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United States Patent Application 20170368465
Kind Code A1
Brown; Annette ;   et al. December 28, 2017

MODULAR TOY ASSEMBLY

Abstract

A modular toy assembly. The modular toy assembly includes sliding play modules defined by a channel extending through each slidable play module. Each channel has at least one flat inner side that permits sliding of each slidable play module and prevents rotation of the slidable play module. A module support shaft extends through each channel to hold the sliding play modules. The module support shaft has a flat outer side having a cross-sectional shape corresponding to that of each channel of the play modules, so that the play modules are restricted from rotating about the axis of the module support shaft. A pair of side mounts support the assembly. The module support shaft detachably couples to the side mounts. The module support shaft can be removed from one end to interchange play modules. A first and second leg may attach the assembly to a surface. A travel adaptor end might include pieces/Velcro/hook and loop pieces that allow the contraption to be attached to other surfaces.


Inventors: Brown; Annette; (Walnut Creek, CA) ; Brown; David; (Walnut Creek, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Brown; Annette
Brown; David

Walnut Creek
Walnut Creek

CA
CA

US
US
Family ID: 1000002036144
Appl. No.: 15/191484
Filed: June 23, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63H 33/006 20130101
International Class: A63H 33/00 20060101 A63H033/00

Claims



1. A modular toy assembly comprising: a plurality of slidable play modules defined by a channel extending through each slidable play module, each channel having at least one flat inner side that permits sliding of each slidable play module and prevents rotation of the slidable play module; a module support shaft that extends through each channel to hold the plurality of slidable play modules, the module support shaft having at least one flat outer side extending from a proximal end to a distal end and having a cross-sectional shape corresponding to that of each channel of the plurality of the slidable play modules wherein each channel and the module support shaft are mated as the module support shaft is passed through each channel of the slidable play module wherein the slidable play module slides on the module support shaft but is restricted from rotation around an axis of the module support shaft; the module support shaft also includes a proximal end and a distal end; a pair of side mounts including a first side mount and a second side mount that are spaced apart from each other wherein the first side mount and the proximal end of the module support shaft are detachably coupled and wherein the second side mount and the distal end of the module support shaft are detachably coupled to retain the plurality of slidable play modules on the module support shaft therein; and a support that attaches the assembly to a surface.

2. The modular toy assembly of claim 1 wherein the support is a clamp or a hook and loop fastener.

3. The modular toy assembly of claim 1, further comprising a base block placed on the surface, the base block having a plurality of receptacles that are adjacent to each other along a path to receive the pair of side mounts wherein a distance between a user and the modular toy assembly may be reduced or increased based by switching the receptacles in which the side mounts are inserted.

4. The modular toy assembly of claim 1 wherein the pair of side mounts comprise a plurality of shaft holes extending along the length of the pair of side mounts, the pair of side mounts disposed in a spaced-apart relationship.

5. The modular toy assembly of claim 4 wherein the plurality of shaft holes are configured to mate with the at least one proximal end and distal end of the module support shaft.

6. The modular toy assembly of claim 1, further comprising a second module support shaft that is detachably coupled to the pair of side mounts.

7. The modular toy assembly of claim 1, further comprising a second support that attaches the assembly to a surface.

8. The modular toy assembly of claim 3 wherein the base block further comprises a track for receiving an upper portion of the clamp.

9. An apparatus comprising: a pair of side mounts comprising a mount end, a free end, and a plurality of shaft holes extending along the length of the pair of side mounts, the pair of side mounts disposed in a spaced-apart relationship; at least one support for attaching the apparatus to a surface; at least one module support shaft having at least one flat outer side, the at least one module support shaft extending between the pair of side mounts, the at least one module support shaft comprising a proximal end and a distal end wherein the proximal end and the distal end are detachably attached to shaft holes along the length of the pair of side mounts; and a plurality of slidable play modules, each including a channel, the channel having at least one flat inner side, the channel and the at least one flat inner side configured to mate with the at least one flat outer side of the module support shaft and enable longitudinal sliding of the of the at least one flat outer side, the channel and the at least one flat inner side configured to restrict rotation of the plurality of outer surfaces of the at least one module support shaft, wherein the plurality of slidable play modules are inhibited from rotating about the at least one module support shaft, wherein detachment of the proximal end or the distal end of the at least one module support shaft enables interchanging of the plurality of slidable play modules.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the plurality of shaft holes are shaped to enable mating with a proximal end and a distal end of the module support shaft.

11. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the at least one leg comprises a clamp.

12. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the at least one leg is a hook and loop fastener for attaching the apparatus to the surface.

13. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising a base block placed on the surface, the base block having a plurality of receptacles that are adjacent to each other along a path to receive the pair of side mounts wherein a distance between a user and the apparatus may be reduced or increased by switching the receptacles in which the side mounts are inserted.

14. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising a second module support shaft that is detachably coupled to the pair of side mounts.

15. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising a second support that attaches the apparatus to a surface.

16. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein the base block further comprises a track for receiving an upper portion of the clamp.
Description



BACKGROUND

[0001] The present disclosure relates generally to a modular toy assembly and apparatus and more specifically to a modular toy assembly and apparatus with interchangeable sliding play modules for children.

[0002] Many children, particularly toddlers, find it difficult to remain idle for long periods of time. Even activities such as feeding a child may fail to fully engage the child for the entirety of the meal duration. As an example, a child may become impatient halfway through the meal, and once disengaged, the child will overturn his or her plate and splatter his or her meal on the table or floor causing a mother or other child caregiver to spend time and effort cleaning up the mess. Of course, the food is wasted and cannot be fed to the child. Likewise, a child may become impatient while sitting in a shopping cart, car seat or stroller for too long.

[0003] It is within the aforementioned context that a need for the present disclosure has arisen. Thus, there is a need to address one or more disadvantages of conventional systems and methods, and the present disclosure meets this need.

BRIEF SUMMARY

[0004] Various aspects of a modular toy assembly can be found in exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0005] A modular toy assembly entertains a child through use of interchangeable play modules where each of the interchangeable play modules may slide along an axis of a module support shaft while also being restricted from rotation about the module support shaft. The modular toy assembly can also fasten (detachably) to a variety of surfaces.

[0006] In a first embodiment, a modular toy assembly includes one or more play modules that are slidable. The sliding play modules are defined by a channel extending through each slidable play module. Each channel has at least one flat inner side that permits sliding of each sliding play module but that prevents rotation of the slidable play module.

[0007] The modular toy assembly further includes a module support shaft that extends through each channel of the sliding play modules. The module support shaft may hold one or more of the sliding play modules. The module support shaft has at least one flat outer side extending from a proximal end to a distal end. The module support shaft also has a cross-sectional shape corresponding to that of each channel of the slidable play module.

[0008] In this manner, each channel and the module support shaft are mated as the module support shaft is passed through each channel of the slidable play module. Further, the slidable play module slides on the module support shaft but is restricted from rotation around an axis of the module support shaft. The module support shaft also includes a proximal end and a distal end with each end having at least one flange.

[0009] In one version of the modular toy assembly, a pair of side mounts is featured. In another equally important version of the modular toy assembly, a new travel adaptor/Velcro attachment function is featured. The pair of side mounts includes a first side mount and a second side mount that are spaced apart from each other. The first side mount and the proximal end of the module support shaft are detachably coupled. The second side mount and the distal end of the module support shaft are detachably coupled. In this manner, the plurality of sliding play modules is retained on the module support shaft thereon.

[0010] The pair of side mounts further comprises a plurality of shaft holes extending along the length of the pair of side mounts. The shaft holes are shaped to enable mating with at least one flange that defines the proximal end and the distal end of the module support shaft. Further, the side mounts comprise a mount end disposed proximally to a mounting surface, and a free end disposed distally from the surface.

[0011] The modular toy assembly further includes a leg for attaching the assembly to a surface. A second leg may also be used to further stabilize the modular toy assembly on the surface. The leg and second leg may include a clamp or clamps for adjustable and detachable attachment to the surface. A hook and loop fastener may also be used for attaching the modular toy assembly to the surface.

