WO2008135745A2 - Play structure - Google Patents

Play structure Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2008135745A2
WO2008135745A2 PCT/GB2008/001542 GB2008001542W WO2008135745A2 WO 2008135745 A2 WO2008135745 A2 WO 2008135745A2 GB 2008001542 W GB2008001542 W GB 2008001542W WO 2008135745 A2 WO2008135745 A2 WO 2008135745A2
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
play
rods
base
extended
storage
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB2008/001542
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2008135745A3 (en
Inventor
Peter Andrew Cartlidge
Timothy Andrew Rowe
Lucar Jonathan Tyler
Original Assignee
Evolve Npd Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GB0708772.9 priority Critical
Priority to GB0708772A priority patent/GB0708772D0/en
Application filed by Evolve Npd Ltd filed Critical Evolve Npd Ltd
Publication of WO2008135745A2 publication Critical patent/WO2008135745A2/en
Publication of WO2008135745A3 publication Critical patent/WO2008135745A3/en

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H13/00Toy figures with self-moving parts, with or without movement of the toy as a whole
    • A63H13/16Boxes from which figures jump
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/42Toy models or toy scenery not otherwise covered
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H3/00Dolls
    • A63H3/36Details; Accessories
    • A63H3/50Frames, stands, or wheels for dolls or toy animals

Abstract

The invention delates to a toy play structure (2) of a type which can be moved between storage and extended play positions. The structure includes a base (6) and at least one further portion (8), one or both of which can be used as a play surface. The base and further portion are connected by rods (4) and the structure can be manually moved between storage and extended positions by applying relative rotational movement on the base and further portion about an axis (14). The movement in a first direction causes the base and further portion to move apart along the axis to an extended position, and in the reverse direction causes the base and further portion to move along said axis towards each other and the storage position.

Description

Play Structure

The invention to which this application relates is a play structure which can be moved between a first position in which the same can be stored and an in-use position in which the structure can be used for play, typically by a child.

The provision of play structures in which a series of play surfaces are provided is well known. However, typically, play structures of this type can be bulky and as such are not necessarily used as much as they could be due to the difficulty in transporting the same.

As a result of this problem it is known to provide play structures which are collapsible in that the same can be built from a series of parts for use, and the parts can then be separated for storage purposes. However the need to take apart the play structure parts means that the same can be difficult to rebuild and/or parts can become lost which means that the play structure can no longer be used.

It is also known to provide other structures which can be moved between a relatively small condition and a larger condition for use but the application of the same for use as part of a toy structure is not generally well known.

An aim of the present invention is to provide a play structure in a form which allows the structure to be moved between collapsed and in-use positions in an easily manageable manner, thereby allowing the structure to be easily manipulated by a child. A further aim of the present invention is to provide a play structure which is movable between storage and in-use positions and which, upon movement to the in-use position allows further portions or features to become available for use. In a first aspect o f the invention there is provided a toy play structure, said structure movable between storage and extended play positions, said structure having a base and a further portion connected by at least one rod and said base is spaced from the base along an axis when the structure is extended, and wherein the movement o f the structure between the storage and extended positions is achieved by imparting relative rotation between the base and further portion about said axis .

In one embodiment said structure includes a plurality o f spaced rods, said rods, when the structure is in the storage or extended positions, maintaining the structure in said position.

Typically, in the extended position, the rods lie substantially parallel with said axis, and in the storage position the rods lie substantially perpendicular to said axis .

Typically the relative rotational movement of the base and further portion exerts a twisting and/or bending action on each of the rods, and, once said action has reached a certain point creates sufficient force on the rods such that if released they exert a " snap" action to continue the rotational movement of the structure to either of the extended or storage positions automatically and thereby allow the rods to return to lie in a substantially linear, straight form.

In one embodiment the material used to form the rods is ABS plastics material.

Typically, the rods are provided in a spaced configuration at locations around the periphery o f the base and further portion. In one embodiment at least the base provides a play surface when the play structure is in the extended position. In a further embodiment the further portion provides a play surface.

In one embodiment, the play structure includes an intermediate play surface, said play surface supported intermediate the ends o f said rods. In one embodiment the intermediate play surface is connected to each o f the rods via a member, at least one of said members slidable with respect to the rods and /or provided with a sliding mechanism. In one embodiment the sliding movement is perpendicular to the longitudinal arms of the rod.

