Title:
MULTIPURPOSE BENDABLE POOL
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A within-ground portable pool, particularly well suited as a sand pool in a beach environment is disclosed. Importantly, the portable pool has a bendable structure wherein children can develop creative skills by bending the structure into various shapes and designs. Additionally, multiple pools can be joined together optionally according to the imagination of a user. A novel sun shade design is also provided to the sand pool. More features are also included for stability and entertainment.



Inventors:
Rudenberg, Murray (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/797536
Publication Date:
06/09/2011
Filing Date:
06/09/2010
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DEERY, ERIN LEAH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Kohn & Walker LLP (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable, within-ground pool system comprising: a first within ground pool comprising: a cup portion, the cup portion including a non-permeable liner, the cup portion further substantially within an area of hollowed sand or earth; and a lip portion about a rim of the cup portion, the lip portion bendable and able to retain a shape, the shape further selectable by a user.

2. The portable, within-ground pool system of claim 1 further comprising a first plurality of retaining flaps about the lip portion, the first plurality of retaining flaps comprising a generally rectangular shape, however further comprising a bendable shape complementing the bendable lip portion.

3. The portable, within-ground pool system of claim 2, further comprising: a second within-ground pool comprising a second plurality of retaining flaps; and a means for joining said first within ground pool to said second within-ground pool at one of the first plurality of retaining flaps and one of the second plurality of retaining flaps.

4. The portable, within-ground pool system of claim 2, the first plurality of retaining flaps each further comprising a circular aperture, the circular aperture to receive a stake providing support and stability to the first within-ground pool.

5. The portable, within-ground pool system of claim 2, the first plurality of retaining flaps each further comprising top and bottom sides, the top and bottom sides further comprising hook and loop fasteners respectfully, the hoop and loop fasteners for joining an adjacent within-ground pool.

6. The portable, within-ground pool system of claim 1, the first within-ground pool further comprising a retractable sun shade, the retractable sun shade further comprising a plurality of ribs connected in an accordion-like manner about two pivot points.

7. The portable, within-ground pool system of claim 1, the lip portion further comprising: an inner core, the inner core including 14-gauge wire; and an outer layer including foam material.

8. The portable, within-ground pool system of claim 1, the first within-ground pool further comprising a flower shape.

9. A portable, within-ground pool comprising: a cup portion, the cup portion including a non-permeable liner, the cup portion further substantially within an area of hollowed sand or earth; and a lip portion about a rim of the cup portion; and a plurality of retaining flaps about the lip portion, wherein the lip portion and the retaining flaps are substantially in a horizontal plane.

10. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 9, wherein the lip portion is bendable and able to retain a shape, the shape further selectable by a user, and wherein the plurality of retaining flaps each comprise a generally rectangular shape, however the generally rectangular shape further comprising a bendable shape complementing the bendable lip portion, and wherein the within-ground pool further comprises an elongated liner portion forming a slide, the elongated liner portion connected at the lip portion.

11. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 9, the plurality of retaining flaps each further comprising a circular aperture, the circular aperture to receive a stake providing support and stability to the within-ground pool.

12. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 9, the plurality of retaining flaps each further comprising top and bottom sides, the top and bottom sides further comprising hook and loop fasteners respectfully, the hoop and loop fasteners for joining an adjacent within-ground pool.

13. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 9, further comprising a retractable sun shade, the retractable sun shade further comprising a plurality of ribs connected in an accordion-like manner about two pivot points.

14. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 9, the lip portion further comprising: an inner core, the inner core including 14-gauge wire; and an outer layer including foam material.

15. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 9, further comprising a flower shape.

16. A portable, within-ground pool comprising: a cup portion, the cup portion including a non-permeable liner, the cup portion further substantially within an area of hollowed sand or earth; and a lip portion about a rim of the cup portion, wherein the lip portion comprises an inner core, the inner core metal wire, the lip portion further comprising an outer layer including foam material.

17. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 16, further comprising a plurality of retaining flaps about the lip portion, wherein the lip portion and the plurality of retaining flaps are substantially in a horizontal plane.

18. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 16, wherein the lip portion is bendable and able to retain a shape, the shape further selectable by a user, and wherein the plurality of retaining flaps each comprise a generally rectangular shape, however the generally rectangular shape further comprising a bendable shape complementing the bendable lip portion.

19. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 16, the plurality of retaining flaps each further comprising a circular aperture, the circular aperture to receive a stake providing support and stability to the within-ground pool.

20. The portable, within-ground pool of claim 16, further comprising: a retractable sun shade, the retractable sun shade further comprising a plurality of ribs connected in an accordion-like manner about two pivot points; and a flower shape, wherein the plurality of retaining flaps further comprises top and bottom sides, the top and bottom sides further comprising hook and loop fasteners respectfully, the hoop and loop fasteners for joining an adjacent within-ground pool, the lip portion further comprises an inner core, the inner core including 14-gauge wire; and an outer layer including foam material.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This utility patent application contains subject matter claiming benefit of the priority date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/268,090, filed on Jun. 9, 2009, entitled “Sand pool/bendable pool,” accordingly, the entire contents of this provisional patent application is hereby expressly incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention pertains generally to devices and methods for water-based recreation. More particularly, the invention relates to a portable, malleable, within ground or above ground pool and related methods for providing creative and cognitive development in children.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Children like to use nature's resources to craft their own environment in which they feel a sense of safety, pride in altering their environment, and flexibility to further change their environment to adapt to new playing tasks.

Sand play is a well known recreational and therapeutic modality for child play and child therapy. Pediatricians, child psychotherapists and educational experts have long been aware of the unique properties of sand play providing development of constructional abilities, fluidity of thoughts, and mastery of task completion. Children enjoy and learn from building sand structures, including sand pools, in which they can play more safely than the open ocean or lake. Parents encourage sand play because it stimulates creative ability in a more contained, safe environment.

As a clinical psychologist in institutional and private practice for over twenty years, my work with children as well as a sub specialization in brain injury and recovery has taught me that incorporating multi-sensory stimulation facilitates learning and growth. Thus, tasks that require visual, visual-spatial and motor functioning (and auditory tasks, such as describing their activities to a parent or teacher) improve learning and further can speed up the healing process in the event of a brain injury. The rate of neuro-developmental growth is greatest in early childhood; and many toys and games are limited in form and function, therefore not fully tasking the child's potential for cognitive and creative growth. Children are exposed to many passive learning games and activities on television and computers; and even active learning games are limited in terms of the potential for creating the toy the child wants.

Pertaining to providing outdoor activities to children, it has long been observed that one of the disappointing aspects of sand play at the beach is that a pool or moat, etc. quickly drains, because there is no non-permeable skin or material to contain the sea or fresh water from draining through the porous earth or sand. Children, typically ages 1-15, enjoy constructing their own swimming pools, sand-castles with moats, lakes for boats, etc. out of sand, which provides a scaled-down version of the larger body of water that is tapped to supply the modified environment referred herein as a “sand pool.”

The sand pool created in a natural setting is typically a dug-out hole filled by ocean or lake water. Children often become frustrated after creating their sand pools, as the water sifts through the sand, offering only moments of play and a tenuous sense of mastery over their constructional creation. They further may become bored and move on to another task. Thus, the invention described herein seeks to extend children's attention and increase the sense of mastery over completing a constructional task, which they may modify indefinitely.

