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Publication numberUS20070182221 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/671,084
Publication dateAug 9, 2007
Filing dateFeb 5, 2007
Priority dateFeb 3, 2006
Publication number11671084, 671084, US 2007/0182221 A1, US 2007/182221 A1, US 20070182221 A1, US 20070182221A1, US 2007182221 A1, US 2007182221A1, US-A1-20070182221, US-A1-2007182221, US2007/0182221A1, US2007/182221A1, US20070182221 A1, US20070182221A1, US2007182221 A1, US2007182221A1
InventorsDean E. McConnell, L. Dale Judy
Original AssigneeMcconnell Dean E, Judy L Dale
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Child activity center
US 20070182221 A1
Abstract
A child activity center is disclosed that includes an adjustable table and chair. The adjustable table and chair are configured to have their heights adjusted quickly and easily without the requirement of any type of tool. The table and chair include adjustable leg extension members that are removably attached to main leg extension members that allow the height of the table and chair to be readily and quickly adjusted without the necessity of tools. In addition, the individual components of the table and chair are snap fit together to such that the table and chair may be assembled out of the box without the requirement of tools.
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Claims(13)
1. An activity center, comprising:
a table including a table top having leg segments extending downwardly from a lower surface of the table top, wherein the leg segments have adjustable leg segments adjustably connected with the leg segments that are selectively configured to adjust a table height of the table; and
a chair including a seat segment having chair leg segments extending downwardly from the lower surface of the seat segment, wherein the chair leg segments have adjustable chair leg segments adjustably connected with the chair leg segments that are selectively configured to adjust a chair height of the chair.
2. The activity center of claim 1, wherein the table top includes at least one flip lid removably connected with an upper surface of the table top.
3. The activity center of claim 2, wherein a first upper surface of the flip lid includes a dry erase board, wherein a second lower surface of the flip lid includes a flat writing surface.
4. The activity center of claim 1, wherein the table top includes a recessed storage area located in an upper surface of the table top, wherein a flip lid covers the recessed storage area.
5. The activity center of claim 1, wherein the table top includes a pair of table top leg receiving segments that are connected with a leg frame segment of the table top leg body receiving segments, wherein the pair of table top leg body receiving segments snap fit within the table top leg body receiving segments.
6. An adjustable table, comprising:
a table top;
a pair of fixed leg segments connected with the table top, wherein the pair of fixed leg segments include downwardly extending support segments;
an adjustable leg segment connected with each downwardly extending support segment; and
wherein the adjustable leg segments and the downwardly extending support segments include a tool-less connection arrangement that allows the adjustable leg segments to be removably connected with each of downwardly extending segments.
7. The adjustable table of claim 6, wherein the pair of fixed leg segments snap fit into the table top.
8. The adjustable table of claim 6, wherein the table top includes at least one utensil tray.
9. The adjustable table of claim 6, wherein the table top includes at least one storage area recessed within an upper portion of the table top.
10. The adjustable table of claim 9, wherein a flip lid covers the at least one storage area.
11. The adjustable table of claim 6, wherein the adjustable leg segments are secured to the downwardly extending support segments such that the application of a predetermined amount of force in a direction opposite a normal use position of the table top causes said adjustable leg segments to detach from the downwardly extending support segments.
12. The adjustable child table of claim 6, wherein the downwardly extending support segments include a male member that releaseably engages a female member of the adjustable leg segments.
13. An adjustable chair, comprising:
a backrest;
a pair of chair leg frames, wherein said backrest is connected with an upper portion of said pair of chair leg frames;
a seat connected with said pair of chair leg frames;
a plurality of leg extension segments removably connected with an inside surface of said pair of chair legs such that said extension segments may be adjusted thereby adjusting a height of the adjustable chair.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/766,652 filed on Feb. 3, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates generally to children's activity centers and more particularly, to a children's' activity center that is capable of adjusting in height as children grow.

2. Related Art

Typical injection molded activity centers designed for young children, for example from ages 3-6, are designed in a one size fits all manner by certain age groups. Children working at these activity centers tend to concentrate better if they are comfortable. This is especially beneficial in learning environments and institutions or at times when it is desired for children to concentrate and focus for learning purposes at home. In these learning environments, a one chair fits all types of children is not advantageous for some children. In addition, a one table fits all arrangement is also not advantageous for all children. Despite these varying needs, institutions and learning centers still use a one size fits all arrangement. All children grow and develop differently thereby making one child's respective needs different from the next.