Typically each of said members is rotatable about the elongate axis o f the rod with which the same is located such that the slidable and rotatable movement allows the play structure, with the intermediate play surfaces, to still be moved between the storage and extended positions by the relative rotation of the base with the further portion.

In one embodiment the rods undergo a rotational movement about their longitudinal axis as the play structure is moved between the storage and extended positions.

In one embodiment the rotation of the rod is used as an activation or drive means for a further portion of the play structure. In one embodiment the further portion is caused to "pop up " from the play structure or become visible as the play structure is moved from the storage to the extended position.

In one embodiment of the invention each of the rods in a set includes a telescopic portion. In this embodiment when moving the structure between storage and extended position, the relative twisting of the play surface causes the same to move to a first extended position and then telescopic linear movement o f the rods causes the play surfaces to move to a second extended position. In one embodiment resistance means can be provided such that the rods can be held in either o f the first or second extended positions.

In one embodiment the apparatus includes a plurality o f play surfaces, and in one embodiment these are provided, when extended, on the base and a first spaced further portion supported by a first set of rods, and on a second further portion spaced from the first further portion and supported in said arrangement by a second set of rods .

In one embodiment the base and first further portion are moved between storage and extended positions by relative rotation of the same and the first and second further portions are moved between storage and extended positions by relative rotation of the same. In one embodiment this can be repeated for as many sets of rods as are provided in the structure.

In one embodiment the axis about which rotation occurs is common to each set of rods.

In one embodiment, each of the rods are provided within a housing which defines the extent of axial movement o f the rod along the linear axis and also defines the extent of movement of the rod radially of the linear axis. Typically, there is sufficient space within the housing so as to allow the rod to flex and twist as the play structure is moved between the storage and the extended positions.

In one embodiment, the ends of each of the rods lie adjacent to the base and the further portion with the spacing between the base and further portion maintained by the ends o f the rods when in the extended position. In one embodiment, the ends of the rods are attached to the respective base and further portion and are provided to be pivotally movable with respect to said play surfaces in order to allow the structure to be moved between the extended and storage positions. In one embodiment, the pivotal connection movement, at at least one end comprises rotation about a longitudinal axis of the member and a second rotation about an axis which is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.

In one embodiment, at the other end of the rod, the same is rotatable about an axis which is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rod.

In one embodiment, in addition to the play surfaces which are formed on the base, the play structure includes further items which can be moved, in conjunction with the play structure, between the extended and storage positions. In one embodiment, at least one of said additional portions, in the extended position, is positioned to lie between at least two of the said play surfaces so as to allow interconnection of the same. In another embodiment the additional item serves to extend the play surface.

In one embodiment, the additional item takes the form of a ramp which passes externally of the play surfaces. In an alternative embodiment, the said additional item is located within the play surfaces and lies in a plane substantially parallel with the longitudinal axis of the rods, when extended.

In one embodiment, storage means are provided which allows the storage of items to be used in conjunction with the play structure when the same is moved to an extended position. Thus, when in the storage position, the structure, incorporates a series of items held within the storage means therefore providing a self contained toy which can be easily transported and then moved to an extended position for play.

In one embodiment, at least one of the play surfaces includes one or more apertures for the receipt of items of an appropriate shape to be passed therethrough.

In one embodiment, there is provided at least one elongate member located intermediate the base and said further portion, said elongate member extending between at least two of the rods of the structure, and having one or more movable items located thereon which can be selectively moved along the member.

In one embodiment, the said member is mounted on the rods so as to be slidably movable in a direction substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rods, and also, rotatable about said longitudinal axis of the rods so as to allow the said member to be retained in connection with the said rods as the play structure is moved between extended and storage positions.

In one embodiment, the play structure includes a power supply, and means which are rendered operable when connected to the power supply, said connection dependent upon the particular position of the play structure at a given instant of time. For example, in one arrangement, there is provided an electrical switch which, when closed, completes the circuit to allow an electrical supply to be provided and wherein the switch is closed when the play structure is in either of the extended or storage positions.

In one embodiment, the means which are rendered operable by this supply of power are light anH/or audio reproduction means. In one embodiment, where there are provided a plurality of sets o f rods, the location of the rods in a first set, are typically offset with regard to the location of the rods in the second set, and so on, as this is found to improve the rigidity o f the overall structure, when moved to the extended position.

In one embodiment, when the play structure is moved to a storage position, the play surfaces and rods are enclosed within a housing, which housing can be provided with carrier means to allow the play structure to be carried in the storage position. In one embodiment, when the play structure is moved to the extended position, some or all of the housing can be used to create an additional play surface.

