Title:
PLAY TABLE WITH CONTOURS AND WATER FEATURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A child play table and kit accompanying the same is disclosed. In one embodiment, the child play table may have contoured terrain, such as a mountain, valley, or other types of terrain that may include a waterfall, a river, lake and/or an ocean featuring water flow produced by a pump. A controller may be included that activates the pump in coordination with a story line, which may be incorporated into a book, and/or user activity. The kit may include accessories corresponding to the story line such as human, dinosaur, fish and animal figurines, buildings, homes, forts, castles, roads, bridges and other structures as well as miniaturized toy vehicles. The controller may also generate audio signals corresponding to the story line.



Inventors:
Meyer, Paul (Arlington Heights, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/098768
Publication Date:
10/08/2009
Filing Date:
04/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNG, SCOTT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Francissen Patent, Law P. C. (65 W. JACKSON BLVD, SUITE # 138, CHICAGO, IL, 60604, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A child's play table kit, the kit comprising: a play table, the play table having a platform supporting a surface, the surface having formed thereon a waterproof landscape that includes at least one recessed portion for receiving liquid; a plurality of accessories that are configured for placement on the play table, the accessories being sized in relation to the landscape; and a book having a plot that corresponds to the landscape and the accessories in the plot.

2. The kit of claim 1, wherein the landscape has mountains and valleys formed thereon.

3. The kit of claim 1, wherein the landscape has a water course formed therein, where the watercourse is in communication with the recessed portion of the landscape.

4. The kit of claim 3, where the play table further includes a pump having an intake in communication with the recessed portion and an outlet in communication with the water course so as to create a flow of water on the play table.

5. The kit of claim 4, where the play table further includes a controller operably coupled to the pump to control the function of the pump.

6. The kit of claim 5, the kit further including a sensor disposed on the surface of play table, where the controller is operably coupled to the sensor in order to sense the presence of a user and the controller is configured to activate the pump in response to sensing the user.

7. The kit of claim 5, where the controller is further configured to perform a timer function in order to coordinate an event that occurs in the plot on the play table, where the at least one event that occurs on the play table involves activating the pump for an interval of time.

8. The kit of claim 5, where the controller further includes a sound generator for generating audible signals corresponding to the plot of the book.

9. The kit of claim 1, wherein the plurality of accessories includes at least one of a human, an animal, a dinosaur, a fish, a boat, a pirate ship, an airplane, a helicopter, a canoe, a car, a jeep, a truck, a tank, a train, an all terrain vehicle, a building, a house, a fortification, a castle, a road, and a bridge.

10. The kit of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the landscape is user-configurable.

11. A play table comprising: a platform supporting a surface, the surface having formed thereon a landscape that includes at least one recessed portion for receiving liquid and a water course that is in communication with the recessed portion of the landscape; and a pump having an intake in communication with the recessed portion and an outlet in communication with the water course so as to create a flow of water on the play table.

12. The play table of claim 11, wherein the landscape has a raised portion formed thereon, where the water course is formed at least in part on the raised portion of the landscape and the outlet of the pump is positioned on the raised portion of the landscape.

13. The play table of claim 11, further comprising a plurality of accessories including at least one of a human, an animal, a dinosaur, a fish, a boat, a pirate ship, an airplane, a helicopter, a canoe, s car, a jeep, a truck, a tank, a train, an all terrain vehicle, a building, a house, a fortification, a castle, a road, and a bridge.

14. The play table of claim 11, wherein at least a portion of the landscape is user-configurable.

15. The play table of claim 11, where the play table further includes a controller operably coupled to the pump to control the function of the pump.

16. The play table of claim 15, the play table further including a sensor disposed on the surface of the play table, where the controller is operably coupled to the sensor in order to sense the presence of a user and the controller is configured to activate the pump in response to sensing the user.

17. The play table of claim 16, where the controller is further configured to perform a timer function in order to coordinate at least one event that occurs on the play table in accordance with a story line, where the at least one event that occurs on the play table involves activating the pump for an interval of time.

18. The play table of claim 16, where the controller further includes a sound generator for generating audible signals in accordance with a story line.

19. The play table of claim 16, where the controller further includes a sound generator for generating audible signals in accordance with a story line and the controller is further configured to perform a timer function in order to coordinate at least one event that occurs on the play table in accordance with the story line.

20. The play table of claim 19, the play table including a book that includes the story line.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a child play table, and more specifically to a play table having contours and a flowing water feature.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Child play tables are known in the art. Some existing play tables offer a shorter stature to suitably fit a child's stature, and some offer toys that come with or are built into the table.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to one or more of the following features, elements or combinations thereof. A child play table and kit accompanying the same is disclosed. In one embodiment, the child play table may have contoured terrain, with landscape features such as a mountain, valley, or other types of terrain. The play table may have running water that could be incorporated in a waterfall, a river, lake and/or an ocean. Other items may be included in a kit sold with the play table, such as a storybook, human, dinosaur, fish and/or animal figurines, buildings, homes, forts, castles, roads, bridges and other structures as well as miniaturized toy vehicles such as boats, pirate ships, planes, helicopters, canoes, cars, jeeps, trucks, tanks, trains, ATV's, and the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Certain embodiments of the present invention are described with respect to the following drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 2 is a cutaway side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, taken along the line 2-2 shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The following examples further illustrate the invention but, of course, should not be construed as in any way limiting its scope.

