Title:
Segmented observable activity enclosure and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An activity enclosure and method of use thereof, the enclosure having a play area with a centrally located portion for parental observation of children at play. The enclosure has benches and barbecue grills, and radially-extending play segments that selectively include basketball, croquet, miniature golf, golf pool, paddleball, a sandpit, a Jungle Gym, and so forth. The central portion is covered to protect from the elements. The entire play area is fenced in and may comprise a variety of overall shapes (square, rectangle circle, etc.) with a central portion having radial play segments emanating therefrom. Game equipment with identifying names is provided to new home purchasers for utilizing on the play areas.



Inventors:
Mckey, Robert W. (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/448641
Publication Date:
09/14/2006
Filing Date:
06/07/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100062880Device for training athletic or sports ball playersMarch, 2010Hayes
20040254035Ball batting and kicking practice deviceDecember, 2004Hoffman
20070037637Jym Pitch TrainerFebruary, 2007Jennings
20070105668Hunting arrow tracking systemMay, 2007Kikos
20070298895Golf swing analyzing/training mat system with ball striking-related feedbackDecember, 2007Nusbaum et al.
20080161124WOOD GOLF CLUB HEADJuly, 2008Kajita
20040116214Goal post pad with flat sides and removable display platesJune, 2004Charles Sr.
20030224867Golf swing training club with adjustable weightDecember, 2003Ota
20070117923Polyurethane and polyurea compositions for golf ballsMay, 2007Wu et al.
20060264266Modular golf clubNovember, 2006Jung
20080102970INDOOR GOLF PUTTING TRAINING APPARATUSMay, 2008Park



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, KIEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIAMSON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW, LLC (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A segmented observable activity enclosure comprising: a central observation position; and a plurality of activity areas radially-extending from said central observation position.

2. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, wherein said central observation position comprises seating.

3. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, wherein said central observation position comprises food preparation equipment.

4. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, wherein said plurality of activity areas comprises activity areas selected from the group consisting of croquet pitches, miniature golf courses, basketball goal-courts, bocce ball courts, golf pool layout, paddleball, sand pit, Jungle Gym, badminton courts, horseshoe pitches, and combinations thereof.

5. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, wherein said segmented observable activity enclosure is disposed within a security perimeter.

6. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 5, wherein said security perimeter comprises a fence with access gate.

7. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, wherein said enclosure is selected from the group consisting of generally circular enclosures, generally square enclosures and generally rectangular enclosures.

8. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, wherein said enclosure comprises segments selected from the group consisting of generally pie-shaped segments and generally triangular segments.

9. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, further comprising game equipment labeled to identify the owners thereof.

10. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, further comprising lighting.

11. The segmented observable activity enclosure of claim 1, wherein said central observation position comprises a canopy.

12. A method of observing children during play activity, said method comprising the steps of: entering a central observation location; and observing children playing on activity areas radially-extending from said central observation location.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of: providing game equipment labeled with indicia representing the owner thereof to said children.

14. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of cooking food while observing said children.

15. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of socializing with other persons while observing said children.

16. A segmented observable activity enclosure system comprising: at least one activity area radially-extending from a central observation location.

17. The segmented observable activity enclosure system of claim 16, wherein said central observation location comprises food preparation equipment and seating.

18. The segmented observable activity enclosure system of claim 17, further comprising a canopy and lighting.

19. The segmented observable activity enclosure system of claim 18, wherein said at least one activity area comprises an activity area selected from the group consisting of croquet pitches, miniature golf courses, basketball goal-courts, bocce ball courts, golf pool layout, paddleball, sand pit, Jungle Gym, badminton courts, horseshoe pitches, and combinations thereof.

20. The segmented observable activity enclosure system of claim 19, further comprising activity equipment labeled with indicia relating to the owner of said equipment.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to activity enclosures, and more specifically to a segmented observable activity enclosure and method of use thereof, wherein the segmented observable activity enclosure is suited for children, and wherein caregivers can interact with each other whilst readily observing children at play.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Previously, attempts to provide recreational areas for children have been limited to providing courts for play of discrete games, or provision of playground apparatuses for use by children under supervision of adults. Such courts or playgrounds require that the adult be present with the child, since the courts or playgrounds are typically in an area disassociated from the child's home. Unfortunately, such courts or playgrounds lack facilities for adults to interact with other adults and/or to carry out activities such as cooking, without leaving the court/playground area.

