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Publication numberUS3737161 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 5, 1973
Filing dateAug 9, 1972
Priority dateAug 9, 1972
Publication numberUS 3737161 A, US 3737161A, US-A-3737161, US3737161 A, US3737161A
InventorsTaylor J, Taylor M
Original AssigneeTaylor J, Taylor M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Environmental playground for handicapped children
US 3737161 A
Abstract
A central bowl of soft resilient material defining a concave tumbling area is surrounded by an outer wall to define an annular passageway between the exterior of the bowl and the inside wall surfaces of the surrounding outer wall. The annular passageway includes various three dimensional members of soft resilient materials similar to pillows of varying shapes. These members define an obstacle course for children circling around the central bowl. The inner surfaces of the surrounding wall may include textured designs in relief to provide tactual and visual stimulation. The central bowl serves as a "social center" for the children at play.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[451 June5,-1973 United States Patent [191 Taylor et al.

[54] ENVIRONMENTAL PLAYGROUND FOR HANDICAPPED CHILDREN Primary ExaminerRichard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-H. Israel t A. l t [76] Inven ors Marvin Tay or, Jane Louise Attorney Pastoriza & Kelly Taylor, both of 4920 Dixie Drive, San Diego, Calif. 92109 Aug. 9, 1972 [57] ABSTRACT A central bowl of soft resilient material defining a concave tumbling area is surrounded by an outer wall to define an annular passageway between the exterior of the bowl and the inside wall surfaces of the sur- [22] Filed:

211 Appl. No.: 279,209

[52] US. 272/1 R rounding outer wall. The annular passageway includes various three dimensional members of soft resilient materials similar to pillows of varying shapes. These [58] Field of Search 272/1 A; 52/245, 246

members define an obstacle course for children circling around the central bowl. The inner surfaces of References Cited 1 the surrounding wall may include textured designs in UNITED STATES PATENTS relief to provide tactual and visual stimulation. The

.272/1 A central bowl serves as a social center for the chi]- 272/1 R dren at play. Schoen ......272/60 Schillig...;........t......................272/60 5 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 5/1940 Howard............................... 11/1955 Rees.....,.....

lllll 2i PATENTEDJUH 5 I975 ENTRANCE F-K-L4.

ENVIRONMENTAL PLAYGROUND FOR I-IANDICAPPED CHILDREN This invention relates broadly to therapy techniques in connection with handicapped children and more particularly to a specially designed artificial environmental playground for such children.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Sensory-motor co-ordination experiences are of particular importance in certain types of handicapped children; for example, brain damaged, mentally retarded, partially or completely blind, cerebral palsy, and autistic children. While there are many physical therapy programs, there is often very little carry-over from therapy sessions to other activities. Children of the type under consideration usually exhibit difficulty in moving about a normal room or play yard and often times, such environment can be physically hazardous to the child.

Aside from the foregoing, it is desirable to induce in some of the atypical children a social development and incentive to move away from the self; that is, an encouragement to explore their environment.

Funds for dealing with handicapped children are nearly always limited and thus any proposed solutions to the above problems should be brought about with the end in view of avoiding recurring expenses.

The present invention has for its primary object to provide a safe type therapeutic environment for-handicapped children which stimulates their sensory-motor responses and encourages exploration and self-reliant types of activity.

More particularly, the present invention contemplates a special environmental playground for handicapped children which, in essence, constitutes a forgiving environment wherein the child cannot hurt himself and yet can develop his capabilities towards maximum potential without the necessity of adult guidance. In fact, the presence of adults is undesirable in many types of therapy. These adults often appear as interfering giants to the particular children involved.

Not only is physical motor co-ordination developed but in addition visual and tactual sensitivities are stimulated.

Essentially, the special environment comprises a central bowl shaped structure of soft resilient material defining a concave tumbling area for the children. A surrounding wall in turn defines with the exterior side wall of the bowl rim an annular passageway passing completely around the bowl. A plurality of soft, resilient three dimensional members defining various obstacles are positioned in the passageway over which the childrcn can climb as they progress around the bowl.

