurality of supports sized and configured to support the platform at a height above a support surface, the plurality of supports comprising: a pair of generally vertical supports; and a pair of generally angled supports, the generally angled supports forming a generally upside down V-shaped configuration, the generally upside down V-shaped configuration forming part of a swing set.

19. The playground equipment as in claim 16, wherein the generally angled supports are at least about fifteen degrees offset from the generally vertical supports.

20. The playground equipment as in claim 16, wherein the generally angled supports are at least about twenty degrees offset from the generally vertical supports.

21. The playground equipment as in claim 16, wherein the generally angled supports are at least about thirty degrees offset from the generally vertical supports.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/839,559, filed Aug. 23, 2006 and entitled PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention is generally related to playground equipment.

2. Description of Related Art

Conventional playground equipment is often used in a variety of locations and environments such as parks and schools. Children often use playground equipment for games, exercises and other activities.

Conventional playground equipment is frequently constructed from materials such as wood. Conventional playground equipment constructed from wood, however, is relatively expensive and the wood must generally be treated or finished before use. For example, the wood may be sanded and/or painted. Disadvantageously, the wood may deteriorate over time, even if the wood is frequently repainted or refinished. If the wood deteriorates, then it may have to be replaced, which may be difficult, time consuming and costly.

In addition, conventional playground equipment constructed from materials such as wood may be relatively heavy, which may make the playground equipment more difficult to install and more expensive to ship and transport. Conventional playground equipment may also include large components that may be heavy and difficult to ship. For example, known playground equipment may include components that are large, bulky and unwieldy to move. Disadvantageously, these large components may significantly increase shipping costs and make the equipment difficult to install and/or assemble.

Known playground equipment may also be difficult to ship because it may be packaged within a number of large boxes. These boxes may be very heavy and awkward to move. Further, a large amount of unused spaced may be located within the boxes, which may require a large amount of shipping materials to fill the unused spaced. Various portions of conventional playground equipment may also require specialized boxes or containers, which may undesirably increase shipping and transportation costs.

Conventional playground equipment may also require a significant amount of space for use. Disadvantageously, this may prevent the playground equipment from being used in many desired locations. For example, the playground equipment may be too large to fit within a consumer's yard. In addition, even if the consumer has sufficient space in their yard, the playground equipment may have a configuration that is incompatible with the available space. For instance, the playground equipment may have a length or width that is too large.

Known playground equipment is typically arranged into a specific pattern or layout. Unfortunately, the pattern or layout may not be in the most efficient or desired configuration for a particular consumer. In addition, conventional playground equipment can include components that the consumer does not desire, while failing to include components that the consumer does desire. Accordingly, in order to allow for the different demands of the consumer, the manufacturer may have to make several different types of playground equipment and the retailer may have to carry several different types of playground equipment. Disadvantageously, the different type of playground equipment may increase manufacturing costs and require additional storage space.

Playground equipment may include swings, which include a seat connected to a support structure using a plurality of chains. For example, some swings include a seat that has an elongated shape extending between the ends of the seat, which are connected to a support structure by a pair of chains. Some swings include a tire that is connected to a support structure by a plurality of chains connected to a hook attached to the support structure. Unfortunately, these and other swings may have a larger range of motion, which may cause the swings to inadvertently contact other portions of the playground equipment and thus disrupt or interfere with the use of the swing.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

A need therefore exists for playground equipment that eliminates or diminishes the disadvantages and problems described above.

One aspect is playground equipment that may include a variety of different types of equipment. For example, the playground equipment may include a main structure such as a playhouse. The main structure may include a floor and it may be raised above the ground. The main structure may also include railings, a roof, walls and the like.

Another aspect is playground equipment that may include a number of components or pieces. For example, the playground equipment may include a main structure, a swing set, a climbing wall, a slide, monkey bars, a picnic table, sandbox, a ladder and/or the like. Advantageously, the playground equipment may include any desired number and type of components. Significantly, the components may be interconnected into any desired arrangement or configuration.

Still another aspect is the playground equipment may include attachment portions that are sized and configured to facilitate connection of the various components. The attachment portions may assist in connecting the components in the desired arrangement or configuration. For example, the attachment portions may allow components, such as monkey bars or swing sets, to be attached to different portions of the main structure.

