Title:
Entertainment device with soft goods play implements and housing
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A reconfigurable entertainment device is disclosed, wherein the device includes a housing having an opening leading to a play implement receiving region. The entertainment device also includes at least one play implement for being retrieved from the play implement receiving region through the opening. The housing also includes an attachment member used to selectively secure the device to a child receiving device such a crib, stroller, car seat, swing, bassinet, bouncer, etc. The entertainment device of the present invention is configurable in at least first and second modes of use. In a first mode of use, the attachment member is used to connect the housing to a child receiving device such that the opening of the housing, and thus the play implements, are exposed to a child in the child receiving device. In a second mode of use, the entertainment device is supported in a freestanding manner by a supporting surface (e.g., a floor, blanket, mattress, play-mat, etc.). A child on the supporting surface within reach of the entertainment device can reach through the opening of the housing and retrieve play implements from the play implement receiving region. The child can then enjoy interacting with the housing or the play implements during floor play.



Inventors:
Mastrosimone-gese, Mary G. (East Aurora, NY, US)
Morton, Kenneth P. (East Aurora, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/438702
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
05/23/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RICCI, JOHN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EDELL, SHAPIRO & FINNAN, LLC (Gaithersburg, MD, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An entertainment device comprising: a housing, said housing including a play implement receiving region and an attachment mechanism, said housing formed at least partially from a soft goods material; and at least one play implement, said at least one play implement operable to be removeably received in said play implement receiving region of said housing, said at least one play implement formed at least partially from a soft goods material, wherein said attachment mechanism is operable to attach said housing to a child receiving device.

2. The entertainment device of claim 1, wherein said housing is freestanding and is operable to sit on a supporting surface and receive said at least one play implement to provide for a floor-play mode of use.

3. The entertainment device of claim 2, wherein said attachment mechanism of said housing comprises at least one flexible member attached to said housing for securing said housing to said child receiving device.

4. The entertainment device of claim 1, wherein said child receiving device is a crib, said crib including crib rails, and said attachment mechanism is operable to attach said housing to said crib rails.

5. The entertainment device of claim 3, wherein said at least one flexible member further comprises first and second straps, wherein said first strap includes a first fastener and said second strap includes a second fastener, wherein said first fastener and said second fastener are attachable to each other to attach said housing to said child receiving device.

6. The entertainment device of claim 1, wherein said at least one play implement is in the form of a volumetric geometric shape.

7. The entertainment device of claim 6, wherein said at least one play implement comprises a plurality of play implements.

8. The entertainment device of claim 6, wherein said volumetric geometric shape is one of the group comprising a square, a triangle, a circle, and a rectangle.

9. The entertainment device of claim 7, wherein said play implement receiving region of said housing is complementarily shaped to receive said plurality of play implements.

10. The entertainment device of claim 7, wherein at least one of said plurality of play implements is a cube with six sides and wherein each of said sides includes one of a visual indicia and a tactile stimulating region.

11. The entertainment device of claim 10, wherein at least one of said plurality of play implements includes a sound generating device housed therein to generate audible output.

12. The entertainment device of claim 10, wherein one of said six sides is formed from a contoured fabric pattern to provide said tactile stimulating region.

13. The entertainment device of claim 7, wherein at least one of said plurality of play implements includes a vibration producing mechanism.

14. The entertainment device of claim 1, wherein said housing further includes at least one of a visual indicia and a tactile stimulating region.

15. The entertainment device of claim 1, wherein said housing includes a stiffener member to provide structural rigidity to said housing.