[0012] A further understanding of the nature and advantages of the present disclosure herein may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and the attached drawings. Further features and advantages of the present disclosure, as well as the structure and operation of various embodiments of the present disclosure, are described in detail below with respect to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, the same reference numbers indicate identical or functionally similar elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1A illustrates a perspective view of a modular toy assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0014] FIG. 1B illustrates a brief operation of the sliding play modules and the modular toy assembly 100 of FIG. 1 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0015] FIG. 2A illustrates a front view of a first embodiment of a slidable play module according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0016] FIG. 2B illustrates a front view of a second embodiment of a slidable play module according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0017] FIG. 2C illustrates a side view of the play module illustrated in FIG. 2B according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0018] FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of module support shafts according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0019] FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of a pair of side mounts and a pair of module support shafts according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0020] FIG. 5A illustrates an alternative module support shaft according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 5B illustrates an alternative module support shaft according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0022] FIG. 6 illustrates leg clamps on a mounting surface according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0023] FIG. 7 illustrates an alternate modular toy assembly according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0024] Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the disclosure, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the disclosure will be described in conjunction with the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that they are not intended to limit the disclosure to these embodiments. On the contrary, the disclosure is intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents, which may be included within the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, in the following detailed description of the present disclosure, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the present disclosure. However, it will be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art that the present disclosure may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, components, and circuits have not been described in detail as to not unnecessarily obscure aspects of the present disclosure.

[0025] FIG. 1A illustrates modular toy assembly 100 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0026] In FIG. 1A, in one embodiment, users might employ modular toy assembly 100 for entertaining, educating and engaging children for long durations of time. Preferably, modular toy assembly 100 is molded from a polymeric material although other comparable materials including metals, resins, wood, etc. that are consistent with the spirit and scope of the present disclosure may be utilized.

[0027] As shown, modular toy assembly 100 includes one or more of sliding play module 102A, sliding play module 102B, sliding play module 102C and sliding play module 102D, each providing a tactile, visual, and/or audible media that can facilitate interactive engagement with children of all ages.

[0028] Here, although four sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D are shown, one skilled in the art will realize that fewer or more play modules may be utilized consistent with the spirit and scope of the present specification. A variety of sliding play modules could be developed, each designated to engage children at different stages of development. Operation of the sliding play modules and modular toy assembly 100 is briefly described with reference to FIG. 1B below.

[0029] FIG. 1B illustrates a brief operation of sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C, 102D and modular toy assembly 100 of FIG. 1 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0030] In FIG. 1B, in operation, sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D are slid over module support shafts 104A and 104B (of FIG. 3) as shown by the arrows. A first side mount 108A and a second side mount 108B then engage the ends of module support shafts 104A and 104B. In this manner, sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D are locked into place and can freely slide on module support shafts 104A, 104B without falling off.

[0031] A first clamp 112A is then used to attach the first side mount 108A to a table (or other similar type surfaces). A second clamp 112B is also used to attach the second side mount 108B to the table. A user such as a child can then employ modular toy assembly 100 for entertainment, engagement, education, etc. consistent with the principles of the present disclosure. A further description of the sliding play modules will now be provided with reference to FIG. 2A, 2B and 2C below.

[0032] FIG. 2A illustrates sliding play module 102A of modular toy assembly 100. FIG. 2B also illustrates another sliding play module 102B according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. It is noted that the descriptions herein for sliding play modules 102A and 102B are also applicable to sliding play modules also applicable to sliding play modules 102C and 102D, as well as any other sliding play modules developed for use.

[0033] In FIGS. 2A and 2B, each sliding play module 102A and 102B includes two portions that are detachably coupled to each other. Specifically, a primary portion 202 that is generally block-shaped is detachably engaged to a secondary portion 204. By "detachably engaged," it is meant that the portions 202 and 204 are not permanently attached and one portion can easily be removed and reattached to its corresponding portion.

[0034] As shown, primary portion 202 is the main component that remains stable on a shaft and cannot be rotated on its axis. Primary portion 202 might include visually engaging shapes or designs such squares, circles, triangles, hexagons, etc. Each of the designs may be brightly colored primary or secondary colors including red, yellow, green, blue and other such attractive colors. The dimensions of each sliding play module 102A, 102B may vary depending upon the size of the desired modular toy assembly 100.

[0035] Secondary portion 204 attaches to and hangs below primary portion 202 to provide additional tactile and visual engagement. It might include spring-like element 206 that can promote dangling. Various shapes/designs 208 may also be attached to said spring-like element 206. For example, shapes/designs 208 might be triangular, circular, key-shaped, star-shaped, etc.

[0036] Although not shown, sliding play modules 102A and 102B may include, without limitation, elements such as beads, knobs, letters and numbers, springs, figurines, etc., so long as such elements are modular and interchangeable. As will be discussed with reference to FIG. 2C, sliding play modules 102A and 102B include a central channel that facilitates sliding of the play modules.

[0037] FIG. 2C shows a lateral/side plan view of primary portion 202 of sliding play module 102A (or 102B) according to one embodiment of this specification.