A further aspect is playground equipment that may include one or more components that can be interchangeable. This may allow different configurations and arrangements of the playground equipment to be created. For example, various components may be connected to different structures or components to create various suitable configurations and arrangements. Significantly, this may allow the playground equipment to be customized to accommodate the needs of particular retailers and/or consumers. Further, because the components of the playground equipment may be arranged in a variety of configurations and combinations, this may reduce manufacturing costs.

A still further aspect is playground equipment that may include a support structure. The support structure may include a platform and the platform may be raised above the ground. If desired, the support structure may include walls, railings, a roof and the like. The support structure may also be sized and configured to allow other components to be attached. For example, one or more swing sets, climbing walls, slides, monkey bars, picnic tables, sandboxes and the like may be attached to the support structure. In addition, one or more of these components may be sized and configured to be connected to a specific portion of the support structure such a frame or platform. This may facilitate attachment of the components in a suitable arrangement or configuration.

Another further aspect is playground equipment that may include a support structure, and the support structure may include a platform and a plurality of supports sized and configured to position the platform above the ground. The supports may include two or more generally vertical supports and/or two or more generally angled supports. The generally angled supports are preferably positioned at an offset angle relative to the generally vertical supports. For example, the generally angled supports may be positioned about 10 degrees, 15 degrees, 20 degrees, 25 degrees, 30 degrees or more offset from the generally vertical supports. The supports preferably include a pair of generally vertical supports and a pair of angled supports, and the pair of angled supports may be interconnected form an upside down V-shaped configuration. Desirably, the pair of angled supports may form a part of a swing set.

Yet another aspect is playground equipment that may include a swing. The swing may include a seat and one or more tethers, such as chains, ropes, cables or the like, attached to the seat. In greater detail, the swing may have one chain, rope, cable or the like attached at the center of the seat, or it may have three chains, ropes or cables attached at three different portions of the seat. The playground equipment may also include a support structure, and the chains, ropes, cables or the like may be attached to the support structure, which may allow the seat to hang from the support structure. The chains, ropes, cables or the like are preferably attached to a plurality of generally fixed locations on the support structure and/or the seat. In particular, the chains, ropes, cables or the like are preferably attached to plurality of spaced apart portions of the seat and/or to a plurality of spaced apart portions of the support structure. Attaching the chains, ropes, cables or the like to a plurality of spaced apart portions of the seat and/or support structure may more effectively limit the movement of the seat to a desired range of motion, which may advantageously help prevent the seat from inadvertently contacting other portions of the playground equipment. The spaced apart portions of the support structure may be spaced apart, for example, at least about 6 inches, 12 inches, 18 inches or 24 inches apart from each other; and the spaced apart portions of the seat may be spaced apart, for example, at least about 6 inches, 12 inches, 18 inches or 24 inches apart from each other.

A further aspect is playground equipment that may include a swing including a seat and at least three chains, ropes, cables or the like. The chains, ropes, cables or the like are preferably attached to plurality of spaced apart portions of the seat and/or to a plurality of spaced apart portions of the support structure. The spaced apart portions of the seat may be arranged in a generally regular polygon arrangement (such as a generally regular triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, etc.). The spaced apart portions of the support structure may also be arranged in a generally regular polygon arrangement.

Yet another aspect is playground equipment that may include a swing including a seat. The seat may include at least three elongated portions extending from a generally central portion of the seat. Desirably, some or all of the elongated portions may be sized and configured to allow a child to sit upon the elongated portion. For example, a seat with three elongated portions may provide seating to accommodate three children.

Still another aspect is playground equipment that may include a swing including a seat. The seat may include one or more portions constructed from a relatively lightweight material, such as plastic, using a blow-molding or other suitable manufacturing process. The seat may also include a frame, which may be sized and configured to reinforce the blow-molded portions of the seat. For example, the frame may include one or more supports, which may be connected to the blow-molded portions of the seat. The supports may be constructed from a relatively strong material, such as metal, and the supports preferably have an elongated configuration.