16. The entertainment device of claim 7, wherein said plurality of play implements are configured to be stacked.

17. A method of using an entertainment device in a child receiving device mode and a floor-play mode, said method comprising the steps of: providing a housing including a play implement receiving region and an attachment mechanism, the housing formed at least partially from a soft goods material; providing at least one play implement, the at least one play implement operable to be removeably received in the play implement receiving region of said housing, the at least one play implement formed at least partially from a soft goods material; utilizing the attachment mechanism to attach said housing and said at least one play implement received in said play implement receiving region to a child receiving device; removing the housing from the child receiving device; and placing the housing and the at least one play implement received in the play implement receiving region in a freestanding position on a supporting surface for a floor-play mode of use.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the at least one play implement is a cube with six sides.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the child receiving device is a crib, the crib including crib rails, and the step of utilizing the attachment mechanism to attach said housing and the at least one play implement received in the play implement receiving region to a child receiving device includes the further step of utilizing the attachment mechanism to attach the housing to the crib rails.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the at least one play implement comprises a plurality of play implements, the plurality of play implements being configured to be stacked, the method further comprising the step of removing the plurality of play implements from the play implement receiving region of the housing and stacking the plurality of play implements on each other.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/754,278, filed Dec. 29, 2005, the entire content of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a reconfigurable entertainment device and, more particularly, to a set of play implements and a housing for storing the play implements, where the housing and the play implement are each made at least partially of a soft goods material. The housing further includes at least one flexible member attached thereto for selectively securing the housing to a child receiving device such as a crib, stroller, car seat, swing, bassinet, bouncer, etc. In a first mode of use, the entertainment device of the present invention is configurable such that the at least one flexible member is secured to the child receiving device to provide a first play mode wherein a child in the child receiving device may retrieve play implements from or insert play implements into the housing within the child receiving device. In a second mode of use, the entertainment device of the present invention is configurable such that the housing is freestanding on a support surface such as a floor, blanket, or mattress, such that a child sitting on the floor may retrieve play implements from or insert play implements into the housing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Young children enjoy grasping, manipulating and stacking play implements as well as placing play implements into identified target areas such as holes, receptacles, or other open receiving areas. Children develop and become more mobile as they explore crawling, walking and other motor skills. At each stage of development, a child becomes more agile and capable than in earlier stages of development. Parents obviously want to encourage exploration at each developmental stage in order to accelerate the child's passage to the next developmental stage. To this end, reconfigurable entertainment devices offer parents an opportunity to encourage exploration at various developmental levels. Reconfigurable entertainment devices can provide skill level-appropriate stimulation at one developmental stage and can then be reconfigured to provide skill level-appropriate stimulation at a more advanced skill level/developmental stage.

In the present case, a reconfigurable children's soft goods block set and soft goods holder/housing is disclosed. The entertainment device of the present invention can be reconfigured into multiple configurations to stimulate children of different distinct skill and developmental levels. The entertainment device includes graspable, stackable soft goods play implements and a soft goods housing for removably receiving the implements therein. A child using the entertainment device of the present invention can grasp the soft goods play implement for stacking, throwing, inserting into or removing from the housing or just for play and exploration with an individual soft goods play implement. Each soft goods play implement has a volumetric geometric shape (e.g., a cube, a sphere, etc.). When the soft goods play implement is formed in the shape of a six-sided cube, each side has thereon at least one of a visual indicia and a tactile stimulation region. The soft goods play implements may also include an internal sensory stimulation (e.g., a sound generator or a vibration producing mechanism) device to generate sensory stimulating output.

The entertainment device according to the present invention facilitates two modes of activity or use for children at different developmental levels. In the first mode of use, a flexible member, connected to the housing of the entertainment device, is attached to a child receiving device such as the rails of a crib to secure the housing thereto. The attached entertainment device including its housing and soft goods play implements are thus made accessible (even to infants) by placing the housing and soft goods play implements within reach of the lower portion of the crib. In the early stages of development an infant may lie in the crib and still be able to access the housing and soft goods play implements. As the child develops past infancy, his/her range of motion is expanded and the child is able to explore past the confines of a crib, the flexible member of the housing can be detached from the crib rails and the housing can removed from the crib and placed on a flat supporting surface (e.g., floor, blanket, mattress, play-mat, etc). As a result, a child that has advanced to the toddler stage can sit up on the supporting surface and access the soft goods housing and soft goods play implements housed therein. In both modes of use, the soft goods play implements of the entertainment device feature numerous sensory stimulating rewards including visual, audible, and tactile stimulation.