In a further aspect of the invention there is provided a toy play structure which can be moved between storage and extended play positions, said structure including a base and at least one further portion connected by rods wherein the structure can be manually moved between storage and extended positions by applying relative rotational movement on the base and further portion about an axis, movement in a first direction causes the base and further portion to move apart along the axis to an extended position, and in the reverse direction causes the base and further portion to move along said axis towards each other and the storage position.

In a further aspect of the invention there is provided a method of using a toy play structure, said structure movable between storage and extended play positions, said structure having a base and at least one further portion connected by a plurality o f rods to the base, moving the structure to the extended play position, by gripping both base and further portions and exerting relative rotational movement on the base and further portion about an axis and wherein said rotational movement causes the base and further portion to be moved apart along said axis until the extended position is reached and in which position structure is maintained by the plurality of rods.

In one embodiment the rods are provided such that prior to the base and further portion reaching the fully extended position, the rods act as biasing means to force the base and further portion towards the fully extended position.

Typically, to move the structure from the extended to the storage position relative rotation of the base and further portion is caused in the opposite direction to that used to move the structure to the extended position.

In one embodiment the rods include telescopic portions which are moved inwardly and outwardly by exerting linear movement between the base and further portion.

Specific embodiments of the invention are now described with re ference to the accompanying drawings, wherein: -

Figures l a-d illustrate a detailed view o f forms of connection between the base, further portion and a rod, in a spaced extended configuration;

Figure 2a and b illustrate an alternative embodiment of the arrangement between the base, further portion and one of the rods in the extended position;

Figures 3a to c illustrate the movement o f a play structure in accordance with one embodiment o f the invention between the storage and extended positions; Figures 4a and b illustrate a further embodiment of the invention in extended and storage positions;

Figures 5a and b illustrate a further embodiment of a play structure in accordance with the invention in extended and storage positions;

Figures 6a and b illustrate a further embodiment of a play structure in accordance with the invention in extended and storage positions.

Figures 7a and b illustrate a further embodiment of the invention;

Figures 8a and b illustrate a further embodiment of the invention in extended and storage positions;

Figure 9 illustrates an alternative version of the embodiment of Figures 8a and b;

Figures 10a and b illustrate a further embodiment of the invention an in extended and an intermediate storage position;

Figures l l a to c illustrate a play structure in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention in various positions for use;

Figures 12a to c illustrate a yet further embodiment of the invention; and

Figures 13a to d illustrate a further embodiment of the invention. Referring firstly to Figure I a, there is illustrated a structure in accordance with one embodiment of the invention, in a form which is provided for illustrative purposes in order to illustrate the principle of the invention.

The structure 2 comprises a series of rods 4, which are spaced apart and, when in the extended position shown, serve to space apart a base 6 and a further portion 8. The base and/or further portion may be used to form play surfaces for items or toy models and that use will be described subsequently.

The base and further portion are spaced apart by a distance which is equivalent to the length of the rods such that the ends 10, 12 of the rods abut the respective base or further portion. The base and further portion lie along an axis 14.

To move the play structure between the extended and storage positions, relative rotation of the base and further portion is performed, about said axis as indicated by arrow 16. This relative rotation, causes each of the rods to be moved from a position in which their longitudinal axes are parallel with the axis of rotation 14, and are flexed by the relative rotation to a point at which the same try to move to lie in a plane substantially perpendicular to the axis 14. This causes, at a certain intermediate point, a snap action to be created in which the continued relative rotational movement, is caused by the released energy provided by the rods as they attempt to move to the relaxed, storage position shown in Figure I b.

It will therefore be appreciated that in the storage position of Figure I b, the further portion 8 and base 6, lie adjacent one another and thus the overall shape and size of the structure, is significantly reduced in comparison to the extended position. In order to allow this movement between the extended and storage positions, the rod ends 10 are required to be securely held such that the ends of the same are located at the same points on the base and further portion, during the movement of the same between the extended and storage positions. However, equally, movement of the rods with respect to the base or further portion in controlled directions is required in order to allow the movement between storage and extended positions to occur.