Yet another aspect is playground equipment that may include components with generally the same size. Advantageously, this may facilitate interchanging of the components and/or arranging the components into the desired arrangement or configuration. For example, the climbing wall, the slide and/or the ladder may have generally the same width. In addition, the main structure of the playground equipment may include one or more openings or access portions that have generally the same width as the climbing wall, the slide and/or the ladder. Accordingly, the climbing wall, the slide or the ladder may be attached to the same access portions. This may allow the playground equipment to have the desired arrangement or configuration.

A further aspect is playground equipment that may include a main structure with a raised platform and one or more walls, railings, barriers and the like. The railings, for example, may include or provide openings or access portions. For instance, the railing may include an opening and/or a portion of the railing may be removable to create an access portion. If desired, the railing may include multiple openings and/or removable portions. The openings and access portions preferably have generally the same size, which may facilitate attachment of the components in the desired arrangement or configuration. In addition, this may facilitate interchanging of the components.

Still another aspect is playground equipment that may include one or more components constructed from metal tubing. Preferably, the metal tubing has a relatively larger outer diameter. The large diameter metal tubing may be used to construct various portions of the playground equipment, such as the frame, and it may allow a rigid and sturdy structure to be constructed. Significantly, the metal tubing may also be able to support a large amount of force or weight, and the metal tubing may require very little maintenance or repair.

Still yet another aspect is playground equipment that may include one or more components constructed from plastic. For example, the playground equipment may include walls, roof and/or floor that are constructed from plastic. In addition, the climbing wall and/or slide may be constructed from plastic. The plastic components are preferably constructed using a blow-molding process, which may allow lightweight components to be formed and it may allow the components to have various desired configurations, shapes, sizes and designs. This may also allow components to be constructed that are generally weather resistant and temperature insensitive, which may allow the playground equipment to be used in a wide variety of locations and environments. In addition, this may allow components that are durable, long-lasting and corrosion resistant to be constructed. Further, because components constructed from blow-molded plastic may be relatively strong, these components may be used to support a relatively large amount of weight. Advantageously, these components may form or be part of a structural member of the playground equipment. In addition, these components may be supported by a frame and/or other suitable structures.

Another aspect is playground equipment that may include a climbing wall. The climbing wall may be adjustably connected to the playground equipment, which may allow the climbing wall to be disposed in various configurations and arrangements. For example, the climbing wall may be connected to the main structure using one or more fasteners and the fasteners may allow the height and/or positioning of the climbing wall to be adjusted. This may facilitate positioning of the climbing wall on uneven surfaces.

Yet another aspect is a climbing wall that may include a plurality of panels, which may be interconnected. The panels may have a generally curved shape and may be interconnected to form a climbing wall with a generally semicircular configuration.

These and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The appended drawings contain figures of preferred embodiments to further illustrate and clarify the above and other aspects, advantages and features of the present invention. It will be appreciated that these drawings depict only preferred embodiments of the invention and are not intended to limit its scope. The invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of playground equipment;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the playground equipment shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of a portion of the playground equipment shown in FIG. 1, illustrating an exemplary support structure;

FIG. 4 is an upper perspective view of an exemplary swing, illustrating an exemplary seat and exemplary tethers;

FIG. 5 is an upper perspective view of a portion of the swing shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the swing shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the portion of the swing shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a diagram of an upper view of exemplary attachment locations for the tethers shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 9 is an upper perspective view of the seat shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 10 is an exploded view of the seat shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a lower perspective view of the seat shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is an exploded view of the seat shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is an upper perspective view of another exemplary swing, illustrating exemplary seat;

FIG. 14 is an upper perspective view of the seat shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an lower perspective view of the seat shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is a top view of the seat shown in FIG. 13; and

FIG. 17 is a bottom view of the seat shown in FIG. 13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is generally directed towards playground equipment. The principles of the present invention, however, are not limited to playground equipment. It will be understood that, in light of the present disclosure, the playground equipment disclosed herein can be successfully used in connection with other types of structures.