As referenced above, the entertainment device of the present invention also provides sensory-stimulating rewards for a child. Each soft goods play implement and the soft goods housing may include a sensory-stimulating device(s) housed internally for creating sensory-stimulating output. Various sensory-stimulating devices may be utilized (e.g., bell devices, rattle devices, crinkle material, soft or rough textured material, vibration generation devices, etc.).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Generally, the entertainment device of the present invention comprises a reconfigurable children's entertainment device comprising a set of soft goods play implements and a soft housing for removably receiving the play implements. As referenced above, the housing and the play implements are each composed at least partially of soft goods materials.

The housing of the entertainment device of the present invention forms an enclosure with an opening on one side for removably receiving the soft goods play implements. The housing also includes a fastener attached to the housing. The fastener may comprise a flexible member that is composed of first and second straps that are used to connect the housing to various child receiving devices. The ends of each of the first and second straps may include one of a hook or loop fastener with the other end including the corresponding other one of the hook or loop fasteners. Accordingly, the first and second straps of the flexible member can then be wrapped around a portion of the child receiving device (e.g., crib rails) and the hook and loop fasteners secured together to fasten the housing to the child receiving device. The housing of the entertainment device of the present invention may also include visual and tactile stimulating features on its exposed surfaces.

The entertainment device of the present invention may also include at least one soft goods play implement and preferably includes a set of soft goods play implements. Each soft goods play implement may be formed to be graspable by a child and may be formed in one of a number of volumetric geometric shapes (e.g., spherical, triangular, rectangular, conical, pyramidal, cubic, etc.). The shapes of the soft goods play implements are obviously not limited to the foregoing list of volumetric geometric shapes and thus, they may be formed in any shape. When the chosen volumetric geometric shape is cubical, the play implement has six sides and fits by itself or with other play implements into the play implement receiving region through the opening of the housing. The opening and the play implement receiving region of the housing is complementarily shaped with respect to the soft goods play implements. Furthermore, each soft goods play implement, presents a child with numerous sensory stimulating opportunities. For example, each side of a particular soft goods play implement may include at least one of a visual indicia and a tactile stimulating region. Tactile stimulating regions may include at least contoured fabric patterns and extended projecting streamers or tassels. The soft goods play implements of the present invention may also include internally embedded sound generating devices. Such embedded sound generating devices may include bell devices and/or rattle devices. The soft goods play implements of the present invention may also include vibration generation devices that are embedded within the internal volume of the play implement.

The entertainment device of the present invention may be employed for use in at least two distinct modes. In a first mode of use, first and second straps of the flexible member are wrapped around a portion of a child receiving device to attach the housing of the entertainment device to a portion of the child receiving device. The child may then be placed in the child receiving device within reach of the entertainment device so that the child can grasp the housing or one of the soft goods play implements. The child can then either remove or return the play implement(s) to the play implement receiving region of the housing or, alternatively, play with the play implement(s) independently of the housing. In a second mode of use, generally employed when the child is older and can sit up, the housing of the entertainment device can be detached from the child receiving device and placed on a supporting surface with the opening of the housing, and thus the soft goods play implements contained therein, exposed to the child. The child can either remove or return the play implement(s) to the play implement receiving region of the now freestanding housing or, alternatively, play with the play implement(s) independently of the housing, all the while enjoying the various stimulations provided by the entertainment device (e.g., tactile, sound or vibration stimulation).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device of the present invention sitting on a supporting surface and including a housing with an opening and two cubical soft goods play implements received in the play implement receiving region while a third soft goods play implement lies outside of the housing on the supporting surface.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device of the present invention sitting on a supporting surface and showing all three cubic play implements also sitting on the supporting surface in a partially stacked formation.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device of the present invention sitting on a supporting surface and showing all three cubic play implements received in the play implement receiving of the housing.