Figure I c illustrates how this controlled movement can be achieved. One of the rods 4 and its respective connections with the base 6 and further portion 8 of the play structure is shown. The rod 4 is shown with its ends 10, 12 connected by a mechanical linkage to the internal faces of the base and further portion respectively and, for ease of illustration, are shown in an extended position. In this arrangement, the mechanical linkage 18 of one end with the further portion 8, differs to the linkage 20 between the other end 12 and the base 6. In this case, the linkage 18 between the end 10 and the further portion 8, comprises a first pivotal movement 22 in which the rod is rotatably movable about an axis 24 substantially in line with the longitudinal axis of the rod and a second pivotal movement 26 so as to be rotatably movable about an axis 28 which lies substantially perpendicular to the axis 24. The mechanical linkage between the end 12 and the base 6, is provided to allow rotatable movement about an axis 20 which is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rod. It is found that by providing the mechanical linkages as so described, so the required range of movement of the ends 10, 12 with respect to the base 6 and further portion 8 can be provided in a controlled manner so as to allow the base and further portion to be rotated to move between the extended and storage positions. It will also be appreciated that the mechanical linkages shown with respect to the rod, are repeated for each of the rods in the structure.

Figure I d illustrates a variation on the arrangement shown in Figures l a-c and shows the provision of each of the rods 4 with a telescopic section 5 each of which is shown in an extended position in Figure I d. In this arrangement therefore the further portion 8 can be moved by twisting as previously described from a storage position shown in Figure I b to a first extended position as shown in Figure I a with the telescopic sections not extended. Thereafter application of a substantially linear force on the further portion 8 as indicated by arrow 7 overcomes a resistance means and causes the telescopic sections to be extended to the position shown in Figure I d to move the further portion 8 a greater distance from the base 6. This feature can be provided on any of the embodiments subsequently described herein.

Figures 2a and 2b illustrate an alternative arrangement of the invention wherein there is again shown a base 6, and a further portion 8 in an extended position and spaced apart by rods 4. In this case, the rods are not connected to either of the base or the further portion by a mechanical linkage but instead are located within a housing 32, formed from fabric material. Each housing is provided of a size and shape so as to allow the rod to flex during the relative rotation of the base 6 and further portion 8 about axis 14. As the rod is not connected to the base or further portion, the rods can rotate about their respective longitudinal axes as required as the relative rotation of the base and further portion occurs. Thus, in this embodiment, the arrangement is less complex than in Figure I a- c, but relies upon the strength and integrity of the fabric housing in which the rod is placed, to ensure proper operation. However, in each case, the required movement between the extended and storage positions can be achieved by relative rotation of the base and further portion. A further advantage of this arrangement is that the device can be moved between storage and in-use positions by twisting the rods in either direction as opposed to one specific direction as is the case with other embodiments of the invention.

Specific embodiments of the use of the play structure in accordance with the invention as detailed, are now described.

In Figures 3a to c, there is illustrated a first embodiment which shows a play structure comprising a base 34, a further portion 36 and a series of rods 38 connecting the further portion and the base. In this case, a sheet material 40 extends between the base and the further portion, so as to hide the rods 50 from external view, and it will be appreciated from the embodiments now described, that there are many instances where the sheet material or other substances can be used to conceal the rods from view.

In this case, the base includes a storage cavity 42 therein, which cavity is used to retain and collect items which are placed into the play structure through the aperture 44 in the further portion. It should therefore be appreciated that in this case, the play structure which is created, is for play by children of relatively young age such that they can gain entertainment from placing items into the aperture when in the extended form shown in Figure 3c. In one embodiment, the items (not shown) can be formed of foam or other material which can be condensed in size such that with the items in the storage cavity, the movement of the play structure from the extended position of Figure 3c, through the partially collapsed position of Figure 3b, by relative rotation about the axis 46 as indicated by the arrow 48, to the storage position of Figure 3a, in addition to reducing the size of the play structure and rendering the same more acceptable for transport purposes, also compresses the items within the storage area and thereby enables all of the items to be held therein. It will therefore be readily apparent that the current invention allows play structures to be created which, when in the extended position are usable in a normal manner but which can easily be moved to a storage position to allow transport. This therefore provides toys and accessories which can be carried to and used at many different locations without the need to carry the structure in its extended position.

The structure can be provided in any of a wide range of shapes as is illustrated in the various embodiments, such as for example, a cube, drum or cone shaped.

Figures 4a and b illustrate a further variation on the arrangement of Figures 3a to c. In this case, when the structure 52 is in the extended position shown in Figure 4b, a series of balls 54 can be placed into the structure via aperture 56 in the further portion. A lid 58 can then be placed over the aperture and, as the balls in this case are compressible, the movement of the play structure 52, by relative rotation of the further portion 60 and the base 62, reduces the depth of the structure to that of Figure 4a as shown.