Additionally, to assist in the description of the playground equipment, words such as top, bottom, front, rear, right and left may be used to describe the accompanying figures, which are not necessarily drawn to scale. It will be appreciated, however, that the playground equipment can be located in a variety of desired positions, arrangements and configurations. A detailed description of the playground equipment now follows.

As shown in FIGS. 1-2, playground equipment 10 may include a main structure 12, such as a playhouse or the like. The main structure 12 may include a platform 14 with a floor 16. The platform 14 may also include a frame 18 that may be sized and configured to support, strengthen and/or reinforce the floor 16.

The main structure 12 may also include one or more supports, such as supports 20, 22, 24 and 26, that are sized and configured to support the platform 14 above a support surface, such as the ground. The main structure 12 may further include railings; a roof and/or other suitable components.

In further detail, the main structure 12 may include two or more generally vertical supports, such as the supports 20, 22, and/or two or more generally angled supports, such as the supports 24, 26. The generally angled supports 24, 26 are preferably positioned at an offset angle relative to the generally vertical supports 20, 22. For example, the generally angled supports 24, 26 may be positioned about 10 degrees, 15 degrees, 20 degrees, 25 degrees, 30 degrees or more offset from the generally vertical supports 20, 22. The supports 24, 26 may be interconnected form an upside down V-shaped configuration. Desirably, the supports 24, 26 may form a part of a swing set 28. It will be appreciated, however, that some or all of the supports 20, 22, 24, 26 may be generally vertical, generally angled and/or in other suitable orientations and may be in other suitable relative positions, if desired.

The playground equipment 10 may include any suitable number and combination of components or pieces. For example, the playground equipment 10 may include the main structure 12, the swing set 28, a climbing wall 30, a slide 32, a ladder 34, monkey bars, a picnic table and/or a sandbox. Advantageously, the playground equipment 10 may include any desired number and type of components. For example, the playground equipment 10 may include all of these components, only some of these components and/or other components. The playground equipment 10 may also include two or more of the same components. For example, the playground equipments 10 may include a pair of climbing walls 30 and a pair of ladders 34. Of course, the playground equipment could have other suitable combinations, types and configurations of components.

The playground equipment 10 preferably includes components that can be connected in a variety of suitable configurations and arrangements, such as the arrangement shown in FIGS. 1-2 and/or other arrangements. Advantageously, this may allow the playground equipment 10 to be customized or arranged for a particular location and/or use. In addition, at least some of the components are preferably interchangeable and/or connectable to different components or structures to facilitate construction of the different configurations and arrangements. Because the components of the playground equipment 10 may be arranged in a variety of configurations and combinations, this may reduce manufacturing costs.

To facilitate the interconnection of these various components of the playground equipment, the playground equipment 10 may include one or more attachment portions that are sized and configured to allow these components to be connected. The attachment portions are preferably sized and configured to allow the various components to be selectively connected. For example, the main structure 12 may include attachment portions that allow the selected components to be attached to the main structure. Advantageously, the attachment portions may be sized and configured to allow the components to be attached to the main structure 12 in different configurations and/or arrangements. For instance, the swing set 28 and/or monkey bars may include an attachment portion that may be sized and configured to be connected to one or more attachment portions of the main structure 12. Other suitable aspects of attachment portions and, in general, playground equipment are disclosed in Assignee's U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/447,334, which was filed on Jun. 6, 2006 and entitled PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT, published as U.S. patent application publication US 2007/0078014 A1, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.

The playground equipment 10 may include components with generally the same size and/or configuration. Advantageously, this may facilitate interchanging of the components and/or arranging the components into the desired arrangement or configuration. For example, the climbing wall 30, the slide 32 and the ladder 34 may have generally the same width. In addition, the main structure 12 of the playground equipment 10 may include one or more openings or access portions that may have generally the same width as the climbing wall 30, the slide 32 and the ladder 34. Accordingly, the climbing wall 30, the slide 32 or the ladder 34 may be attached to the same access portions. For instance, the ladder 34 may be attached to an access portion or the climbing wall 30 may be attached to the access portion, if desired. While one or more of the components may have generally the same size and/or configuration, the components could also have other suitable sizes and configurations depending, for example, upon the intended use of the playground equipment 10.