FIG. 4 illustrates an isolated perspective view of the housing of the entertainment device of the present invention sitting on its side on a supporting surface to expose the housing's opening and play implement receiving region.

FIG. 5 illustrates a close-up perspective view of a corner of the opening of the housing of the entertainment device of the present invention showing a cut-away of a sleeve that surrounds the perimeter of the housing's opening to reveal a stiffener for strengthening the housing's structure.

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of an outer side of the housing of the entertainment device of the present invention showing a sewn seam extending from a bottom corner to a top corner of the housing.

FIG. 7 illustrates a close-up perspective view of a bottom corner of the housing of the entertainment device of the present invention formed by three converging seams that help stiffen the housing structure.

FIG. 8 illustrates an end perspective view of an outer side of the housing of the entertainment device of the present invention with the top fabric layer cut-away to expose a padded soft goods under-layer.

FIG. 9 illustrates a close-up, end perspective view of an outer side of the housing of the entertainment device of the present invention of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 illustrates a close-up view of the rear outer side wall of the housing of the entertainment device of the present invention showing the flexible fastening member.

FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of the flexible fastening member of FIG. 10, including the first and second straps being connected together at their ends by mating fastener elements.

FIG. 12 illustrates a close-up perspective view of three sides of a first cubic soft goods play implement of the present invention.

FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective view of two additional sides of the first cubic play implement of FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 illustrates a perspective view of the final side of the first cubic play implement of FIG. 12.

FIG. 15 illustrates a close-up perspective view of three sides of a second cubic soft goods play implement of the present invention.

FIG. 16 illustrates a perspective view of two additional sides of the second cubic play implement of FIG. 15.

FIG. 17 illustrates a perspective view of the final side of the second cubic play implement of FIG. 15.

FIG. 18 illustrates a perspective view of the use of a pull cord that is connected to a vibration mechanism located internally in the second cubic play implement of the present invention.

FIG. 19 illustrates a close-up perspective view of three sides of a third cubic soft goods play implement of the present invention.

FIG. 20 illustrates a perspective view of two additional sides of the third cubic soft goods play implement of FIG. 19.

FIG. 21 illustrates a perspective view of the final side of the third cubic soft goods play implement of FIG. 19.

FIG. 22 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device of the present invention in a first use mode entertaining an infant in a child receiving device, with the entertainment device placed within reach of the infant.

FIG. 23 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device of the present invention in a second use mode sitting on a supporting surface and entertaining a toddler old enough to sit up on the supporting surface and interact with the housing and play implements.

Like reference numerals have been used to identify like elements throughout this disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In accordance with the present invention, an activity entertainment device is disclosed. The entertainment device is a reconfigurable to allow for at least two distinct modes of activity. In a first mode of use, the entertainment device is connected to a child receiving device such as a crib, stroller, car seat, swing, bassinet, bouncer, etc., to entertain an infant. When the infant is placed in the child receiving device with reach of the entertainment device, it may lie in the child receiving device and interact with the housing or the soft goods play implements. In a second mode of use, the entertainment device may be freestanding on a supporting surface (e.g., floor, blanket, mattress, play-mat, etc) so that a toddler may sit on the supporting surface and interact with the entertainment device. Play will generally include exploring the attractive visual, tactile, and other sensory stimulating features of the housing and play implements (e.g., touching the attractive features of the housing, removing play implements from and returning play implements to the implement receiving region of the housing and manipulating and stacking the play implements).