Figures 5a and b illustrate a further arrangement of a play structure for use by children of a relatively small age in which the structure, in the storage position as shown in Figure 5a, includes a base 64 and further portion 66 lying adjacent one another. Within a cavity 68 within the play structure, there is located a toy vehicle 70 with a driver model character 72 depicted thereon. The further portion 66, has an aperture 74 which includes retention means 76 which engage with the character 72 of the vehicle. When the structure is moved from the storage to the extended position shown in Figure 4b by relative rotation of the base 64 and further portion 66 as indicated by arrows 78 the vehicle 70 is still held by the retention means 76 in the aperture 74. Thus, the vehicle is effectively lifted away from the base 64 by the further portion 66 moving to the extended position of Figure 5b. At that time, the portion of the character 72 still protrudes from the aperture 74 and, the child can hit the head to overcome the retaining force of the retention means 76, and thereby release the vehicle 70 to drop down onto the base 64 and hence leave the play structure via the aperture 78 in the side walls as shown in Figure 5b.

Figures 6a and b illustrate a yet further embodiment in which the play structure can be moved between a storage position shown in Figure 6a and an extended position shown in Figure 6b. When the relative rotation of the base 80 and further part 82 has occurred, to a position shown in Figure 6b, and extended the sheet material 84, the lid 86 can then be opened to allow a toy character 88 to be lifted out of the structure via a connection 90 between the lid 86 and the character 88. In this embodiment, it is envisaged that the toy character 88 will be of compressible material so as to lie in a compressed state when the apparatus is in a storage position.

Figures 7a and b illustrate a further embodiment of the invention in which there are provided a series of play structures 92, 94 in accordance with the invention, each of said play structures provided with a base and further portion which are to be moved between a storage and a collapsed position. In this embodiment, one of the play structures 94 can be housed within the larger of the play structures 92 as shown in the storage position of Figure 7a and, if required, one or more further items 96 can be provided as shown. Figures 8a and 8b illustrate a further embodiment of the invention. In this case there is provided a base 98 and a further portion 100 with a plurality of rods 102 interconnecting the said base and further portion so that the same can be relatively rotated about axis 104 to move between the extended and storage positions. In this case, in addition to the base and further portion being spaced apart there are provided a series of elongate members 106, which extend between first and second pairs of rods 102A and 102B. The elongate members 106 are provided in connection with said rods, at a fixed location 108 along the length of said rods. However, the members are fitted so as to be movable about the longitudinal axis of each rod and/or the member is provided to be slidably movable in a direction 1 1 OA, 1 1 OB, respectively which is substantially perpendicular to the said rod. This rotational and slidable movement, allows the members to move, along with the rods and the base and further portion, between the extended and storage positions of Figures 8b and Figure 8a respectively by rotation as indicated by arrows 1 12.

The elongate members each include at least one article which can be slidably moved by a child, in play, along the member when the structure is in the extended position.

Figure 9 illustrates an alternative arrangement of the embodiment of Figures 8a and b and illustrates how, in addition to the members 106 extending between rods 102, additional members 1 12 can also be provided to depend outwardly from said rods 102 with said members being located at one or, in this case, two locations 1 14 on the same rod. It will therefore be appreciated that the provision of these members 1 12 as part of the rod 102, can be used to provide additional play opportunities for the child when the structure is moved to an extended position. In each case the members 106, 1 12 are provided with articles 124 which can be slid along the members in play when the structure is in an extended position.

Figures 10a and b illustrate a yet further embodiment of the invention in which the further portion 126 is provided with a series of apertures 128, said apertures shaped so as to receive a particular matching shape of article therethrough. Figure 10a which shows the play structure 130 extended, illustrates said articles 132 which have been placed into the play structure. The articles are of foam and thus, when the structure is moved to the collapsed or storage position, which is particularly shown in Figure 10a, the foam articles 132 can be compressed so as to allow the same to be stored effectively within the play structure.

Figures l l a to c, illustrate a further embodiment of the invention. In this case, the play structure 134 has a function both when in the storage and extended positions and it should be appreciated that this is possible in any of the embodiments of the invention.

In this case, the play structure, in the closed position, includes a base 136 and a further portion 138 and in the further portion 138 there is a series of compartments 140 each of which can be selectively accessible by opening a door 142, as shown. The compartments can be used to store articles therein and therefore provide a function to the structure when in the storage position.