As such, a need exists for a children's table and chair in which the heights of the table and chairs may be quickly and easily adjusted to fit the child's individual needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention discloses a system, method and apparatus for adjusting a height of a table and chair that form part of a children's activity center. Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be, or will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a child activity center.

FIG. 2 illustrates a portion of the adjustable legs of the child activity center.

FIG. 3 illustrates a general assembly view of the adjustable chair.

FIG. 4 illustrates the adjustable table at various height settings.

FIG. 5 illustrates a general assembly view of the adjustable chair of the child activity center.

FIG. 6 illustrates the adjustable chair at various height settings.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of a representative male insert member.

FIG. 8 illustrates a top view of the representative male insert member.

FIG. 9 illustrates a top view of the representative female insert member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, the present invention discloses a child activity center 100 that is designed to grow or adjust as children grow. The child activity center 100 includes at least one adjustable table 102 and at least one adjustable chair 104. As set forth in greater detail below, the adjustable table 102 and chair 104 are preferentially designed so that the physical heights of the adjustable table 102 and chair 104 may be adjusted so that as young children grow, from the approximate ages of 2-6 years old in the illustrated embodiments, the table height of the table 102 and/or the chair height of the chair 104 may be readily adjusted without the use of any tools. The adjustable table 102 and/or chair 104 are also beneficial to children having different physical characteristics or needs within a single classroom. The adjustable table 102 and chair 104 may quickly and easily be adjusted to properly fit the individual characteristics of a respective child.

The adjustable table 102 includes a table top portion 106 and a right table leg 108 and a left table leg 110. The right and left table legs 108, 110 are removably connected with the table top portion 106 so that the adjustable table 102 may quickly and easily be assembled. The adjustable table 102 also includes a flip lid 112, which, as set forth below, may be designed such that each side of the flip lid 112 may be used by a child while the child is sitting at the adjustable table 102. At least one utensil tray 114 is also be included in the table top 106 allowing children to place utensils, such as pencils, pens, crayons, markers, and dry-erase markers, in the utensil tray 114 while not in use by the child. The utensil tray 114 comprises a generally oval shaped recess in the table top 106 at a side portion of the table top 106.

The adjustable chair 104 includes a back rest portion 116, a seat portion 118, a right chair leg 120 and a left chair leg 122. The back rest 116 may be removably connected with the seat 118. In addition, the seat 118 may be removably connected with the right and left chair legs 120, 122. As set forth in greater detail below, like the table legs 108, 110, the chair legs 120, 122 are designed to adjust up and down so that the height of the chair 104 may be adjusted to fit a respective child's physical characteristics.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a general assembly view of one of the legs 108, 110 of the adjustable table 102 is illustrated that sets forth each component that may be used in an illustrative embodiment of the present invention. The table legs 108, 110 include an upper support segment 200 and a pair of opposing leg extension segments 202. The two leg extension segments 202 extend downwardly and away from the upper support segment 200 toward a ground point at a predetermined angle in relation to the upper support segment 200.

In the illustrated embodiment, each leg extension segment 202 includes a lower inner recessed connector portion 204 that includes a plurality of connector mounts 206 that protrude outwardly from an inside portion 208 of the leg extension segment 202. A generally rectangular shaped male insert member 210 is connected to the connector mounts 206 using conventional connection methods such as by screws or welding for example. The male insert members 210 include a plurality of apertures 212 that allow the male insert members 210 to be connected with the connector mounts 206. The male insert members 210 include a plurality of retention clips 214 that protrude outwardly from an upper surface of the male insert members 210. The retention clips 214 are oriented along a vertical axis of the male insert members 210.

The table 102 also includes a pair of adjustable leg extension segments 216 that include a female insert member 218 connected to an inside surface 220 of the adjustable leg extension segments 216. The female insert members 218 include a plurality of apertures 219 that allow the female insert members 218 to be connected to connector mounts 206 of the adjustable leg extension segments 216. The female insert member 218 may be connected with the adjustable leg extension segments 216 using conventional connection methods such as by screws or welding for example. The female insert members 218 include a plurality of clip receiving apertures 222 that run along a vertical axis of the female insert members 216.