[0038] In FIG. 2C, primary portion 202 includes a channel 122 extending through each sliding play module 102A, 102B (and 102C and 102D). It is this channel 122 that engages module support shafts 104A, 104B when sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D are slid on module support shafts in FIG. 1B.

[0039] Channel 122 is hexagonal-shaped and is sized and dimensioned to receive a corresponding hexagonal-shaped module support shaft 104A (of FIGS. 1 and 3). In some embodiments, the shape of channel 122 may be, without limitation, triangular, semicircular, square, rectangular or other shapes consistent with the spirit and scope of the present disclosure.

[0040] Each channel 122 has at least one flat inner side 210 that permits sliding of each sliding play module 102A/102B but prevents rotation of the sliding play module on its axis. Specifically, as implied by its name, flat inner side 210 is flat and prevents rotation of primary portion 202 in the CW (clockwise) direction and also prevents rotation in the CCW (counter clockwise) direction. However, primary portion 202 is free to slide to and fro on module support shaft 104A--which is further illustrated in FIG. 3 below.

[0041] FIG. 3 illustrates module support shafts 104A and 104B according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0042] In FIG. 3, module support shaft 104A is shown as being generally elongated, extending from a proximal male end 106A to a distal male end 106B. Similarly, module support shaft 104B is generally elongated, extending from a proximal to distal end. Hereinafter, all further references to module support shaft 104A are also applicable to module support shaft 104B.

[0043] Module support shaft 104A is sized and dimensioned for insertion through each channel 122 of the sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D, holding the sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D in position for viewing and manipulation. Those skilled in the art will recognize that inhibiting CW or CCW rotation of sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D will maintain the sliding play modules in a non-rotational position so that various components thereon may be manipulated easily.

[0044] Module support shaft 104A has one or more flat outer surfaces 118. It is this flat outer surface 118 that engages the flat inner side 210 (see FIG. 2C) to prevent either clockwise or counter clockwise rotation of primary portion 202 (see FIG. 2C). Module support shaft 104A also has a cross-sectional shape corresponding to that of each channel 122 of the sliding play module 102A. The shape of the outer surface of module support shaft 104A may include, without limitation, a triangular shape, a semicircular shape, a hexagonal shape, a square shape, a rectangular shape, etc.

[0045] Thus, by having substantially the same shape, the channel 122 and the module support shaft 104A are mated as module support shaft 104A is passed through each channel 122 of sliding play module 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D. This mating arrangement enables the sliding play module to easily slide along an axis 120 of the module support shaft 104A.

[0046] As illustrated in FIG. 3, the second module support shaft 104B can be used for additional sliding play modules 102C (see FIG. 1A) and 102D. Second module support shaft 104B may be disposed in a stacked, parallel arrangement with module support shaft 104A described above. This scalability increases the capacity of modular toy assembly 100 to support additional sliding play modules. In other embodiments, three or more module support shafts may be attached to respective side mounts 108A, 108B to add additional sliding play modules.

[0047] In FIG. 3, proximal male end 106A and distal male end 106B of module support shafts 104A and 104B have one or more tabs 114A/114B. A different system of promoting the same outcome may be employed. Tabs 114A/114B are elongated and separated by slots that extend from the perimeter of the proximal and distal male ends 106a and 106b. As described below, tabs 114A and 114B permit mating and detachment between module support shafts 104A and 104B on the one hand and the first and second side mounts 108A and 108B (described with reference to FIG. 4 below), and thus provide interchangeability of the sliding play modules.

[0048] FIG. 4 illustrates first and second side mounts 108A and 108B according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0049] In FIG. 4, modular toy assembly 100 includes a pair of oppositely disposed side mounts for holding module support shafts 104A and 104B of FIG. 3. Here, the side mounts are a first side mount 108A and a second side mount 108B that are open-faced and are spaced out and oppositely disposed from each other. A different system of promoting the same outcome may be employed (e.g., a design to provide multiple levels/positions for support shafts).

[0050] The spacing between each of first and second side mounts 108A and 108B is dependent upon the length of the module support shafts 104A and 104B. The longer the module support shafts, the wider the spacing between the first and the second side mounts 104A and 104B. The open-face configuration of the side mounts facilitates recognition of side mounts that pair up with each other and also facilitates quick mounting of the module support shafts 104A and 104B.