The further portion 138 includes a lid 144 which can be openable to allow access to a further compartment in which further items can be stored and/or accessories provided, such as for example, a mirror. The play structure can be moved to an extended position in two stages shown in Figure l i b and c respectively. In this case, the play structure 134 incorporates a base 136, a first further portion 146 and a second further portion 138. The first further portion 146 is connected to the second further portion 138 via a first set of rods 148 and the first further portion 146 is connected to the base 136 by a second set of rods 150. Thus, the structure can be moved to an intermediate position shown in Figure l i b, in which the first and second further portions are shown in a spaced, extended position with relative rotation having occurred between the further portion and the first further portion so as to move the rods to the extended position shown.

Figure l i e shows the play structure in a fully extended position wherein relative rotation has occurred between the first further portion 146 and the base 136 so as to extend the second set of rods 1 50 to the extended position. In this case, the structure is used as a wardrobe for dolls' clothes and accessories and is provided with hanging means 152 which depend from the first and second further portions, and from which miniature clothes hangers and clothes can be hung. Furthermore, as the clothes are flexible in form, the same can be compressed as the play structure is moved to the storage position shown in Figure l l a.

Referring now to Figures 12a to d, there is illustrated a further embodiment of the invention in which the play structure 174 is provided in the form of a toy vehicle garage. In this case the play structure is provided with a housing 176 in which the various components are located when in the storage position of Figure 12a so as to allow the same to be protected from damage and for the play structure to be easily carried. The play structure includes a plurality of sets of rods 170, 180, with set of rods 178 serving to space apart the base 182 from a first further portion 184 and the set of rods 180 separating the first further portion 184 from a second further portion 186 when extended in Figure 12. It should also be noted that in this case, the ends of the rods of the first set 178, and their location with the respective portions, is offset with respect to the location of the ends of the second set of rods 180.

The provision of the intermediate levels and their connection intermediate the ends of the rods serves to add to the rigidity of the structure.

It is also shown how additional play surfaces 188, 190 can be located intermediate the ends of a set of rods and these additional play surfaces are also movable with the structure between the extended and storage positions. The location of these additional play surfaces 188, 190, is similar to the location of the members 106 in Figures 8a and b in that the additional play surfaces are located at a fixed point along the length of the rods and are relatively rotatable about the axis of the rods and/or slidable in relation to the same so as to allow the additional play surfaces to be movable and remain in connection with the rods as the rods move between the extended and storage position of Figures 12a-c.

Also shown in this embodiment is how additional items 192 can be provided which, when the play structure is extended, add to the enjoyment of play with the structure. Said additional features are preferably movable along with the play structure between the extended and storage positions. In this embodiment, the additional features include ramp 192A which is provided in the form of a coil and which ramp passes from the second further portion 186 to the base 182 and, with the provision of fold down ramp sections (not shown) , can be connected to each of the play surfaces. The ramp allows a child to move a toy vehicle down the ramp and then onto any of the play surfaces which are created. Additional ramps 192B can also be provided and a toy vehicle lift 192C is provided which moves a tray on which the vehicle sits, between and through each of the play surfaces along a column 194 which is formed of sheet material and via a pulley arrangement which is mounted, in this case, on the uppermost play surface. It is also illustrated how the housing 176 can be used as an additional play surface adjacent to the play structure of the invention in Figures 14b and c.

Referring now to Figures 13a to c, there is illustrated a further play structure. In this case the structure is again provided with a base 196 and further portion 198 which can be separated by rods 200 by relative rotation about axis 202. The structure also has additional features in the form of a model character 204. In this case, the model character is movable between a storage position as shown in Figures 13a and b and an in-use position shown in Figure 13c. The drive for the movement of said model 204 is caused by the relative rotational movement of the base and further portion which is used to move the play structure between the storage and extended positions. The drive is achieved by connection to one of the rods 200 by mechanical drive means. Relative rotation of the base and further portion moves the rod 200 automatically and allows the toy model 204 to move upwardly as indicated by arrow 206 when the lid 208 is released and moved as indicated by arrow 210 to allow the release of resilient biasing means (not shown) attached to the tray model 204. This provides the pop-up effect. The connection of mechanical drive means can be used, with or without the pop-up effect, to cause additional toy models to appear and/or play areas to become available.

In a yet further aspect of the invention, one or more collapsible items may be placed within the play structure, such that the movement of the play structure between the storage and extended positions, allows the collapsible items to move between the collapsed and extended positions at the same time. This movement can be caused by provision o f mechanical connection and/or provision of resilient means and in each case the movement of the same is caused or released by the relative movement o f the base and one or more further portions of the apparatus between the storage and extended positions.