Furthermore, the present invention aims to enable children to more quickly learn shapes, copy designs, create their own forms and change the forms they create. Changing the play environment, learning through modeling and physically altering their environment stimulates creativity and enhances a child's sense of mastery. Not defined by a fixed shape, for example, the child can draw and/or paint their favorite animal (or copy a shape), sculpt the shape of their desired object and then literally swim inside the shape they have created, thus transforming a two-dimensional creative project into a three dimensional product that they may enjoy in an additional manner. Observation of children at play helped inspire the present invention directed to a sand/water/art pool that taps into visual, spatial and motor skills.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention specifically addresses and alleviates the above mentioned deficiencies associated with the prior art. More particularly, the present invention, in a first aspect is directed to a portable within-ground pool system comprising: a cup portion, the cup portion including a non-permeable liner, the cup portion further substantially within an area of hollowed sand or earth; and a lip portion about a rim of the cup portion, the lip portion bendable and able to retain a shape, the shape further selectable by a user. The portable, within-ground pool system additionally comprises a first plurality of retaining flaps about the lip portion, the first plurality of retaining flaps also comprising a generally rectangular shape, however further comprising a bendable shape complementing the bendable lip portion.

The portable, within-ground pool system is further characterized in that it also comprises a second within-ground pool comprising a second plurality of retaining flaps; and a means for joining said first within ground pool to said second within-ground pool at one of the first plurality of retaining flaps and one of the second plurality of retaining flaps. The portable pool system herein is further characterized in that the first plurality of retaining flaps each further comprise a circular aperture, the circular aperture to receive a stake providing support and stability to the first within-ground pool. Yet still to the pool system, the first plurality of retaining flaps each further comprising top and bottom sides, the top and bottom sides further comprising hook and loop fasteners respectfully, the hoop and loop fasteners for joining an adjacent within-ground pool.

The portable, within-ground pool system is further characterized in that the first within-ground pool further comprises a retractable sun shade, the retractable sun shade further comprising a plurality of ribs connected in an accordion-like manner about two pivot points. Additionally in a preferred embodiment, the lip portion further comprises an inner core, the inner core including 14-gauge wire; and an outer layer including foam material. Optionally in the preferred embodiment, first within-ground pool further comprises a flower shape.

In a second aspect, the present invention is characterized as a within-ground pool comprising: a cup portion, the cup portion including a non-permeable liner, the cup portion further substantially within an area of hollowed sand or earth; and a lip portion about a rim of the cup portion; and a plurality of retaining flaps about the lip portion, wherein the lip portion and the retaining flaps are substantially in a horizontal plane.

The portable, within-ground pool of this aspect of the invention is additionally characterized in that the lip portion is bendable and able to retain a shape, the shape further selectable by a user. Also according to this aspect of the invention, the plurality of retaining flaps each comprise a generally rectangular shape, however the generally rectangular shape further comprises a bendable shape complementing the bendable lip portion, and wherein the within-ground pool further comprises an elongated liner portion forming a slide, the elongated liner portion connected at the lip portion.

Further to the present invention in the second aspect, the plurality of retaining flaps further each comprises a circular aperture, the circular aperture to receive a stake providing support and stability to the within-ground pool. Also, the plurality of retaining flaps each further comprise top and bottom sides, the top and bottom sides further comprising hook and loop fasteners respectfully, the hoop and loop fasteners for joining an adjacent within-ground pool. The portable, within-ground pool herein also includes a retractable sun shade; and the retractable sun shade further has a plurality of ribs connected in an accordion-like manner about two pivot points. The lip portion further comprises an inner core, the inner core including 14-gauge wire; and an outer layer including foam material. The pool is also bendable and can be formed to a variety of shapes to include a flower shape.

In a third aspect, the invention may be characterized as a portable, within-ground pool comprising: a cup portion, the cup portion including a non-permeable liner, the cup portion further substantially within an area of hollowed sand or earth; and a lip portion about a rim of the cup portion, wherein the lip portion comprises an inner core, the inner core metal wire, the lip portion further comprising an outer layer including foam material. As in previous embodiments, the within-ground pool further comprises a plurality of retaining flaps about the lip portion, wherein the lip portion and the plurality of retaining flaps are substantially in a horizontal plane.

Also in this aspect, the lip portion is bendable and able to retain a shape, the shape further selectable by a user; and the plurality of retaining flaps each comprise a generally rectangular shape, however the generally rectangular shape further includes a bendable shape complementing the bendable lip portion. Also as in the other aspects of the invention, the plurality of retaining flaps further comprise a circular aperture, the circular aperture to receive a stake providing support and stability to the within-ground pool.