In greater detail, one or more railings may enclose at least a portion of the platform 14 and the railings may include one or more openings or access portions. For instance, a portion or section of a railing may be removable to create an access portion to which the climbing wall 30, the slide 32, the ladder 34 or other component may be attached. In particular, the railing may include vertical members and horizontal members, and at least a portion of the vertical and/or horizontal members may be removed to create the opening or access portion. Preferably the removable section includes four or five vertical members and an accompanying portion of the horizontal members. It will be appreciated, however, that the openings or access portions and the removable section may have various sizes and/or configurations depending, for example, upon the type or design of the playground equipment 10. It will also be appreciated that the openings or access portions may be located in any desired portions of the playground equipment 10, such as walls, floors, roofs, etc.

The railings may include multiple removable portions, openings or access portions. For example, one or more railings may include two removable sections to create two corresponding access portions. In addition, one or more other railings may include only a single removable section, if desired. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the railings and other portions of the playground equipment 10 may include any desired number, size and configuration of removable sections, openings and access portions depending, for example, upon the intended use of the playground equipment.

The removable sections of the railings preferably have generally the same size so that the corresponding openings or access portions have the same size. In addition, the removable sections of the railings are preferably interchangeable. It will be appreciated, however, that the removable sections do not have to be interchangeable and the openings or access portions could have any suitable size and arrangement. It will also be appreciated that the playground equipment 10 and the main structure 12 do not require any railings or any removable sections, openings and access portions.

As shown in FIGS. 1-2, the climbing wall 30 may include one or more openings, which may be sized and configured to provide a grip (such as, handholds and footholds). The climbing wall 30 may also preferably include one or more larger openings, which may be sized and configured to allow a person to go through the opening. The climbing wall 30 may also include other types of structures such as grips, detents, protrusions and the like depending, for example, upon the intended use of the climbing wall.

The climbing wall 30 may be constructed from plastic. In particular, the climbing wall 30 may be constructed from blow-molded plastic with a first outer wall, a second outer wall and a hollow interior portion formed during the blow-molding process. The climbing wall 30, however, could be constructed from other suitable materials and processes.

The climbing wall 30 may also be constructed from one or more components that are interconnected. For example, the climbing wall 30 may be constructed from two panels 36, 38 that are interconnected. Advantageously, the panels 36, 38 may be integrally formed as part of a unitary, one-piece structure during the blow-molding process. In addition, the openings and/or other structures may be integrally formed with the panels as part of the unitary, one-piece structure. In particular, the openings may be at least partially defined by a wall extending between a front surface and a rear surface of the panels 36, 38, and at least a portion of the wall may be integrally formed during the blow-molding process.

The panels 36, 38 may have a generally curved shape and may be interconnected to form a climbing wall 30 with a generally semicircular configuration. It will be appreciated, however, that the panels 36, 38 and/or the climbing wall 30 may have other suitable shapes and configurations, if desired. It will also be appreciated that the climbing wall 30 need not be constructed from a plurality of panels and that the climbing wall may be constructed from a single panel, if desired.

The panels 36, 38 may also be interchangeable. For example, the panels 36, 38 may have generally the same shape and configuration. In addition, the panels 36, 38 could be constructed from the same or substantially similar molds. This may make the manufacturing processes easier and simpler. This may also make the climbing wall 30 faster and less expensive to manufacture. In addition, this may make the panels 36, 38 easier to repair and/or replace. Further, because the panels may be interchangeable, the panels may be stored together, which may make the storage more efficient. It will be appreciated, however, that the panels 36, 38 need not be interchangeable and the panels could have any suitable design, shape and configuration.

The climbing wall 30 is preferably adjustably connected to the playground equipment 10. In particular, the climbing wall 30 is preferably adjustably connected to a railing and/or the platform 14 using one or more connectors. In particular, the connectors may connect the railing and/or the platform 14 to the climbing wall 30. The connectors are preferably sized and configured to be adjustably connected to the climbing wall 30. This may allow, for example, the positioning of the climbing wall 30 to be adjusted relative to the railing and/or the platform 14. By adjusting the position of the climbing wall 30 relative to a railing and/or the platform 14, the climbing wall may be used with structures of various heights. In addition, this may allow the climbing wall 30 to be adjusted relative to a support surface, such as the ground. Significantly, this may allow the climbing wall 30 to be used in connection with an uneven support surface. If desired, the connectors may be sized and configured to be adjustably connected to any portion of the climbing wall along the height of the climbing wall 30, and the connectors may be spaced apart from the top and bottom ends of the climbing wall, if desired.