It is therefore clear from the various aspects o f this invention as herein described, that there are significant improvements obtained as a result of the ability to allow rotational movement between the base and one or more further portions and to then retain the play structure in either or the storage or extended positions.

Claims

Claims
1 . A toy play structure, said structure movable between a storage and extended play positions , said structure having a base and a further portion connected by at least one rod and said base is spaced from the base along an axis when the structure is extended, and wherein the movement of the structure between the storage and extended positions is achieved by imparting relative rotation between the base and further portion about said axis.
2 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein said structure includes a plurality of spaced rods, said rods, when the structure is in the storage or extended positions, maintaining the structure in said position.
3 A toy play structure according to claim 2 wherein in the extended position, the rods lie substantially parallel with said axis, and in the storage position the rods lie substantially perpendicular to said axis.
4 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the relative rotational movement of the base and further portion exerts a twisting and/or bending action on each of the rods, and, once said action has reached a certain point creates sufficient force on the rods such that they exert a " snap " action to continue the rotational movement of the structure to either o f the extended or storage positions automatically and thereby allow the rods to move to a substantially linear, straight form.
5 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein embodiment the material used to form the rods is ABS plastics material. 6 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the rods are provided in a spaced configuration at locations on the periphery of the base and further portion.
7 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the base and/or further portion provides a play surface when the play structure is in the extended position.
8 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the structure includes an intermediate play surface, said play surface supported intermediate the ends of said rods.
9 A toy play structure according to claim 8 wherein the intermediate play surface is connected to each of the rods via a member, at least one of said members slidable with respect to the rods directly or via a sliding mechanism.
10 A toy play structure according to claim 9 wherein the sliding movement is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rod.
1 1 A toy play structure according to claim 8 wherein each of said members is rotatable about the elongate axis of the rod with which the same is located such that the slidable and rotatable movement allows the play structure, with the intermediate play surface, to be moved between the storage and extended positions by the relative rotation of the base with respect to the further portion.
12 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the rods undergo a rotational movement about their longitudinal axis as the play structure is moved between the storage and extended positions. 13 A toy play structure according to claim 12 wherein the rotation of the rod is used as an activation or drive means for operation of a further portion of the play structure.
14 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the rods include a telescopic portion.
1 5 A toy play structure according to claim 14 wherein when moving the structure between storage and extended position, the relative rotation of the base and further portion causes the structure to move to a first extended position and then telescopic linear movement of the rods causes the structure to move to a second extended position.
16 A toy play structure according to claim 1 5 wherein resistance means are provided such that the rods can be held in either of the first or second extended positions .
17 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the structure includes a base, a first further portion supported by a first set o f rods, and a second further portion connected to said first further portion by a second set of rods .
1 8 A toy play structure according to claim 17 wherein the base and first further portion are moved between storage and extended positions by relative rotation of the same and the first and second further portions are moved between storage and extended positions by relative rotation of the same.
19 A toy play structure according to claim 18 wherein the axis about which rotation occurs is common. 20 A toy play structure according to claim 18 wherein the location of the rods in a first set, are offset about a common axis with respect to the location of the rods in the second set.
21 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein each of the rods are provided within a housing which defines the extent of axial movement of the rod along an axis and also defines the extent of movement of the rod radially of the said axis and there is sufficient space within the housing so as to allow the rod to flex and twist as the play structure is moved between the storage and the extended positions.
22 A toy play structure according to claim 21 wherein the ends of each of the rods lie adjacent to the base and the further portion respectively with the spacing between the base and further portion maintained by the ends of the rods when in the extended position.
23 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the ends of the rods are attached to the respective base and further portion and are provided to be pivotally movable at at least one end with respect to said base and/or further portion in order to allow the structure to be moved between the extended and storage positions.
24 A toy play structure according to claim 23 wherein the pivotal connection at at least one end comprises rotation about a longitudinal axis of the rod and a second rotation about an axis which is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.
25 A toy play structure according to claim 24 wherein the opposing end of each rod is rotatable about an axis which is substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rod. 26 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the play structure includes further items which can be moved, in conjunction with the play structure, between the extended and storage positions.
27 A toy play structure according to claim 26 wherein said further item, when the structure is in the extended position, is positioned to lie between the base and a further portion or, of provided adjacent further portions so as to allow interconnection of the same.
28 A toy play structure according to claim 26 wherein the further item can be moved to increase the size of the base or of a further portion.
29 A toy play structure according to claim 26 wherein the further item is in the form of a ramp which passes externally of the play surfaces.
30 A toy play structure according to claim 26 wherein the further item lies in a plane substantially parallel with the longitudinal axis of the rods, when the structure is extended.
31 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein storage means are provided which allows the storage of items which can be used in conjunction with the play structure.
32 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the base and/or a further portion includes one or more apertures for the receipt of items of an appropriate shape to be passed therethrough.
33 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein at least one elongate member is located intermediate the base and said further portion, said elongate member extending between at least two of the rods of the structure, and having one or more movable items located thereon which can be selectively moved along the member.
34 A toy play structure according to claim 36 wherein said elongate member is mounted so as to be slidably movable in a direction substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rods, and rotatable about said longitudinal axis of the rods so as to allow the said member to be retained in connection with the said rods as the play structure is moved between extended and storage positions.
35 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein the play structure includes a power supply, and means which are rendered operable when connected to the power supply, said connection dependent upon the particular condition of the play structure at a given instant of time.
36 A toy play structure according to claim 1 wherein when the play structure is moved to a storage position, the base, further portion and rods are enclosed within a housing.
37 A toy play structure according to claim 36 wherein the housing is provided with carrier means to allow the play structure to be carried in the storage position.
38 A toy play structure according to claim 36 wherein when the play structure is moved to the extended position, some or all of the housing can be used to create an additional play surface.
39 A toy play structure which can be moved between storage and extended play positions, said structure including a base and at least one further portion connected by rods wherein the structure can be manually moved between storage and extended positions by applying relative rotational movement on the base and further portion about an axis, movement in a first direction causes the base and further portion to move apart along the axis to an extended position, and in the reverse direction causes the base and further portion to move along said axis towards each other and the storage position.
40 A method of using a toy play structure, said structure movable between storage and extended play positions, said structure having a base and at least one further portion connected by a plurality of rods to the base, moving the structure to the extended play position, by gripping both base and further portions and exerting relative rotational movement on the base and further portion about an axis and wherein said rotational movement causes the base and further portion to be moved apart along said axis until the extended position is reached and in which position structure is maintained by the plurality of rods.
41 A method according to claim 40 wherein the rods are provided such that prior to the base and further portion reaching the fully extended position, the rods act as biasing means to force the base and further portion towards the fully extended position.
42 A method according to claim 40 wherein to move the structure from the extended to the storage position relative rotation of the base and further portion is caused in the opposite direction to that used to move the structure to the extended position. 43 A method according to claim 40 wherein the rods include telescopic portions which are moved inwardly and outwardly by exerting linear movement between the base and further portion.
PCT/GB2008/001542 2007-05-05 2008-05-06 Play structure WO2008135745A2 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB0708772.9 2007-05-05
GB0708772A GB0708772D0 (en) 2007-05-05 2007-05-05 Play structure