The environment is completed by providing at least some of the interior surfaces of the surrounding wall with textured, relief-like designs to define sensory murals for stimulating visual and tactual sensitivities of the child.

The round or annular arrangement of the passage provides essentially an endless pathway for children to follow and explore. The central bowl in turn provides a social environment wherein they can tumble or roll together at any particular point from the exterior passageway. All materials involved are soft and rounded so that there is no possibility of a child injuring himself or herself and no adult supervision is necessary.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A better understanding of the invention will be had by referring to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a cut away perspective view of the basic structure making up the environmental playground;

FIG. 2 is a cut away perspective view of a section of the central bowl structure of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cut away perspective view of one of several three dimensional members used in the environment of FIG. 1; and,

FIG. 4 is a top section of the exterior walland plan view of the central bowl taken in the direction of the arrows 4-4 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring first to FIG. 1 there is shown a central bowl 10 which may be formed from pie shaped sections such as indicated at 10a and 10b to define a concave tumbling area 11 for children.

With particular reference to FIG. 2, a typical pie shaped section such as 10b is formed of solid resilient urethane foam l2 typically of a height H corresponding generally to the shoulder height of a child. The top surface 11 is of concave shape slopingdownwardly and inwardly towards the vertex. The'length of the sloping surface is designated R and is greater than the height H. Preferably, the distance R is designed such that a child may roll over twice from the rim or edge of the bowl before reaching the center. In the preferred embodiment, the concave tumbling surface constitutes a portion of a paraboloid.

With the sections fitted together to form the bowl 10 shown in FIG. 1, a flexible covering of any suitable material such as naugahyde 13 serves to, hold the sections in their assembled relationship.

Referring back to FIG. 1, the overall diameter of the bowl is indicated at D and would normally be about three to four times the height. A typical dimensioning for children from 2 to 4 years old would be H 30 inches, D 6 feet, and the distance along the sloping surface to the center in a radial direction designated R, about 40 inches.

By making the bowl generally of a paraboloid shape, the central area is fairly flat to allow a child to crawl, kneel, walk or roll.

Surrounding the bowl is a wall 14 which may be made up of sections such as indicated at 14a and 14b. In the particular embodiment illustrated, the surrounding wall is hexagonal shaped and might be of the order of twelve feet across. Entrance and exit areas through a common single opening are indicated at 15 and 16 in one of the wall sections. 1

With the wall 14 surrounding the central bowl, there is defined between the interior of the wall and the exterior wall of the bowl itself an annular passageway 17. The width of the passageway may be about the same as the height H of the bowl; for example, 2 A feet. The surrounding wall itself is preferably higher than the bowl to assure that children are confined within the area. Typical heights of the surrounding wall may be from 4 to 6 feet.

The environment is completed by the provision of a plurality of soft, resilient three dimensional members having various shapes such as prisms, wedges and the like. Other configurations of these objects define ramps, slides, and even stairs.

The above described members are positioned in the passageway 17 to serve as an uneven or irregular surface which is increasingly more difficult for the children to balance on and more over. Thus, wedges and prism shapes near the entrance have less of a slope than those near the exit. One typical member is indicated at 18 and constitutes a combination triangular and wedge shaped member.

With particular reference to FlG. 3, this member 18 is shown as having a sloping top triangular surface 19 defined by solid resilient urethane foam 20. A covering 21 of flexible material such as naugahyde would completely enclose the foam. In FIG. 3, one side is shown open to expose the urethane foam 20.

Referring to the plan view of FIG. 4, other typical shapes for the three dimensional members are shown at 22 which might comprise a ramp 23 shown around the opposite portion of the passage in the form of stairs, and 24 in the form of an inclined surface. The irregular bag shaped member 25 serves as a landing area from the slide 24.

It'should be understood that the various members such as typically shown in FIG. 3 may be of modular design so that they can readily be positioned in different portions of the passageway 17 so that the environment or obstacle course which a child must travel can be varied as desired. It should be understood that all of the members have rounded corners and are designed so that the passageway is substantially filled so that there are no hard surfaces exposed which might injure a child.

