US 20050036715 A1
A thermally insulating activity mat bag having a bag portion with two openable faces, an activity mat portion that is connected to the bag portion, a closure for closing the activity mat portion over the two openable faces of the bag portion, attachments for holding the activity mat bag to a surface, and tethers for holding toys and other items to the activity mat bag. The activity mat portion preferably bears graphical indicia thereon which can be themed to the tethered toys. Accessory mats with different graphical indicia can be provided which attach to the top, sides, or ends of the activity mat. The tethered toys can be selected to fit the theme of the activity mat portion and the accessory mat(s) if desired.
1. An thermally insulating activity mat bag, comprising:
a bag portion;
an activity mat portion, the activity mat portion being connected to the bag portion; and
tethering means for attaching other items to the activity mat bag.
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14. An thermally insulating activity mat bag, comprising:
a bag portion;
an activity mat portion, the activity mat portion being connected to the bag portion;
closure means that permits the activity mat portion to close with the bag portion; and
attachment means for holding the activity mat bag to a surface.
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21. An activity mat bag, comprising:
a bag portion having two openable faces;
an activity mat portion that is connectable to the bag portion; and
closure means for closing the activity mat portion over the two openable faces of the bag portion.
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34. An activity mat bag comprising:
a bag portion with two openable faces;
an activity mat portion that is connected to the bag portion;
a closure for closing the activity mat portion over the two openable faces of the bag portion;
attachments for holding the activity mat bag to a surface; and
tethers for holding toys and other items to the activity mat bag.
The invention relates to the field of portable bags, and more particularly relates to the field of insulated bags with multiple uses.
Parents, relatives and other caretakers of infants, toddlers and young children often find themselves carrying large quantities of gear including food, drink, diapers, towels, play equipment, toys and educational aids to take care of infants and young children.
In situations where a caretaker wishes to take infants and young children outside of the house, it is desirable to bring along a large number of miscellaneous items. Some of these items may be necessities, such as food or drink, and some of these items may be used to entertain the child while on an outing. Organizing and carrying all of these items at one time may prove to be problematic simply because of the large number and differing types of items that need to be accounted for. In addition, many kinds of food for children require some degree of refrigeration.
It is also desirable to provide a stimulating, educational, and sanitary environment where the child can safely play. Public locations such as restaurants are often not as clean as they should be, and it is desirable that toys remain in a sanitary, defined location so that the caretaker need not retrieve scattered or dropped toys which may need to be cleaned before being given back to the young child to play with.
Young children need mental activities and stimulation, and particularly in cases they are forced to remain in one location for any extended period of time, they tend to become distracted. It is therefore desirable that a play environment be provided that permits the young child a great degree of freedom to play, yet which is easy for the caretaker to transport, set up, and maintain in a sanitary condition.
Therefore, a need exists for a convenient container to transport a number of items when on an outing with a child. It is desirable that such a container provide features that allow the transportation of refrigerated items and be useable for an additional purpose, such as entertaining and protecting a child. Various aspects of the present invention meet such a need.
The invention provides an activity mat integrated with an insulated container, such as an insulated bag, which has a closure such as a zipper. When the closure is opened, a mat portion can be deployed from a bag portion. The mat portion can preferably bear design indicia. The mat portion will preferably have retention means such as straps with suction caps, to hold the activity mat and the bag portion in place on a flat surface such as a table, counter, high chair or other surface. Other means to retain the mat in place can be provided, such as weights, surface tension adhesion pads, etc. The activity mat portion can be either permanently connected to the bag portion, or it can be made to be separatable by a zipper, snaps, hook and loop material, or other means. The activity mat portion preferably has snaps or other attachments located thereon. These attachments provide a place to attach tethered toys and other items such that when infant or child plays with tethered toys on the mat, the tethered toys will not fall on the floor, become dirty or get lost.
In order to permit a change in the theme of the play surface, additional activity mat surfaces can be provided on separate sheets which attach to the attachments (e.g. snaps). Thus, a single activity mat bag can be provided to have a zoo theme, a farm theme, a playhouse theme or any other desired themes with appropriate toys so that the theme can be easily changed. If desired, bottle holders, pockets, separate compartments, and attachment can be placed on the inside and outside of the bag portion to provide for convenient carrying and attachment points and locations for these various items.
To use the activity mat portion, the user can easily unzip and deploy the activity mat portion, attach suction caps or other attachment means (e.g. straps, weights, etc.) to the surface the bag is to be used on, attach the tethered toys to the mat (if not already attached), and the child quickly begin to play on the clean activity mat portion. The opened up “backstop” of the bag portion can provide a place to store items even during play and, if desired, bear graphical indicia that is complementary to the themed activity mat portion.
This activity mat bag can be attached to a surface, for example, to a restaurant table or other table and the bag portion can either hang off of the edge of the table, or can be left on the table in front of or to the side of the child so that the child may quickly begin play. When it is time to go, the attachment means can be quickly and easily detached from the surface and the activity mat portion can be zipped back together with the bag portion, and user can quickly leave without worry about searching for and retrieving lost toys.
Referring back to
Pockets in the bag portion, such as side pocket 76, may be used to hold devices for chilling or heating foodstuffs stored in the activity bag mat. For example, containers filled with frozen or heated liquids may be conveniently stored in the side pockets. In one thermally insulated activity mat bag in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the side pockets are composed of a netting like material. The netting material allows for the free flow of air around a chilling or heating device thus enhances the convective transfer of heat from or to the device.
Accessory mat body 144 preferably has graphical indicia 146 located thereon which can have any desired appearance, with one benefit of accessory mat 140 being that it provides an option to change the theme of activity mat bag 10 or 120 without purchasing an entirely new bag, so that the child's interest can be maintained. Interactive or dynamic components may be incorporated into the graphical indicia. For example, phosphorescent or thermally sensitive inks may be used to create images that may be manipulated using an appropriate stimulus. In addition, electrical components, such as lights and switches, may be incorporated to provide dynamic or interactive features. Auditory components may be added as well through the use of buzzers and sound chips.
Attachment means 142 can preferably have a lower portion (e.g., a female snap) that is adapted for detachable attachment to attachment means 80 or 130, and an upper portion (e.g., a male snap) that is adapted for engagement with complementary attachment means 88 of tether 82. In this way, while accessory mat 140 can be affixed directly over a top surface of activity mat 14 or 122, the same kinds of tethered toys can be attached to accessory mat 140 as to activity mat 14 or 122.
Although the invention has been shown and presented herein by means of certain embodiments of the activity mat bag, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited thereto but may be variously embodied within the spirit and scope of the invention. Those of ordinary skill in the art will be able to identify various modifications which still remain within the ambit of the claims which follow.