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WO2008135745A2 true WO2008135745A2 (en) 2008-11-13
WO2008135745A3 WO2008135745A3 (en) 2009-01-15

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WO (1) WO2008135745A2 (en)

Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1657936A (en) * 1923-03-10 1928-01-31 Miguel E Nebel Jumping-figure toy
US2968121A (en) * 1958-04-04 1961-01-17 Glass Toy
US6135388A (en) * 1999-01-15 2000-10-24 Hostetter; Todd Self-erecting collapsible kite
US6170754B1 (en) * 1998-02-10 2001-01-09 Mattel, Inc. Spiral ramp for toy vehicles
US20020098770A1 (en) * 2001-01-24 2002-07-25 Mesch Thomas J. Amusement device with flexible rubberized pop up figure

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1657936A (en) * 1923-03-10 1928-01-31 Miguel E Nebel Jumping-figure toy
US2968121A (en) * 1958-04-04 1961-01-17 Glass Toy
US6170754B1 (en) * 1998-02-10 2001-01-09 Mattel, Inc. Spiral ramp for toy vehicles
US6135388A (en) * 1999-01-15 2000-10-24 Hostetter; Todd Self-erecting collapsible kite
US20020098770A1 (en) * 2001-01-24 2002-07-25 Mesch Thomas J. Amusement device with flexible rubberized pop up figure

Also Published As

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WO2008135745A3 (en) 2009-01-15
GB0708772D0 (en) 2007-06-13

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