Additionally, the portable, within-ground pool of claim 16, further comprises a retractable sun shade, the retractable sun shade further comprising a plurality of ribs connected in an accordion-like manner about two pivot points; and a flower shape, wherein the plurality of retaining flaps further comprises top and bottom sides, the top and bottom sides further comprising hook and loop fasteners respectfully, the hoop and loop fasteners for joining an adjacent within-ground pool, the lip portion further comprises an inner core, the inner core including 14-gauge wire; and an outer layer including foam material.

The invention can be better visualized by turning now to the following drawings wherein like elements are referenced by like numerals.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features of this invention, as well as the invention itself, both as to its structure and its operation, will be best understood from the accompanying drawings, taken in conjunction with the accompanying description, in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of a first preferred, portable, within-ground pool embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view thereof;

FIG. 3 is a profile view of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 4 is an additional perspective illustration of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 5A is a perspective illustration of a first preferred portable, within-ground pool system of the present invention, wherein two sand pools are joined together;

FIG. 5B is an enlarged view of a union also illustrating a lip portion internal structure taken along line 5B in FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6A is a perspective illustration of a second preferred portable, within-ground pool system of the present invention, wherein three sand pools are joined together;

FIG. 6B is an enlarged view of a union also illustrating a hp portion internal structure taken along line 6B in FIG. 6A;

FIG. 6C is a perspective illustration to additionally show top and bottom sides of a retaining flap of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective illustration showing a slide of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a flower shaped embodiment exemplifying the bendable aspects of the invention;

FIG. 9A illustrates a sun shade of the present invention in a relaxed position;

FIG. 9B illustrates the sun shade of FIG. 9A in a deployed position;

FIG. 10 illustrates a storage and water pail of the invention;

FIG. 11 shows an exemplary design for child creativity development;

FIG. 12 is a schematical illustration of an additional within-ground pool embodiment with a conical helix support structure; and

FIG. 13 is a schematical illustration of an above ground embodiment having a circular helix support structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1, a first preferred portable, within-ground 12 pool embodiment 10 of the present invention is shown in perspective. As shown, the invention 10 is substantially within a dug out hole and may be filled by ocean or lake water, for example. Initially, the invention provides a safer alternative to water play in a beach 12 environment. Moreover, the invention is useful for child creative and cognitive development as many playful variations can be offered by the invention and as imagined by a user and described further herein.

A common experience for children 11 is the disappointment of creating a pool 10 made of sand, filling it up with ocean water, only to find that the water drains into the sand moments later. The sand pool 10 is conceived of as a non-permeable membrane 20, a formed or unformed sheet that serves to capture the fresh or salt water in a hollow of sand 12 or earth and augment the child's 11 sand-pool effort. The edges/rim of the membrane 20, which may appear as an unformed tarp, an ovular, circular, or rectangular piece of PVC or other plastic or fabric material, may be enhanced with a pliable edge of a soft or rigid section of plastic 21 or covered metal edging 22 that would fit in the sand to provide stability of placement of the sand pool 10. The carrying case 99 (FIG. 10) for the plastic sand pool ‘liner’ may serve as a water pail 99, or water transporter to provide all the necessary tools to complete the pool 10 the child has become interested in building and playing in. The tarp 20 may be made of textured plastic, mimicking the look and field of the sand in order to create the feeling of authenticity, to provide traction for entry and exit into the pool, or the graphics may reflect popular culture icons, such as cartoon characters, etc.

FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 provide additional views of the portable, within ground sand pool. It should be also noted that the invention is a portable, within ground pool system (i.e. two or more connected pools 10, FIG. 5A, FIG. 6A) as further detailed herein. Cup portion 20 is generally cup shaped and comprises a non-permeable liner for retaining water. The pool further comprises a lip portion 21, 22 around a rim of the cup portion. As also illustrated in FIG. 5B, FIG. 6B, and FIG. 6C, lip portion more specifically comprises a bendable wire inner core 22, and surrounded by a foam outer layer 21. The top plan view (FIG. 2) illustrated a plurality of retaining flaps 30 of the invention. It should be understood that the retaining flaps 30 are generally rectangular in shape however curved at their elongated edges to conform to the curvature of the lip portion 21. Circular apertures 31 are provided to receive a corresponding stake 40 (FIG. 4) to provide stability to the within-ground pool.

With regard to FIG. 4 a perspective illustration is provided also showing stability provided by retaining flaps 30 with corresponding stakes 40 to anchor the pool in a preferred position. It should be noted that in a preferred embodiment, the lip portion 21 and retaining flaps 30 are in the horizontal plane, also denoted by an X-Y plane. More specifically, the lip portion 21 and retaining flaps 30 will be substantially in a horizontal plane since normal fluctuations due to uneven sand 12 can be reasonably expected.

As stated, the invention is not just a within-ground pool 10, but also a within ground portable pool system (FIG. 5A and FIG. 6A), FIG. 5A is a perspective illustration of a first preferred portable, within-ground pool system of the present invention, wherein two sand pools are joined together. FIG. 5B illustrates an enlarged view of a union taken along line 5B in FIG. 5A. This view also show how that circular apertures 31 are aligned on top of one another having a stake 40 through both the apertures 31.

With reference to FIG. 6A, a perspective view of a second preferred portable, within-ground pool system of the present invention is illustrated, wherein three sand pools 10 are joined together. FIG. 6B is an enlarged view of a union also illustrating a lip portion internal structure taken along line 6B in FIG. 6A. It can be seen that a stake 40 may be used to secure two adjacent pools 10 and hook and loop fasteners may be used for securing a third pool to the other two. More specifically and shown in FIG. 6C, retaining flap 30 has hook 33 and loop 32 on top 33 and bottom 32 sides, respectively.

FIG. 7 is a perspective illustration showing a slide 25 of the present invention. In a preferred embodiment, lip 21 is elongated outward to accommodate the extra non-permeable liner material that forms the slide 25. As shown, raised sand 12 or earth may be used to form the slide 25. Alternatively, the slide 25 may simply extend outward from the lip portion 21 rather than the lip portion 21 itself being extended out.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a flower shaped embodiment exemplifying the bendable aspects of the invention. Alternatively, a duck 88 (FIG. 11) or lion may provide the inspiration to create different shapes according to the imagination of a user.

FIG. 9A illustrates a sun shade 50 of the present invention in a relaxed position. Importantly, the typical stake 40 may be replace by a combination stake 41 and swivel 42. The swivel 42 is provided as a pivot point 42 about which the ribs 51 may rotate forming the sun shade 50 in the relaxed (FIG. 9A) and deployed (FIG. 9B) positions. The sun shade 50 may also be secured to the pool 20 at the uppermost stake 40. In other words, the sun shade base portion 50 forms a semi-circle beginning and ending at a swivel 42; and the sun shade may be also be secured at a midpoint between the two swivels 42.

FIG. 10 illustrates a storage and water pail 99 of the invention. Pail 99 may be used also to transfer water to fill the sand pool. FIG. 11 shows an exemplary design 88 for child creativity development. For example as a craft project, a child may draw a FIG. 88 on a separate canvas, and then try to replicate the FIG. 88 with the bendable lip portion 21 of the present invention.

The free form stand-alone pool 10 is also a three-dimensional canvas for imaginative play, wherein the user may match the shape of the pool to the object pictured 88 on the canvas or to enhance the image on the canvas. Or, the user may create favored shapes with the bendable edge and draw, paint or color the canvas.

A unique feature of the pool 10 structure is amenable to an above-ground embodiment additionally disclosed herein. The above ground embodiment that utilizes the bendable edge 21, 22 of the pool 10 and allows the user to shape the pool 10, whether for water, sand or craft play, in the desired shape is also an inventive aspect of the present invention. Whether the cup portion 20 of the pool 10 are buttressed by sand, earth or a structure that allows for it to stand above ground, the bendable aspect of the pool is unique in concept.