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention sitting on a supporting surface 110 and including a housing 120 with an opening 130 and two cubical soft goods play implements 140B and 140C received therein while a third cubical soft goods play implement 140A lies outside of the housing 120 on the supporting surface 110. A child within reach of the entertainment device 100 is attracted thereto by the many sensory stimulating features associated with the housing 120 and the play implements 140A-C. A child can then reach for and grasp one of the play implements 140A-C from the play implement receiving region 150 through the opening 130 of the housing 120 for inspection and exploration of the play implement 140A-C. As the housing 120 also boasts a number of sensory stimulating features, a child may also choose to explore and play with the housing 120 by itself.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention sitting on a supporting surface 110. As illustrated, the three cubic play implements 140A-C are also sitting on the supporting surface 110, but in a partially stacked formation. Children that are old enough to sit up and retrieve a play implement 140A-C from the housing 120 will enjoy manipulating the play implements 140A-C individually as well as together. The stacking of the soft goods play implements 140A-C is one of a child's favorite activities. The entertainment device 100 of the present invention allows children to stack the play implements 140A-C in a number of various configurations.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention sitting on a supporting surface 110 and shows the three cubic play implements 140A-C received in the play implement receiving region 150 through the opening 130 of the housing 120. Children enjoy replacing the play implements 140A-C into the opening 130 of the housing 120 as much as retrieving them from the housing 120. Therefore, after the play implements 140A-C are removed from the housing 120, children can be challenged to place the play implements 140A-C back into the play implement receiving region 150 (through the opening 130) of the housing 120. Obviously, the last play implement 140A (best seen in FIG. 1) to be replaced will challenge the child to correctly orient the play implement 140A before it can be successfully inserted into the play implement receiving region 150 via the opening 130 of the housing 120.

FIG. 4 illustrates an isolated perspective view of the housing 120 of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention sitting on its side on a supporting surface 110 to expose the housing's opening 130 and play implement receiving region 150. As illustrated, the housing 120 can be formed as a rectangular shaped volume of four side walls 431, 432, 433, and 434 and a bottom or rear wall 435. The opening 130 is located to expose the play implement receiving region 150 which is defined by the side walls 431, 432, 433, and 434 and the bottom/rear wall 435. The housing 120 is made at least partially from a soft goods material to give the housing 120 a soft touch to a child. Also constructed at least partially from soft goods material are two animal characters 410 and 420 sewn to the periphery of the housing 120. The two animal characters (best seen in FIG. 4) may be stylized as a butterfly 410 and a worm 420. Both characters 410 and 420, in addition to their colorful presentation, are arranged on the housing 120 so as to project past the boundaries of the housing 120 to stand out and attract a child to them. The housing 120 also includes a rim 450 around the perimeter of the opening 130 of the housing 120 to define the access area for retrieving and replacing the play implements 140A-C into the play implement receiving region 150.

FIG. 5 illustrates a close-up perspective view of a corner of the opening 130 of the housing 120 of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention showing a cut-away of a sleeve that surrounds the rim 450 around the perimeter of the opening 130. Specifically, the rim 450 (described in FIG. 4) is composed of the sleeve 510 which encases the stiffener 520. The sleeve 510 is in turn sewn to the tops of walls 431, 432, 433 and 434. As a result, the stiffener 520, which may be formed from a variety of materials including plastic or a stiffer fabric, increases the structural integrity of the rim 450 which defines the opening 130 of the housing 120. This increased structural rigidity allows the housing 120 to maintain its rectangular shape.

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of an outer side of the housing 120 of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention. This figure shows a sewn seam 610 extending from a bottom corner 620 to a top corner 630 of the housing 120. The side walls 431, 432, 433, and 434 and bottom wall 435 of the housing 120 are held together by a number of seams such as seam 610. As illustrated, the sewing together of a number of layers of soft goods material at the corners creates a seam with a greater structural integrity than the remainder of the housing 120. As a result, the seams 610 create a type of skeletal structure along with stiffener 520 of the rim 450 to allow the housing 120 to generally maintain its volumetric configuration. Additional stitching may also be hidden on the interior of the outermost layer of fabric on the housing 120.