When assembled, the adjustable leg extension segments 216 are removably/adjustably connected with the leg extension segments 202 of the table legs 108, 110. The retention clips 214 of the male insert members 210 removably fit within the clip receiving apertures 222 of the female insert members 218 such that an inner upper surface 221 of the retention clips 214 engage a respective upper edge 223 of at least one clip engagement surface 225 formed by the clip receiving apertures 222. The retention clips 214 are designed such that they provide a friction fit on a surface of the clip engagement surface 225. Since the retention clips 214 are located in the leg extension segments 202, when the adjustable leg extension segments 216 are connected to the leg extension segments 202, downward force applied to the table 102 causes the retention clips 214 to securely hold the adjustable leg extension segments 216 on the leg extension segments 202. The inner upper surface 221 of the retention clips 214 engage the upper edge 223 of the clip engagement surfaces 225 and a portion of the retention clips 214 engage a surface of the clip engagement surfaces 225.

To remove the adjustable leg extension segments 216 from the legs 108, 110 to adjust the height of the adjustable table 102, upward force is applied to a lower surface 224 of the adjustable leg extension segments 216. This causes the retention clips 214 of the male insert members 210 to move upwardly so that they release from the clip engagement surfaces 225. The retention clips 214 may then be removed from the clip receiving apertures 222 thereby disconnecting the adjustable leg extension segments 216 from the leg extension segments 202. The adjustable leg extension segments 216 may then be adjusted up or down on the male insert members 210 to thereby adjust the overall height of the table 102. See FIG. 4. The adjustable table 102 may be adjusted to multiple different heights. A felt or rubber pad 226 may be connected with the lower surface 224 of the adjustable leg extension segments 216.

Referring to FIG. 3, an assembly view of the adjustable table 102 is illustrated. Each flip lid 112 includes a white board 250 and a main body 252. The white board 250 is connected to a recessed portion 254 of the main body 252. The white board 250 may be connected to the recessed portion 254 using a plurality of attachment members 256 or glued or integrally formed as a part of the main body 252. The white board 250 allows children to use dry erase markers to write or draw during activities. A lower surface 258 of the main body 252 is flat so that children may use the lower surface 258 to write, draw or color on. As such, each flip lid 112 has two sides that may be used for activities.

The flip lids 112 are removably positioned in a recessed portion 260 of the table top 106. The recessed portion 260 defines a generally rectangular shaped storage area in which various items may be stored, such as pencils, markers, crayons, books and so forth. The flip lids 112 rest on an upper edge 262 of the recessed portion 260. Although two flip lids 112 are illustrated in the figures, it should be appreciated that only one flip lid 112 may be included in other embodiments.

Referring collectively to FIGS. 1-3, the upper support segment 200 of the legs 108, 110 is designed to snap fit into a leg receiving segment 270 located and formed on the underside of the table top 106. This is so that the entire table 102 may be packaged unassembled in a compact package. The table 102 may be assembled without the assistance of any tools as all components come pre-assembled and all of the components “snap-fit” together. Although the male and female insert members 210, 218 are illustrated as separate components, it should be appreciated that the leg extension segments 202 of the legs 108, 110 and the adjustable leg extension segments 216 may be molded or manufactured to include male and female insert members 210, 218. In the illustrated embodiment, the male and female insert members 210, 218 are manufactured from sheet metal or the like to add strength. However, as set forth above, the leg extension segments 202 and the adjustable leg extension segments 216 may be integrally molded to include retention clips 214 and clip receiving apertures 222.

Referring to FIG. 4, the adjustable table 102 includes extendable legs 108, 110. Three representative table height settings are illustrated in FIG. 4. Additional height settings are available but have not been illustrated as the principles taught by the present invention can be illustrated showing three available height settings. The interlocking leg members 202, 216 are configured to be securely connected and unconnected to one another at various height settings without the use of tools. The upper support segment 200 of the legs 108, 110 include leg extension segments 202 that are capable of securely being connected with the adjustable leg extension segments 216 while at the same time being capable of being easily removed and adjusted to different height settings. It does not require tools to change the height settings of the table 102.