In greater detail, either or both of the panels 36, 38 of the climbing wall 30 may be adjustably connected to the playground equipment 10. For example, the panel 36 may be adjustably connected to a railing and/or the platform 14 using one or more connectors and the panel 38 may be adjustably connected to the railing and/or the platform using one or more connectors. If desired, the panels 36, 38 may be independently connected to the railing and/or the platform 14, which may accommodate various support surfaces, such as sloped support surfaces. In addition, the panels 36, 38 may be interconnected in a plurality of relative positions, which may also help the panels 36, 38 accommodate various support surfaces. If desired, the panels 36, 38 may be interconnected using one or more elongated supports. The panels 36, 38 may also be interconnected using a snap fit, a friction fit and/or an interference fit, fasteners, adhesives and/or other suitable devices or means.

The playground equipment 10 may also include one or more swings, such as a swing 40 shown in FIGS. 4-7. The swing 40 may include a seat 42 and one or more tethers 44 (such as, chains, ropes, cables or the like) attached to the seat. For example, the swing 40 may have a single tether 44 attached at the center of the seat 42, or as shown in FIGS. 4-7, it may have three tethers attached at three different portions of the seat. As shown in FIGS. 1-2, the platform 14, the supports 20, 22, 24 and 26 and/or other components may form a support structure 46, and as shown in FIG. 6, the tethers 44 may be attached to the support structure, which may allow the seat 42 to hang from the support structure. In addition, as shown in FIG. 6, attaching the tethers 44 to the support structure 46 may allow at least a substantial portion of the seat 42 to be disposed underneath the platform 14 and/or at a height that is less than the height of the platform. It will be appreciated that the swing 40 may include any number of tethers 44 and that the tethers may be attached to any number of portions of the seat 42, the support structure 46 and/or other portions of the playground equipment 10. It will also be appreciated that the seat 42 may be disposed in other suitable locations.

The tethers 44 may be attached to a plurality of generally fixed locations on the support structure 46 and/or the seat 42. In particular, as shown in FIGS. 4-5, the tethers may be attached to plurality of spaced apart portions 48 of the seat 42 and/or to a plurality of spaced apart portions 50 of the support structure 46. The spaced apart portions 48 of the seat 42 may be spaced apart, for example, at least about 6 inches, 12 inches, 18 inches or 24 inches apart from each other, and the spaced apart portions 50 of the support structure 46 may be spaced apart, for example, at least about 6 inches, 12 inches, 18 inches or 24 inches apart from each other. It will be appreciated, however, that the spaced apart portions of the seat and/or the support structure may be spaced apart at greater or lesser distances.

Attaching the tethers 44 to a plurality of spaced apart portions of the seat 42 and/or support structure 46 may more effectively limit the movement of the seat and/or other portions of the swing 40 to a desired range of motion, which may advantageously help prevent the seat and/or other portions of the swing from inadvertently contacting the supports 20, 22, 24 and 26, other portions of the support structure 46 and/or other portions of the playground equipment 10. In addition, this may advantageously help retain the seat 42 in a generally fixed orientation, for example, relative to the platform 14, other portions of the playground equipment 10 and/or a support surface, such as the ground. In particular, this may advantageously help retain the seat 42 in a generally fixed level orientation.

As shown in FIG. 8, the portions 50 may be spaced apart at a distance that is greater than the distance that the portions 48 are spaced apart. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, some or all of the tethers 44 may extend outwardly in direction away from a generally central portion of the seat 42 and/or may be positioned at an angle A that may be at least about 5 degrees, 10 degrees, 15 degrees, 20 degrees, 30 degrees or more from a generally vertical position, which may help space the portions 50 at a distance that is greater than the distance than the portions 48 are spaced apart. This may further help limit the movement of the seat 42 and/or other portions of the swing 40 to a desired range of motion, help retain the seat in the generally fixed orientation and/or help prevent the seat and/or other portions of the swing from inadvertently contacting the supports 20, 22, 24 and 26, other portions of the support structure 46 and/or other portions of the playground equipment 10.