As stated herein, the pool 10 may be shaped according to the wishes of the user. The pool 10 may become a long river, on which the child may float boats, etc., it may become two pools in a figure eight shape, or pools may be joined together, connected by a U-shaped tube, or bridged to another pool or series of pools. The mode of connection may be overlapping lips 21 of the sand pool liner 20, affixed by a stake 40, Velcro 32, 33 snaps. etc. to create a series of pools 10.

Alternatively, the sand pool 10 may be constructed as a liner held, braced or otherwise affixed by a moveable perimeter 21. For example, the “liner” may be sandwiched between a top and bottom ring allowing the user to widen or deepen the pool at his/her discretion. The edges of the liner 20 may be finished by an edge or left free to bury in the sand or soil or to provide a platform, slide 25 or entry into the pool. The liner may be of an irregular shape to convert into a platform, slide or entry. Additionally, the edges may be shaped as a mold for sand-castles or other shapes popular in sand play and well known to parents and children familiar with sand play. Following the use of the sand pool as a liner 20, the sand pool functions as an ideal way to rinse sand toys, because in contrast with the shore of the ocean or lake, the sand in a still pool settles to the bottom of the pool 10, allowing the user(s) 11 to rinse objects, hands, feet, etc.

Also as stated, an important feature of the sand pool 10, which also applies to stand-alone pools that may be used in any location, is a bendable design, allowing the user to manipulate the pool 10 in the desired shape, such as a duck 88, lion, flower, etc. The exterior of the pool may be plastic-lined over metal or other pliable material, such as foam-encased 21 wire 22. The pliability of the shape of the bendable sand pool 10 is a novel invention, given that pre-existing pools are relatively fixed in shape, limiting the creative use by the developing child 11, for example, who may enjoy and learn from bending and shaping the pool 10 to resemble a familiar or newly created figure. Moreover, the pool may be shaped in great detail as a result of the foam-encased 21 wire 22 border, such as children have for years enjoyed shaping pipe cleaners. A bendable pool 10 allows children limitless creative control over the shape of the pool that they may enjoy, thus stimulating imaginative play.

As a stand-alone pool 10, its use includes bending the edges of the pool to resemble or augment a pattern 88, drawing or painting on the bottom 20 or sides 21 of the pool, which becomes an art canvas for the child. Its use as a canvas for educational development is unique in its three-dimensional aspect as well as the fluidity of the structure in which the canvas is housed.

The design of the pool materials is unprecedented as compared to prior art inflatable or plastic-molded pools, which have an inherently fixed design. Rather than a proprietary design, the concept of a bendable pool 10 is novel, particularly for the purpose of creating an educational, imaginative product for children. The pool may have a fixed size, or it may be expandable, such as by ‘hitching’ it to additional bendable pools as described above. The depth may be fixed or malleable, depending upon the addition of device that extends or attenuates the length of material from the upper edge of the pool 10 to the bottom, or lower portion, of the pool. The bottom section, or the entire height of the side, may be constructed of the pliable material, in order to create pool 10 that will retain its structural integrity while allowing flexibility by the user. Ideally, the top and possibly the lowest section of the pool 10 will be enhanced by the pliable border 21 for ease of use for children, ages 1 to 15. Adult supervision will be recommended for children 11 who have not achieved independent water-safety skills. Also, the invention is not limited to or by the use of the product in sand 12 or at the beach. The invention encompasses the application of the product in a medium such as sand 12, or as a stand-alone product that does not require the support of external material.

The pool 10 is unique in that it is, in the embodiment envisioned by the present inventor, a free-form pool ‘liner’ 20 that complements a natural ‘free form’ pool 10, and its design is not fixed. The concept is the unique aspect of this product, designed for supervised child play.