FIG. 7 illustrates a close-up perspective view of a bottom corner 620 of the housing 120 of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention. The bottom corner 620 may be formed by three converging seams 610, 712 and 714 that are sewn to help stiffen the housing structure. Seams 610, 712, and 714 converge to create a strengthened three dimensional corner 620 that tends to maintain its shape. In other words, after several layers of soft goods material have been stitched together, to form seams such as 610, 712, and 714 and corners such as 620, their structural integrity is significantly greater than the soft goods material itself without the stitching.

FIG. 8 illustrates an end perspective view of an outer side 433 of the housing 120 of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention with the top fabric layer cut-away to expose a padded soft goods under-layer. FIG. 8 illustrates the cut away 800 of the top fabric layer 810 exposing a padded under-layer 820 and an exposed view of an otherwise hidden sewn seam 830. Therefore, the side walls 431, 432, 433, and 434 of the housing 120 and the bottom wall 435 each include a layer of soft goods padding material 820 between two outer layers 810 and 815 of colorful attractive covering material. One of the outer layers 810 of the side walls 431, 432, 433, and 434 is exposed on the outer side of the housing 120 and the other of the two layers 815 is exposed on the implement receiving region 150 of the housing 120. The bottom wall 435 may be formed in the same layered fashion as the side walls 431, 432, 433, and 434.

FIG. 9 illustrates a close-up, end perspective view of an outer side 433, 433 of the housing 120 of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention of FIG. 8. As illustrated and discussed above, the outer side 433 of the housing 120 is shown with a cut away 800 of the top fabric layer 810 exposing the padded under-layer 820 and the otherwise hidden sewn seam 830.

FIG. 10 illustrates a close-up view of the rear outer side wall 435 of the housing 120 of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention showing the flexible fastening member. The flexible fastening member 1000 including a first strap 1010 having a fastener element 1030 on its end and a second strap 1020 having a fastener element 1040 on its end. Strap fastener element 1030 is attachable to strap fastener element 1040 to connect the end of the first strap 1010 to the end of the second strap 1020. FIG. 10 also shows a cross stitching 1050 that may be used to connect the flexible fastening member 1000 to the bottom wall 435 of the housing 120.

FIG. 11 illustrates a view of the flexible fastening member 1000 including a first strap 1010 and a second strap 1020 connected to each other at their ends by the attachable fastener elements 1030 and 1040. Although a flexible fastening member is illustrated herein, any type of known fastener arrangement may be utilized to selectively attach the entertainment device 100 of the present invention to a child receiving device.

FIG. 12 illustrates a perspective view of three sides 1210, 1220 and 1230 of soft goods cubic play implement 140B of the present invention including a textured or contoured fabric side 1210, a streamer tactile side 1220, and a number counting side 1230. The contoured fabric side 1210 includes a contoured fabric pattern 1212 that provides a tactile stimulation region. The streamer tactile side 1220 provides tactile stimulation by providing a plurality of streamers 1222 attached to the side of the cube 140B by external stitching 1224. Finally the number counting side 1230 features visual indicia 1232 including a numeral (e.g., “3”) as well as an image of a corresponding number of items 1234 (e.g., and image of three flowers) to represent the numeral.

FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective view of two additional sides of the cubic play implement 140B of FIG. 12. Three sides 1210, 1320, and 1330 of the soft goods cubic play implement 140B are shown. These sides include the textured fabric side 1210 described in FIG. 12 above, an animal image side 1320, and a checkered side 1330. The animal image side 1320 includes stimulating colorful visual indicia of a friendly animal such as a cat 1322. Finally, the checkered side 1330 includes visual indicia in the form of sensory stimulating checker board-type pattern 1332 of contrasting colors.