The portions 50 may be spaced apart at a distance that is less than the distance that the portions 48 are spaced apart, if desired. For example, some or all of the tethers 44 may extend inwardly in a direction towards a generally central portion of the seat 42 and/or may be positioned at an angle B that may be at least about 5 degrees, 10 degrees, 15 degrees, 20 degrees, 30 degrees or more from a generally vertical position, which may help space the portions 50 at a distance that is less than the distance than the portions 48 are spaced apart. This may also help limit the movement of the seat 42 and/or other portions of the swing 40 to a desired range of motion, help retain the seat in the generally fixed orientation and/or help prevent the seat and/or other portions of the swing from inadvertently contacting the supports 20, 22, 24 and 26, other portions of the support structure 46 and/or other portions of the playground equipment 10. In some instances, one or more of the tethers 44 may extend inwardly and one or more of the tethers 44 may extend outwardly depending, for example, upon the particular configuration of the swing and/or the particular desired range of motion. It will be appreciated that any number and combination of the tethers 44 may extend inwardly, extend outwardly and/or be in a generally vertical position or other suitable positions.

As shown in FIG. 8, the spaced apart portions 50 of the support structure 26 may be arranged in a generally regular polygon arrangement (such as a generally regular triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, etc.). The spaced apart portions 48 of the seat 42 may also be arranged in a generally regular polygon arrangement. The generally regular polygon arrangements may even further help limit the movement of the seat 42 and/or other portions of the swing 40 to a desired range of motion, help retain the seat in the generally fixed orientation and/or help prevent the seat and/or other portions of the swing from inadvertently contacting the supports 20, 22, 24 and 26, other portions of the support structure 46 and/or other portions of the playground equipment 10. It will be appreciated, however, that the spaced apart portions 48 and/or the spaced apart portions 50 may be arranged in a variety of other suitable arrangements.

Significantly, the tethers 44 may be sized and configured to prevent the seat 42 from contacting any of the supports 20, 22, 24, 26, other portions of the support structure 46 and/or other portions of the playground equipment 10 during use of the swing 40. In addition, the tethers 44 may also be sized and configured to retain the seat in the generally fixed orientation during use of the swing 40. Moreover, the tethers 40 may be sized and configured to help retain at least a substantial portion of the seat 42 disposed underneath the platform 14 and/or at a height that is less than the height of the platform 14 during use of the swing 40. It will be appreciated, however, that the tethers 44 do not require these configurations and may have other suitable configurations.

A tether 44 may have a generally rigid construction or a generally flexible construction. For example, as shown in FIGS. 4-5, a tether 44 may include a generally rigid member, such as a tube or cover 52, and/or a generally flexible member, such as a chain 54. As shown in FIG. 4, a portion of the chain 52 may be inserted through the tube 54, and the ends of the chain may be connected to the seat 42 and the support structure 46. It will be appreciated that the tether 44 may include a chain, a rope, a cable and/or other suitable components and that the tether may have other suitable constructions.

As shown in FIGS. 9-12, the seat 42 may include one or more portions 56 constructed from a relatively lightweight material, such as plastic, using a molding process (such as, an injection-molding, blow-molding or other molding process) or other suitable manufacturing process. Desirably, some or all of the portions 56 may be sized and configured to allow a child to sit upon the portions. For example, a seat 42 with three portions 56 may provide seating to accommodate three children. It will be appreciated, however, that the seat 42 may have a variety of other suitable sizes and configurations that may accommodate any number of persons.

The seat 42 may also include a frame 58, which may be sized and configured to be connected to and/or reinforce the portions 56. For example, the frame 58 may include one or more supports 60, which may be interconnected and may be connected to the portions 56. The supports 60 may be constructed from a relatively strong material, such as metal, and the supports preferably have an elongated configuration. It will be appreciated, however, that the seat 42, the portions 56, the frame 58 and the supports 60 may be constructed from other suitable materials using other suitable processes.