The surrounding wall 14 may be formed of plywood sections and in accord with an important feature of the invention, the inner surfaces of at least some of the surrounding walls are provided with textured, relief-like designs to define sensory murals for stimulating visual and tactual sensitivities of the child. For example, there may be provided a jungle scene in which trees and animals are roughly outlined. Another mural might constitute a farm or a water scene. Desirably, the sensory murals include means for providing aromas associated with the particular environment depicted to stimulate the olfactory sensitivities of the child, particularly blind children.

OPERATION ln operation, a child or children will enter the entrance and explore along the passageway 17 moving generally in a counterclockwise direction as illustrated by the arrows in FIG. 4. Insofar as the child is concerned, there is effectively no beginning" or end to place for the children during their play in the environment.

As the children progress around the passageway, they will see and can feel the textured wall designs or sensory murals. Further, these wall designs may be carefully colored and the various environmental obstacles in the form of the pillow like members may also be colored.

Because of the soft, forgiving nature of the environment, no adult supervision is required. On the other hand, observation of the children can take place over the top of the surrounding wall if desired.

From the foregoing description, it will be evident that the present invention has provided a unique environmental playground particularly useful for handicapped children which may be used again and again without additional expense and wherein the various environmental objects themselves may be readily changed or relocated to provide a continuously stimulating challenge to the children.

What is claimed is:

1. An environmental playground for handicapped children comprising in combination:

a. a central bowl-shaped structure of soft resilient material defining a concave tumbling area for the children;

b. a surrounding wall'defining with the exterior side wall of the bowl a passageway passing annularly completely around the bowl; and,

c. a plurality of soft, resilient three-dimensional members defining various obstacles in said passageway over which children can climb as they progress around the bowl.

2. The subject matter of claim 1, in which said bowl is made up of a plurality of pie-shaped sections, each section having an outer side wall of height corresponding approximately to the shoulder height of a childand a smooth curve top surface sloping downwardly and inwardly towards the vertex of the pie-shaped section to define part of the concave tumbling area, the radial length thereof being greater than the height of the wall, the section comprising solid resilient foam material; and a smooth flexible material covering the various sections when fitted together to define the bowl.

3. The subject matter of claim 1, in which said plurality of soft, resilient three-dimensional members include prism and wedge shaped objects and other configurations defining ramps and stairs, each of the members including solid resilient foam covered by flexible material, the various members being repositionable at various locations in the passageway so that the environment can be varied.

4. The subject matter of claim 1, in which at least some of the interior surfaces of the surrounding wall are provided with textured, relief-like designs to define sensory murals for stimulating visual and tactual sensitivities of the child.

5. The subject matter of claim 4, in which at least some the sensory murals include means for providing aromas to stimulate the olfactory sensitivities of the

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2199915 *Jan 12, 1939May 7, 1940Howard Thomas AChild's play bowl
US2723853 *Jul 2, 1954Nov 15, 1955Rees John HTumble toy
US3561757 *Mar 17, 1969Feb 9, 1971William C SchilligHinged modular playground block system
US3663346 *Jul 22, 1970May 16, 1972NasaHoneycomb core structures of minimal surface tubule sections
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4772014 *Jul 31, 1986Sep 20, 1988Rebman Lester WPhysical rehabilitation platform
US5350341 *Jul 28, 1993Sep 27, 1994Wolscht Maria S TInfant flag enclosure
US5356354 *Nov 8, 1993Oct 18, 1994Owens Kevin WSoft, modular, play equipment system for toddlers
US6228005 *Aug 24, 1999May 8, 2001Gary W. GrayMultiple station exercise and stretching apparatus
US6413198Jul 13, 2000Jul 2, 2002Gary W. GrayMultipurpose exercise and stretching apparatus
US9517419Feb 24, 2015Dec 13, 2016Tre Lisa LeePlayground for handicapped children
US20160151655 *Dec 1, 2014Jun 2, 2016Ronal I. GilleyPlyometric Jump Training Device
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/35, 472/137
International ClassificationA63B9/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2208/12, A63B9/00
European ClassificationA63B9/00