[0051] In FIG. 4, first and second side mounts 108A and 108B are generally of equal height and dimension, serving to balance each other for support of the modular toy assembly 100. The height and dimensions may also vary depending upon the particular application. For example, the height of the side mounts for floor mounted embodiments is generally higher than that for table mounted embodiments.

[0052] As shown in FIG. 4 and as previously noted, first and second side mounts 108A and 108B are open-faced; the mounts also display a plurality of female shaft flanges 116A extending along the length of the pair of side mounts 108A and 108B. It is this plurality of female shaft flanges 116A and 116B that mate with corresponding proximal male end 106A and distal male end 106B of FIG. 3.

[0053] Specifically, female shaft flange 116A and proximal male end 106A (FIG. 3) are mated and are secured therein by tab 114A while female shaft flange 116B and distal male end 106B are mated and secured therein via tab 114B. As a result, first side mount 108A and second side mount 108B are able to support and hold up module support shaft 104A in an upright and stable position as shown in FIG. 1A.

[0054] Female shaft flanges 116A and 116B can be any shape corresponding to the oppositely disposed male end of proximal male end 106A or distal male end 106B. For example, a female shaft flange may be defined by a generally hexagonal shape that matches a similar hexagonal proximal male end 106A of module support shaft 104A. Proximal and distal male ends 106A and 106B, which are hexagonal, are in alignment with the hexagonally shaped female shaft flanges although other shapes besides a hexagonal shape may be used.

[0055] In this manner, the first side mount 108A and the proximal male end 106A of the module support shaft 104A are coupled to each to each other. Similarly, second side mount 108B and the distal male end 106B are also coupled to each to each other. The components may also be uncoupled by unlocking tab 114A or tab 114B to release the module support shaft from the first and second side mounts. Note that because of the multiple female shaft flanges 116A and 116B, the elevation of module support shaft 104A may be raised or lowered as desired by a user.

[0056] Moreover, a female travel adapter (not shown) may also be coupled with the proximal and distal male ends of the modular support shafts. In one embodiment, the travel adapter is a hexagonal shaped female receptacle having a closed end and an open end that receives the corresponding hexagonal shaped proximal male end of a modular support shaft which has at least one sliding play module. The distal male end of the modular support shaft may also be inserted in a corresponding hexagonal female receptacle. The closed end might have a strap holder to which a carrying strap is attached to be used in various play environments, including but not limited to, a stroller, shopping cart, high chair, crib, car seat, jumper and airplane.

[0057] FIG. 5A illustrates an alternative module support shaft 500 according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0058] In FIG. 5A, module support shaft 500 has a triangular cross-sectional area 504 unlike the module support shaft 104A (or 104B) of FIG. 3 that has a hexagonal cross-sectional area. This triangular cross-sectional area of module support shaft 500 is insertable into a corresponding triangular-shaped channel 522 of sliding play module 502. Triangular-shaped channel 522 has at least one flat inner side 506 that mates with flat side 505 of module support shaft 500 to permit sliding but prevent rotation of each sliding play module 502 around its axis.

[0059] FIG. 5B illustrates an alternative module support shaft 508 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0060] In FIG. 5B, module support shaft 508 has a semicircular cross-sectional area 512. This semicircular cross-sectional area is insertable into a corresponding semicircular shaped channel 514 of sliding play module 510. Semicircular shaped channel 514 has at least one flat inner side 516 that mates with flat side 511 of module support shaft 508 to permit sliding but prevent rotation of each sliding play module 510 around its axis.

[0061] FIG. 6 illustrates first and second clamps 112A and 112B respectively according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0062] In FIG. 6, modular toy assembly 100 (of FIG. 1A) includes first clamp 112A for attaching modular toy assembly 100 onto a surface 120. A second clamp 112B may also be used to further stabilize the modular toy assembly on the surface 120. In some embodiments, surface 120 may include, without limitation, a high chair, a dining table, a crib, a child car seat, etc. Other surface types may include walls or flooring, etc., for which a hook and loop attachment is employed.

[0063] Therefore, first clamp 112A and second clamp 112B enable the user to attach modular toy assembly 100 to the surface from various angles and orientations while resisting removal or dislodgment by children. In other embodiments, different fastening mechanisms may be employed to attach first clamp 112A and second clamp 112B including Velcro.TM. or other hook and loop mechanisms, suction cups, bolts, rings, vices, and friction fit mechanisms and the like.