FIG. 14 illustrates a perspective view of the final side of the soft goods cubic play implement 140B of FIG. 12. In FIG. 14, three sides 1410, 1320, and 1330 of the soft goods cubic play implement 140B are shown. These sides include a textured or contoured fabric side 1410, as well as the checkered side 1330, and animal image side 1320 shown in FIG. 13 and discussed above. The contoured fabric side 1410 is a textured fabric side imprinted with an animal pattern such as a bee for tactile stimulation. Such use of textured fabrics provides both visual and tactile stimulation for the child.

FIG. 15 illustrates a close-up perspective view of three sides of a second cubic soft goods play implement 140C of the present invention. The cubic soft goods play implement 140C includes the three sides (1510, 1520 and 1530) illustrated in FIG. 15. These sides include a happy face image side 1510, a textured or contoured fabric side 1520, and an animal image side 1530. The happy face image side 1510 includes visual indicia of a smiley face 1512. The textured or contoured fabric side 1520 includes a contoured fabric for visual and tactile stimulation. In addition, the animal image side 1530 of soft goods play implement 140C includes printed visually stimulating indicia of an animal such as a lady bug 1532. Finally, FIG. 15 shows a pull cord 1540 used to wind-up an internal vibration mechanism (not shown, but discussed more completely with regard to FIG. 18 below).

FIG. 16 illustrates a perspective view of two additional sides of the soft goods cubic play implement 140C of FIG. 15. FIG. 16 illustrates three sides 1510, 1620 and 1630 of the soft goods cubic play implement 140C of the present invention. These sides include the happy face side 1510 described in the discussion of FIG. 15 above, a shiny, smooth fabric side 1620, and a fruit image side 1630. The shiny, smooth fabric side 1620 includes visual and tactile stimulation from a solid, brightly colored shiny ans smooth fabric surface. In addition, the fruit image side 1630 includes visual indicia of a brightly colored printed image of a fruit 1632 such as an apple.

FIG. 17 illustrates a perspective view of the final side of the soft goods cubic play implement 140C of FIG. 15. FIG. 17 illustrates three sides 1710, 1630, and 1620 of the soft goods cubic play implement 140C of the present invention. These sides including a counting side 1710, the fruit image side 1630, and a shiny fabric side 1620 (discussed above with respect to FIG. 16). The number counting side 1710 features visual indicia 1712 including a numeral (e.g., “1”) as well as an image of a corresponding number of items (e.g., and image of one heart shape) to represent the numeral.

FIG. 18 illustrates a perspective view of the use of the pull cord 1540 that is connected to a vibration mechanism located internally in the soft goods play implement 140C of the present invention. FIG. 18 illustrates the pull cord 1540 in an extended position. As discussed above, pull cord 1540 is connected to a vibration mechanism (not shown) located internally in the play implement 140C. In use, the pull cord 1540 is pulled from the retracted cord position (best seen in FIG. 15) to the extended cord position (as shown in FIG. 18) to wind-up the vibration mechanism (not shown) before being released. When the pull cord 1540 is released, the vibration mechanism unwinds to transfer a vibration sensation to the holder of the play implement 140C.

FIG. 19 illustrates a close-up perspective view of three sides of a third cubic soft goods play implement 140A of the present invention. FIG. 19 illustrates three sides 1910, 1920, and 1930 of the soft goods cubic play implement 140A of the present invention. These sides include a number counting side 1910, a textured or contoured fabric side 1920, and a mirrored happy face side 1930. The number counting side 1910 features visual indicia 1912 including a numeral (e.g., “2”) as well as a corresponding number of items (e.g., an image of two ducklings) to represent the numeral. The contoured fabric side 1920 includes a contoured fabric pattern that provides a visual and tactile stimulation region. Finally, the mirrored happy face side 1930 includes a mirror 1932 with a happy face attached to the side 1930.