Further, many families have more than a single child, and, accordingly, the children may have different activity needs and/or desires. Thus, in traditional play areas, only a single child can be readily observed by a single parent.

Moreover, as noted above, when parents are supervising and observing their children at play, it is desirable that the parents have the opportunity for other activities of their own and/or in concert with their children. Such other activities often include conducting a family meal, wherein the children can play, under close observation, while the parent(s) prepare a meal. Subsequently, when the meal is ready, the children are in close proximity and can quickly join their parents in partaking of food. Unfortunately, previous play areas neither provide a central observation location, nor the facilities for communication with others, nor the ability to prepare and eat food.

For instance, one such previous invention includes a ticket station located generally centrally in proximity to several round basketball courts that are subdivided in quadrants. Another device comprises a generally rectangular track with an infield having courts therein. A playground deck of another apparatus comprises an assortment of playground activities, such as a slide, a climbing web, a bridge and a ladder.

While some of the aforementioned devices may well function to provide a play area for children, none of the devices provides an area for adults to socialize together, to cook, serve and eat food with their children, while maintaining a watchful eye on their children at play.

Therefore, it is readily apparent that there is a need for a segmented observable activity enclosure and method of use that overcomes the afore-mentioned disadvantages and provides a safe, secure location for children to play while being observed by socializing adults.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention overcomes the afore-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a device by providing a segmented observable activity enclosure having a play area with a centrally located portion with benches and grills for parental observation, and radially-extending play segments that selectively include basketball, croquet, miniature golf, golf pool, paddleball, sandpit, Jungle Gym, etc. The central portion is covered to protect from the elements. The entire play area is fenced in and may comprise any overall shape (square, rectangle circle, etc.), with a central portion and radial play segments emanating therefrom. Game equipment with identifying names is provided to new home purchasers.

According to its major aspects and broadly stated, the present invention in its preferred form is a lighted segmented observable activity enclosure within a security perimeter of a fence with lockable access gate. The enclosure has a central observation position covered by a canopy, with seating areas, such as, for exemplary purposes only, picnic tables and benches, and food preparation equipment, such as, for exemplary purposes only, barbecue grills. The enclosure is generally circular, generally square or generally rectangular, and the activity areas are in generally pie-shaped or generally triangular segments.

One or more activity areas for children extend radially from the central observation position. The activity areas comprise croquet pitches, miniature golf courses, basketball goal-courts, bocce ball courts, golf pool layout, paddleball, sand pit, Jungle Gym, badminton courts and horseshoe pitches. Equipment for playing at the various activities, labeled for the owner thereof, is provided to home purchasers upon taking ownership of their home.

Families enter the enclosure, and children and/or adults play with the game equipment labeled with indicia representing the owner thereof on the activity areas radially extending from a central observation location. Parents in the central observation location can cook and/or serve food, communicate with one another, and socialize, all while observing their children.

More specifically, the present invention is a segmented observable activity enclosure, and method of use thereof, the enclosure comprising segments, a central observation area, a fence with restricted access gate, light standards and lines delineating the boundaries of the segments. The segments have selected game fields/courts, such as, for exemplary purposes only, croquet pitches, miniature golf courses, paddleball courts, basketball courts, and a play area. The basketball courts have both large basketball courts for adults and large children, and small basketball courts for smaller children. An open play area, with or without a Jungle Gym, also has a sand pit. Games are played utilizing game implements provided when a home in the subdivision is purchased. The implements include mallets, paddles, balls, clubs, etc., that are marked with the name of the homeowner to provide for their return in the event of loss.

The activity areas can be varied by the homeowners' association by changing one or more of the segments to accommodate new games. In this fashion, the entire play area does not have to be changed to provide new and interesting game varieties, thus minimizing the cost to small subdivisions.

The central observation area is covered by a canopy, and has grills, tables and benches therein. The grills are centrally located within the observation area, the tables circle the grills and are themselves circled by benches. Residents of the subdivision can choose to sit on benches, at tables, or to cook while observing the play and security of their children.

Children and adults wishing to utilize the activity facilities enter the enclosure via a restricted access gate. The surrounding fence defines the enclosure and serves to prevent unauthorized access. Adults and/or children can then play, socialize, communicate and/or cook and eat within the protected enclosure that permits observation of children by their parents. Lights permit activities to be carried out during dusk or darkness, and a canopy provides shelter during periods of inclement weather.

An alternate embodiment of the present invention comprises a rectangular activity enclosure having triangular segments for games/activities, a central observation area, a restricted access gate, light standards and segment division lines. The alternate embodiment further includes golf pool, and a miniature golf course that extends across two triangular segments.