[0064] In FIG. 6, in one exemplary embodiment, first clamp 112A and second clamp 112B employ clamping screws 126A and 126B that can be turned clockwise or counterclockwise to selectively engage onto or disengage from surface 120. The size of the clamp openings can vary depending upon the thickness of surface 120; however, each clamp includes a quick release feature that enables quick sliding up and down of clamping screws 126A and 126B.

[0065] In one embodiment, clamping screws 126A and 126B selectively engage base blocks 132 that are placed on surface 120. Base blocks 132 include sliding tracks 136 and multiple flange receptacles 134 that receive the bottom ends 117 (FIG. 6) of first and second side mounts 108A and 108B. Sliding tracks 136 are configured to receive the upper clamping surface of first and second clamps 112A and 112B. Once inserted into sliding tracks 136, the upper clamping surface can easily slide in and out of base blocks 132 as desired to either remove or attach first and second clamp 112A and 112B to surface 120.

[0066] When modular toy assembly 100 is in use, the distance between the user and the assembly may be adjusted depending upon the flange receptacles 134 in which bottom ends 117 (FIG. 4) are inserted. For example, if a user desires additional distance between the user and modular toy assembly 100, bottom ends 117 are inserted in the flange receptacles 134 that are furthest away from the user. In an alternate embodiment, the bottom ends 117 may be directly attached to the top of clamping screws 126A and 126B without flange receptacle 134. In yet another embodiment, first and second clamps 112A and 112B are not employed. Rather, a hook and loop fastener may be used for attaching the modular toy assembly 100 to the surface 120.

[0067] FIG. 7 illustrates an alternate modular toy assembly 700 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0068] In FIG. 7, modular toy assembly 700 has a single modular support shaft 704 unlike the embodiment of FIG. 1A that includes a plurality of modular support shafts for holding sliding play modules. Here, this single modular support shaft 704 holds two sliding play modules 702A and 702B that are slidable but not rotatable on modular support shaft 704. Sliding play modules 702A and 702B are further retained in place on modular support shaft 704 by two detachably coupled side arms 706A and 706B.

[0069] Here, side arm 706A is detachably coupled to end 708A while side arm 706B is detachably coupled to end 708B. Side arm 706A is similarly detachably coupled to end 710A of bottom shaft 712 while side arm 706B is detachably coupled to end 710B. In this manner, side arm 706A and side arm 706B can be detached from modular support shaft 704 and bottom shaft 712 in order to insert sliding play modules 702A and 702B after which the side arms are reattached to modular support shaft 704 and the ends of bottom shaft 712.

[0070] Further, unlike the embodiment of FIG. 1A that has two side mounts, modular toy assembly 700 includes a single leg 708 having an upper end 718 that is fixedly coupled to bottom shaft 712, said single leg 708 having a lower end 719 that is coupled to a base 722. Therefore, one of ordinary skill in the art will be cognizant that a single leg rather than multiple side mounts may be used for modular toy assembly.

[0071] In FIG. 7, base 722 is itself attached to surface 720 by using a hook and loop fastener 721. The resilient characteristics of the hook and loop fastener 721 may provide greater mounting options for the modular toy assembly. In alternative embodiments, fastening members such as cables, magnets, and screws may be used to attach modular toy assembly 100 to surface 120.

[0072] Referring now to FIG. 1A, modular toy assembly 100 is especially effective in entertaining a child through use of multiple, interchangeable and sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D. Sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D slide along module support shafts 104A/104B while also being restricted from rotation about the axis of the module support shafts. Sliding play modules 102A, 102B, 102C and 102D are interchangeable through detachment of proximal male end 106A or distal male end 106B from a similarly shaped and dimensioned female shaft flange 116A or 116B. Modular toy assembly 100 also detachably fastens to a variety of surfaces 120.

[0073] Sliding play module 102A may be interchanged in a series of simple steps comprising: detaching the proximal male end 106A from first side mount 108A. Specifically, proximal male end 106A is first detached from female shaft flange 116A of first side mount 108A. Next, sliding play module 102A is slid out over the free proximal end 106A to remove sliding play module 102A. Thereafter, another sliding play module 102B is slid on the free proximal end 106A after which proximal male end 106A and female shaft flange 116A of first side mount 108A are reengaged to lock sliding play module 102B in place.

[0074] While the above is a complete description of exemplary specific embodiments of the disclosure, additional embodiments are also possible. Thus, the above description should not be taken as limiting the scope of the disclosure, which is defined by the appended claims along with their full scope of equivalents.

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