Of course, the seats, frames and supports may have a variety of other suitable shapes and configurations. For example, a seat may comprise a tire. Also, as shown in FIG. 13, an exemplary seat 62 may include at least three elongated portions 64 extending from a generally central portion of the seat. Desirably, some or all of the elongated portions 64 may be sized and configured to allow a child to sit upon the elongated portion. The elongated portions 64 may be constructed from a relatively lightweight material, such as plastic, using a molding process (such as, an injection-molding, blow-molding or other molding process) or other suitable manufacturing process.

The seat 62 may also include a frame 66, which may be sized and configured to be connected to and/or reinforce the elongated portions 64. For example, the frame 66 may include one or more supports 68, which may be interconnected and may be connected to the elongated portions 64. The supports 68 may be constructed from a relatively strong material, such as metal, and the supports preferably have an elongated configuration. It will be appreciated, however, that the seat 62, the elongated portions 64, the frame 66 and the supports 68 may be constructed from other suitable materials using other suitable processes.

As shown in FIGS. 1-2, the main structure 12 may include a roof 70. The roof 70 may include a flexible sheet 72, such as a fabric sheet (such as a canvas sheet) or other flexible sheet. The sheet 72 may be supported by one or more supports 74, 76 that may help provide an angled, generally tent-shaped design. It will be appreciated, however, that the roof 70 does not require any flexible sheets and may be constructed from other component having other suitable characteristics. I will also be appreciated that the roof 70 is not required.

The playground equipment 10 may include one or more components constructed from metal tubing. Preferably, the metal tubing has a relatively large outer diameter. Advantageously, the large diameter metal tubing may be used to construct at least a portion of the frame 18 and/or the supports 20, 22, 24, 26. The metal tubing may allow a rigid and sturdy playground equipment to be created. Significantly, the metal tubing may also be able to support a large amount of force or weight, and the metal tubing may require very little maintenance or repair. It will be appreciated, however, that the playground equipment 10 need not be constructed from metal tubing and may be constructed from other materials having other suitable configurations.

The playground equipment 10 may include one or more components constructed from plastic. For example, the floor 16, the climbing wall 30, the slide 32, the portions 56 of the seat 42 and/or the portions 64 of the seat 62 may be constructed from plastic. The plastic components may be constructed using a blow-molding process, which may allow lightweight components to be formed and it may allow the components to have various desired configurations, shapes, sizes and designs. This may also allow components to be constructed that are generally weather resistant and temperature insensitive, which may allow the playground equipment 10 to be used in a wide variety of locations and environments. In addition, this may allow components that are durable, long-lasting and corrosion resistant to be constructed. Further, because components constructed from blow-molded plastic may be relatively strong, these components may be used to support a relatively large amount of weight. Advantageously, these components may form or be part of a structural member of the playground equipment 10. In addition, these components may be supported by a frame and/or other suitable structures.

Advantageously, components constructed from blow-molded plastic may be relatively strong because it may include opposing walls or surfaces that are separated by a distance. Preferably, the opposing walls are separated by a generally constant distance, but the walls may be separated by any suitable distance. In addition, because components formed during the blow-molding process may include a hollow interior portion, the components may be relatively lightweight. It will be appreciated, however, that these and other components of the playground equipment 10 could also be constructed from other suitable processes such as injection molding, rotary molding, compression molding and the like. In addition, these and other components of the playground equipment 10 could be constructed from other suitable materials such as synthetics, composites, wood, metal and the like.

In addition, the components constructed from blow-molded plastic may include one or more depressions, which may also be referred to as “tack-offs” and “kiss-offs.” The depressions are preferably sized and configured to strengthen the blow-molded components. The depressions may extend from one surface of the component toward an opposing surface and the depressions may contact or engage the opposing surface, but the depressions may be spaced apart from the opposing surface. The depressions are preferably integrally formed in the components during the blow-molding process. If desired, the depressions may be arranged into or form part of a pattern.

Although this invention has been described in terms of certain preferred embodiments, other embodiments apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art are also within the scope of this invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is intended to be defined only by the claims which follow.