As can be seen in FIGS. 1-2, a play table 10 comprises a horizontal platform 12 and a support structure 14 (such as the illustrative legs of the table) that is configured to support the platform 12 above an underlying substrate, such as a floor. In the illustrated example, play table 10 comprises four table legs 16, but it should be understood that other support configurations are within the scope of the invention.

In the illustrative embodiment, platform 12 carries a contoured terrain or landscape 18 on its upper surface. The contoured terrain may be partially recessed into the top of the table, such as to include recessed area or reservoir 24. Contoured terrain 18 may include a water course 40 in communication with recessed area 24 to permit liquid to flow through the water course to the reservoir 24 to form, for example, a waterfall or stream. For example, contoured terrain 18 may be configured to include many elements or combinations thereof, including the following: a miniaturized mountain, a valley, a road, a lake, a city, a river, a cave, a waterfall, “snow,” a tree, bushes, rocks or any other type of material that may be contemplated as appearing in natural or developed geographic regions. Contoured terrain 18 could even be user-configurable, having moldable or movable elements. Contoured terrain 18 could address historical events (such as battles or expeditions), cities (such as London or Venice) or fictional events (such as a hunt for buried pirate treasure, a castle surrounded by a moat or dinosaurs existing in a jungle).

Additional accessories or items may be included in a kit with the play table 10. For example, accessories such as figurines 19 of humans, dinosaurs, fish and/or animals and associated figurines may be provided for a child's benefit when playing on play table 10. Boats, pirate ships, planes, helicopters, canoes, cars, jeeps, trucks, tanks, trains, ATVs and other vehicles 23 may also be provided. Buildings, homes, forts, castles, roads, bridges and other structures may be provided depending on the theme of the play table. Play tables may also be designed to connect multiple play tables in order to create a larger, group-playing surface. It is also contemplated that a storybook 21 may be provided that would have a plot corresponding to the accessories supplied with a kit including the play table to allow a child to read a story related to historical or fictional events and then use his or her imagination to complete the story with the terrain 18, figurines 19, and/or vehicles 23 of the play table 10.

A kit including play table 10 may also include a chair 20, or a plurality of chairs, or even a bench that can be integral with table 10 or separate from table 10.

As shown in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 2, play table 10 can be configured to have a pump 22 built into horizontal platform 12. In the example of FIG. 2, pump 22 has an intake in communication with recessed area 24 and an outlet 26 in communication with water course feature 40 formed into the terrain of play table 10, where water course 40 is also in communication with recessed area 24. Consequently, the pump 22 may be operated to pump a liquid (such as water) from reservoir 24 to water course feature 40 to form a water fall, in this example, that flows back to reservoir 24 allowing continuous flow of the liquid in the water course. It is contemplated that pump 22 and play table 10 could be configured in a number of other manners, so as to provide an effect of a river, a flow of lava, or any other type of desired fluid-like movement on the contoured terrain 18 portion of play table 10.

It is further contemplated that multiple pumps 22 may be configured for use with play table 10. Such multiple pumps could be arranged and configured for pumping a variety of fluid-like substances that would simulate movement on contoured terrain 18. Pumps 22 may alternately be housed below horizontal platform 12, or positioned in other locations relative to horizontal platform 12. Pumps may be electrical or battery powered.

Timing and/or sound features (not shown) could also be incorporated with play table 10. Such timing and/or sound features could be configured to further add to the experience for a child playing with play table 10. For example, the flow of fluid on play table 10 could be configured to flow on a timed schedule, intermittently, and/or in response to sensed movement on a particular section of the play table. Play table 10 could also be configured to emit sounds that emulate either the flow of one or more of the fluid-like substances, or various other sounds that may be in conjunction with the storybook plot. It is further contemplated that such sounds and fluid movement could be configurable, and even based on the particular storybook plot chosen at the time.

In the example shown in FIG. 2, a controller 30 is included that is operably coupled to pump 22 in order to control the operation of the pump. Controller 30 may also be operably coupled to sensor 32 disposed on the surface of play table 10 for sensing the presence of a user, e.g. by sensing infrared light. Controller 30 may be configured to activate pump 22 when the presence of a user is sensed via sensor 32. Controller 30 may also be configured to perform the timing and audio functions discussed above. One example of a controller 30 is a microprocessor based module having timing, control and audio functionality.

In one embodiment, the controller 30 is configured to activate and deactivate the pump in accordance with the story line or plot of a book. The controller 30 may also be configured to generate audio signals, such as sound effects or instructions, that correspond to the story line of the book. For example, the controller may systematically activate and deactivate the pump in response to timed intervals or sensing the motion of action of a user or a combination of both and generate suitable audio signals for an event taking place in the story line and to be played out on the surface of the play table.

While the disclosure is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific exemplary embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and have herein been described in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intent to limit the disclosure to the particular embodiments disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims.

All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.

The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.

Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. It should be understood that the illustrated embodiments are exemplary only, and should not be taken as limiting the scope of the invention.





 
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