Referring to FIG. 5, the adjustable chair 104 of the representative child activity center 100 is illustrated. The adjustable chair 104 includes a pair of opposing chair frame segments 300. The chair frame segments 300 include a seat or base segment 302, a pair of downwardly extending leg segments 304, and an upwardly extending chair back segment 306. The seat segment 302 is generally rectangular in shape and is designed to snap fit together with a lower portion 308 of the seat 118. The seat 118 includes a frame engagement section 310 located in the lower portion 308 of the seat 118 that receives the seat segment 302. The seat segment 302 snap fits into the frame engagement section 310 of the seat 118. Once snap fit in place, the seat 118 is securely engaged with the chair frame segments 300.

The downwardly extending leg segments 304 extend downwardly and outwardly from the seat segment 302 a predetermined distance at a predetermined angle. The leg segments 304 include a male insert member 312. Each chair frame segment 300 has a pair of adjustable leg extension segments 314 that include a female insert member 316 that is designed to be releaseably connected with the male insert member 312 of the leg segments 304. As with the adjustable table 102, the leg segments 304, 314 of the adjustable chair 104 are designed to be connected and reconnected to one another so that the height of the adjustable chair 104 may be readily adjusted to fit the needs and requirements of an individual child. A detailed discussion of the manner in which the leg segments 304, 314 are adjusted is not necessary as it has been previously been discussed with respect to the adjustable table 102. As apparent from the figures, although sized somewhat differently, the components of the legs 120, 122 of the chair 104 have the same design as the components of the legs 108, 110 of the table 102.

The upwardly extending chair back segments 306 of the seat frame segments 300 are used to attach the chair back rest 116 to the chair frame segments 300. The upwardly extending chair back segment 306 is connected with the seat segment 302 by an elbow shaped segment 321. The chair back rest 116 snap fits to the upwardly extending chair back segments 306. A plurality of snap fit protrusions 320 extending outwardly from an outer surface of the upwardly extending chair back segments 306 snap fit into apertures 322 located in the chair back rest 116. As such, the chair back rest 116 snap fits onto the upwardly extending chair back segments 306 of the chair frame segments 300. This is beneficial during shipping, assembly, and disassembly because no tools are required. A lower portion 330 of the adjustable leg extension segments 314 may include a felt or rubber pad 332 that helps stabilize the legs of the chair 104. The back rest 116 of the adjustable chair 104 may also include a hand holder 334 that allows the chair 104 to be picked up and moved easily.

Referring to FIG. 6, the adjustable chair 104 includes extendable legs 304, 314. Three representative chair height settings are illustrated in FIG. 6. Additional height settings are available but have not been illustrated as the principles taught by the present invention can be illustrated showing three available height settings. The interlocking leg members 304, 314 are configured to be securely connected and unconnected to one another at various height settings. The main upper segment 300 of the legs 304, 314 include leg extension segments 314 that are capable of securely being connected with the adjustable leg extension segments 304 while at the same time being capable of being easily removed and adjusted to different height settings. It does not require tools to change the height settings of the chair 104.

Referring to FIG. 1, the child activity center 100 includes an adjustable table 102 and chair 104 that easily and readily adjusts to satisfy the individual requirements of a child that uses the activity center 100. The adjustable table and chair 102, 104 have also been designed to be stackable. The table 102 has been designed such that each table 102 may easily be stacked on other tables 102. In addition, the chair 104 has been designed such that each chair 104 may easily be stacked on other chairs 104. This is beneficial for institutions such as churches, daycares, schools, and other educational or child related facilities.

Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, a representative male insert member 210 that may be utilized in the present invention is illustrated. As previously set forth, the male insert member 210 includes a plurality of retention clips 214. In this embodiment, the retention clips 214 are made from spring steel so that the retention clips 214 naturally tend to go back to their unattached state. This helps the retention clips 214 secure the adjustable leg extension segment 216 to the leg segment 202.

Referring to FIGS. 7-9, the female insert member 218 includes a plurality of apertures 222 that the retention clips 214 fit within. The inner upper portion 221 of the retention clips 214 rest on the upper portions 223 of an engagement surface 225 formed by the apertures 222. An engagement portion 275 of the retention clips 214 provides force to the engagement surfaces 225 to hold the respective pieces together when connected to one another.

While the present invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments, it will be evident that various modifications and changes may be made to these embodiments without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the claims. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.

Classifications
U.S. Classification297/135
International ClassificationA47B83/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47D3/00, A47B13/003, A47B17/006, A47D1/004
European ClassificationA47B13/00C, A47D3/00, A47D1/00B2, A47B17/00C