Additional design features of the pool may include attached or detachable sunshades 50, infant seats to ensure safety of users who do not have sufficient trunk control to safely sit in the sand pool 10, and water slides 25 that provide enjoyable entry into the sand pool 10.

The bendable pool 10 cup portion 20 may be made of plastic, rubber, visco-elastic, silicone or other pliable material. The lip portion pliable material 21 may coat a more rigid (yet bendable) material 22, such as wire (14-gauge, for example), metal, etc., that allows the pliable material to retain the shape desired by the user. Importantly, the soft lip portion 21 is a compelling feature for children 11 for manipulating and crafting to a unique design.

An above ground pool, as disclosed herein, may be supported by an external trellis, such as a plurality of vertical posts or as a spiral-shaped metal exoskeleton or endoskeleton that can be compressed for packaging and portability. The spiral metal exoskeleton or endoskeleton would ideally be constructed of spring steel such as has been manufactured in portable clothing hampers, for example. The stand-alone pool, to which this embodiment will be referred, will ideally spring up into a rigid or semi-rigid structure for use in the user's back yard, park, etc as an alternative to an inflatable pool, well known in the swimming pool industry.

With regard to FIG. 12, an additional embodiment 70 of the present invention is illustrated. This particular within ground pool 70 has some degree of wall 74 rigidity from spiral shaped spring-steel 73 embedded in the wall of the pool. This shape 73 may be also characterized as a conical helix or corkscrew. Since the cone 73 is truncated, then the cone is more specifically a frustum of a cone. As shown, wall portion and bottom portion are offset by 60 degrees, as is lip portion 71 and wall 74.

A related above-ground portable pool embodiment 60 is provided by FIG. 13. The pool is supported by circular helix or cylindrical spiral 63 comprised of steel or the like. Lip portion 61, wall 64 and bottom 65 are all offset by 90 degrees. The user simply releases Velcro locks, and the pool 60 springs up to the desired height

Alternatively, the above ground pool may be held by a plurality of vertical posts that join to the flexible ring, which may be equipped with openings or other fasteners that may directly attach to the posts, as male/female connectors, and those posts may be joined in two or more sections to be made higher or lower, depending upon the task required of the user, thereby creating a pool that does not conform to a fixed shape, inasmuch as the posts can mirror the bendable edge of the pool and not inhibit the multitude of shapes desired by the user.

Professed advantages of the stand-alone pool over inflatable pools, which is the closest example of prior art include: A) The impossibility of deflation; and B) A bendable wall or upper lip that allows the user to shape the pool as the user desires; and C) The use of the pool for art and educational projects described herein.

The stand-alone pool 10 may also be portable, folding flat and then perhaps folding again, similar to that of a sunshade for easy transporting and packaging. The stand-alone pool may utilize a locking mechanism to keep the pool in the upward position when the user is playing in the pool filled with sand, water or other play material, such as foldable poles known well in the camping industry.

The stand-alone pool 10 may be constructed of non-permeable plastic or similar material that is either colored in a fanciful design or blank to serve as a canvas for the user. The bottoms or sides of the pool may be enhanced with a removable canvas, such as a blank canvas attached by Velcro 32, 33 or other material, allowing the child to save his or her artwork. The canvas may be blank, partially drawn or painted or any combination of predesigned or free-form design.

Many alterations and modifications may be made by those having ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, it must be understood that the illustrated embodiments have been set forth only for the purposes of example and that it should not be taken as limiting the invention as defined by the following claims. For example, notwithstanding the fact that the elements of a claim are set forth below in a certain combination, it must be expressly understood that the invention includes other combinations of fewer, more or different elements, which are disclosed above even when not initially claimed in such combinations.

While the particular Multipurpose Bendable Pool as herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of obtaining the objects and providing the advantages herein before stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as described in the appended claims.

Insubstantial changes from the claimed subject matter as viewed by a person with ordinary skill in the art, now known or later devised, are expressly contemplated as being equivalently within the scope of the claims. Therefore, obvious substitutions now or later known to one with ordinary skill in the art are defined to be within the scope of the defined elements.





 
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