Accordingly, a feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide a secure enclosure for children at play.

Another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to permit adults to observe their children at play, while the adults communicate, socialize and/or cook.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide a variety of different games to suit the needs and desires of different children.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide identification of game equipment owners.

Yet still another feature and advantage of the present invention is that it permits adults and children to play together if desired.

A further feature and advantage of the present invention is that it a safe, secure area for families to congregate and interact.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Selected Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a segmented observable activity enclosure according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a detail perspective view of a central observation enclosure of a segmented observable activity enclosure according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a detail perspective view of an activity area of a segmented observable activity enclosure according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a segmented observable activity enclosure according to an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND SELECTED ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

In describing the preferred and selected alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-4, the present invention in a preferred embodiment is segmented observable activity enclosure 10, preferably comprising segments 20, central observation area 30, fence 50, restricted access gate 60, light standards 70 and segment division lines 80. Segments 20 preferably comprise activity areas 40, wherein activity areas 40 preferably selectively comprise games, such as, for exemplary purposes only, croquet pitches 100, miniature golf courses 110, paddleball courts 120, basketball courts 130, and play area 160. Basketball courts 130 preferably comprise large basketball goal court 140 and small basketball goal court 150, wherein small basketball goal court 150 is preferably more suited to smaller children 220, thereby preferably permitting children 220 to play in close proximity to adults 230, and preferably facilitates instruction of children. Play area 160 preferably comprises sand pit 170, and could alternately comprise a Jungle Gym or other apparatus to entertain children 220.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 2, central observation area 30 preferably comprises canopy 90, grills 240, tables 250 and benches 260, wherein grills 240 are preferably generally centrally located within observation area 30, and wherein tables 250 are preferably disposed in a circular fashion around grills 240, and wherein benches 260 are preferably disposed circularly around tables 250. Adults/parents/home purchasers 230 can preferably selectively sit on benches 260 to observe the play of children 220 (best shown in FIG. 3), at tables 250, or can cook on grills 240, while observing children 220.

Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 1, 3-4, segment 20 preferably comprises croquet pitch 100, wherein children 220 preferably play croquet by utilizing activity implements 200, and wherein activity implements 200 preferably comprise indicia 210. Indicia 210 preferably serve to identify the family of a selected home purchaser 230.

In use, adults 230 and children 220 desirous of performing various social activities preferably enter segmented observable activity enclosure 10 via restricted access gate 60. Fence 50 preferably defines segmented observable activity enclosure 10 and serves to prevent unauthorized access, wherein access is preferably only via restricted access gate 60. Preferably utilizing activity implements 200 carrying indicia 210 thereon indicative of the owners thereof, children 220 and/or adults 230 preferably play at selected activities according to activity area 40 that they choose. Adult parents 230 can prepare foods at grills 240 while observing children 220 and/or communicating with other adults 230; serve food at tables 250 while socializing with other adults 230 and/or with children 220, or while observing children 220 playing in segments 20; communicate with other adults 230 and/or children 220 while seated at tables 250, or while observing children 220 playing in segments 20; or observe children 220 while seated at benches 260. Light standards 70 preferably permit activities to be carried out during dusk or darkness, and canopy 90 preferably provides shelter during periods of inclement weather.

Referring now more specifically to FIG. 4, illustrated therein is an alternate embodiment of device 10, wherein the alternate embodiment of FIG. 4 is substantially equivalent in form and function to that of the preferred embodiment detailed and illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 except as hereinafter specifically referenced. Specifically, the embodiment of FIG. 4 comprises rectangular activity enclosure 300, wherein rectangular activity enclosure 300 comprises triangular segments 310, central observation area 30, fence 50, restricted access gate 60, light standards 70 and segment division lines 80. Triangular segments 310 comprise activity areas 40, wherein activity areas 40 selectively comprise games, such as, for exemplary purposes only, croquet pitches 100, golf pool 180, basketball courts 130, play area 160, and miniature golf course 110. Miniature golf course 110 extends across two triangular segments 310. Basketball courts 130 comprise large basketball court 140 and small basketball goal court 150, wherein small basketball goal court 150 is more suited to smaller children. Play area 160 comprises sand pit 170.

The foregoing description and drawings comprise illustrative embodiments of the present invention. Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Merely listing or numbering the steps of a method in a certain order does not constitute any limitation on the order of the steps of that method. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Although specific terms may be employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.