FIG. 20 illustrates a perspective view of two additional sides of the cubic soft goods play implement 140A of FIG. 19. FIG. 20 illustrates three sides 1910, 2020, and 2030 of the cubic play implement 140A of the present invention. These sides include the number counting side 1910 (discussed above with respect to FIG. 19), a textured or contoured fabric side 2020, and an animal image side 2030. The contoured fabric side 2020 is a textured fabric side imprinted with an animal pattern such as a cat for visual and tactile stimulation. The animal image side 2030 includes visual indicia 2032 in the form of an image of an animal or insect such as a bee.

FIG. 21 illustrates a perspective view of the final side of the cubic soft goods play implement 140A of FIG. 19. FIG. 21 illustrates three sides 2110, 1920, and 1930 of the cubic play implement 140A of the present invention. These sides include a striped side 2110, the mirrored happy face side 1930, and the contoured fabric side 1920 (discussed above with respect to FIG. 19). The striped side 2110 includes visually stimulating indicia such as large color contrasting stripes. Although shown in black and white herein, each of the soft goods play implements 140A-C may be color themed. For example, soft goods play implement 140A may comprise colors in the yellow family in addition to black and white indicia. Soft goods play implement 140B may comprise colors in the blue family in addition to black and white indicia. Also soft goods play implement 140C may comprise colors in the red family in addition to black and white indicia. Finally, the soft goods play implements 140A-C may be simply formed by stitching a soft fabric outer covering over a padded soft goods under-layer in a similar fashion to the formation of the housing 120 (as discussed with regard to FIG. 8 above).

FIG. 22 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention in a first use mode entertaining an infant in a child receiving device, with the entertainment device 100 placed within reach of the infant. As shown in FIG. 22 the entertainment device 100 of the present invention is in a first mode of use, entertaining an infant 2210 in a crib 2220 within reach of the infant 2210. In this first mode of use, the bottom wall 435 of the housing 120 is placed against the crib rails 2222 and the first strap 1010 and second strap 1020 (of the flexible fastening member 1000—shown in FIGS. 10 and 11) are wrapped around the crib rails 2222 and connected by their fastener members 1030 and 1040 (shown in FIG. 10). Because the bottom wall 435 is against the crib rails 2222, the opening 130 of the housing 120 faces a child 2210 lying in front of the housing 120. The play implements 140A-C are therefore exposed for the child 2210 to reach out and retrieve a play implement 140A-C or to interact with the housing 120 directly (e.g., play with the butterfly 410 or worm character 420 on the housing).

FIG. 23 illustrates a perspective view of the entertainment device 100 of the present invention in a second use mode sitting on a supporting surface 110 and entertaining a toddler 2310 old enough to sit up on the supporting surface and interact with the housing and play implements. In this second mode of use, the entertainment device 100 of the present invention has been removed from the child receiving device and is sitting on a supporting surface 110 and entertaining a toddler 2310 through interaction with the housing 120 and play implements 140A-C. The freestanding soft housing 120 and soft goods play implements 140A-C are placed on the supporting surface so that the bottom wall 435 of the housing 120 faces the supporting surface 110 and the opening 130 in the housing 120 faces upwardly. A child 2310 can then retrieve a play implement 140A-C from the play implement receiving region 150 of the housing 120 through the opening 130. Children will enjoy interacting with the numerous visual, audible and tactile stimulations associated with each play implement 140A-C as well as the housing 120. Play implements 140A-C may be enjoyed in a number of different ways (e.g., stacking, throwing, retrieving, re-inserting etc.). Furthermore, a child 2310 can shake play implement 140A for a jingle bell sound and can shake 140B for a rattle sound. Finally, pulling the pull cord 1540 winds-up a vibration generator (not shown) to charge play implement 140C to vibrate the play implement 140C.

Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this invention that come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents. For example, it is to be understood that terms such as “left”, “right” “top”, “bottom”, “front”, “rear”, “side”, “height”, “length”, “width”, “upper”, “lower”, “interior”, “exterior”, “inner”, “outer” and the like as may be used herein, merely describe points of reference and do not limit the present invention to any particular orientation or configuration.





 
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