Patent application title: Paw-shaped hand covering and knee pad combination
Jennifer Hoppins (Greensboro, NC, US)
Richard Hoppins (Greensboro, NC, US)
IPC8 Class: AA41D1306FI
Class name: Guard or protector leg knee pads or rests
Publication date: 2011-03-17
Patent application number: 20110061142
One embodiment of a hand and knee covering combination having animal paw
shape and tubular sleeve shape respectively. Constructed to simulate the
reality of having fur during imaginary play, the combination solves a
need for wearers who enjoy pretending to be an animal. The combination in
another embodiment induces continuously variable physical activity
thereby reducing boredom during exercise. The combination activates
imagination through sensory stimulation creating avenues of interaction
between persons previously separated by ability differences. Other
embodiments are described and shown.
1. A combination of fabric articles comprising: a. two hand covers b. two
knee covers whereby a human can perform various physical activities on
hard surfaces in comfort.
2. The hand covers of claim 1 having a plurality of finger stalls.
3. The hand covers of claim 2 having a recess of sufficient size to accommodate a human being.
4. The hand covers of claim 3 having predetermined shape.
5. The knee covers of claim 1 having a tubular shape.
6. The knee covers of claim 5 having flexibility.
7. The knee covers of claim 6 having a sufficient size to accommodate a human being.
8. The hand and knee covers of claim 1 wherein said fabric has a distinct texture.
9. The distinct texture of claim 7 is variable between smooth, fibrous, piled, scaled and rough.
10. The hand and knee covers of claim 8 wherein said fabric having predetermined color.
11. The hand and knee covers of claim 10 wherein use induces active play.
12. In combination, hand and knee covers having a composition and means for providing a continuously variable exercise for a human.
13. The hand and knee covers of claim 12 wherein said composition induces imaginative play.
14. The combination of claim 12 wherein hand covers comprise: a. textured fabric b. a plurality of finger stalls c. a predetermined creature paw shape d. a recess of sufficient size to accommodate use by a human. e. a predetermined color
15. The combination of claim 12 wherein knee covers comprise: a. textured fabric b. a tubular shape c. a sufficient size to accommodate use by a human d. a predetermined color
16. A method of inducing social interaction between humans with differences previously separated by a lack of unifying physical activities comprising: a. providing set or of plurality of sets of the hand and knee covering combination to one or more persons whereby said persons engage collectively in imaginative activities as expressions of pretending. b. said persons engage collectively in physical activities.
17. The hand and knee covers of claim 16 are comprised of fabric material having texture which simulates the reality of having animal fur or creature skin.
18. The hand and knee covers of claim 17 having sufficient size to accommodate use by a human.
19. The hand and knee covers of claim 18 having predetermined color.
20. The hand and knee covers of claim 19 having predetermined shape.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application No. 61/275,757, filed Sep. 2, 2009 by Jennifer Hoppins, titled: Set of Hand and Knee Coverings for Children Imitating Four Legged Animals.
 1. Prior Art
 The following is a tabulation of some prior art that presently appears relevant:
TABLE-US-00001 U.S. Patents Pat. No. Kind Code Issue Date Patentee 6,581,211 B1 2003-06-24 Golden D207442 Unknown 1967-04-18 Facci 4,333,181 Unknown 1982-06-08 Corriero D568546 S 2008-05-06 Mehrabani 5,978,962 A 1999-11-09 Hamowy
 2. Prior Art Continued
 Our society values entertainment, especially the entertainment of children. Yet limitless forms of passive entertainment contribute to the epidemic of childhood obesity. Therefore a need exists to inspire children to move their bodies while being entertained. This need has been partially met with the development of interactive exercise video games, various sports, dance and skill building activities. However, adults as well as children know that exercise routines eventually lead to boredom. One way to reduce boredom is through engaging the imagination. Now more than ever, there is a need to inspire children to use their imaginative minds to move their bodies. Imagination is defined as a power of the mind by which mental images are formed or the exercise of that power. Children are empowered through the exercise of their imaginations particularly when it involves physical activity. This is because the practice of imaginative physical activity sets a pattern of flexibility in thinking and flexibility in the body over a lifetime.
 Experience teaches that pretend play is a significant force in child development and the most compelling toys are those that simulate reality. For children who love to pretend to be cats, dogs or other animals, the prior art holds several disadvantages.
 Full body plush costumes have previously inspired physically active, imaginative pretending in children. They also allow a child to experience the simulated reality of having fur. Yet while worn indoors or in warm weather, the suits increase the internal body temperature to the point of discomfort. While a little sweat is beneficial, wearing these suits results in lethargy, exhaustion and irritated skin.
 The prior Knee or Elbow Protector and Plush Toy by Hamony, U.S. Pat. No. 5,978,962 (1999) proposes plush additions to knee covers. These do not succeed in engaging the wearer to perform a variety of physical movements related to imaginary play. For example, a child wearing the knee protector integrated with a teddy bear of FIG. 1 of U.S. Pat. No. 5,978,962 will not be inspired to perform the various physical movements of a bear because real bears do not carry cubs on their knees. In this instance, the purpose is to induce a child to wear protection, not to simulate the reality of having fur or being a bear.
 Since our combination includes paw-shaped hand coverings, it is important to note the Mitten by Golden, U.S. Pat. No. 6,581,211 (2003) and Tiger Paw Mitten by Facci, Pat. D207,442 (1967). On their own, both are useful for warmth and style but miss the physical benefits that adding knee coverings accomplishes. The Infant Hand and Knee Covering Combination Pat. D568,546 (2008) by Mehrabani was ornamentally designed to cover babies' tender skin while crawling, but does not activate imaginary role playing and various physical movements in older children.
 Previously, hand and knee covers were used for protection, warmth and style. They have also been used for infants learning to crawl. While pretending to be a family pet during play, parents and children need visually enticing, sensory stimulating cushion for hands and knees. This need has not been met by the seasonally available gloves, mittens and knee pads currently on the market. These items are rarely available simultaneously in stores during the same season. They have also not been combined to simulate the reality of having animal fur in key areas that provide ease in crawling, sliding, or other bodily movements related to this type of imaginary expression. Often, the only knee pads available are the type used for sports. These, such as the Protective Structures for Joints by Corriero, U.S. Pat. No. 4,333,181 (1980) protect knees from impact. However, their rigid shields may scratch wood floors during use. They also lack the simulated reality of having fur. While our combination can be used for protection, warmth and style, multiple advantages exist over the prior art.
 The first advantage of one or more aspects are to activate the imagination through sensory stimulation. The second advantage of one or more aspects are to induce physical activity. The third advantage of one or more aspects are to allow ease in sliding on hard surfaces while providing stability. These and other advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing descriptions and accompanying drawings.
 In one embodiment in which the combination is used during imitation of animals, it is desirable to have ease in sliding the knees over hard surfaces while having a measure of stability and control using the hands. The ease in sliding aspect is achieved through the soft, fibrous texture of the padded sleeves that can be worn comfortably over knees. The measure of stability aspect is achieved through the gripping texture of paw pads integrated on the palm of the hand covers. Other advantages are as follows:  a. While worn, the imagination is engaged through the simulated reality of having fur.  b. With imagination comes an expression through play.  c. The expression includes a variety of physical movements beneficial to health.  d. The ease of slip-on application encourages independence and self care in young children.  e. Use prompts social interaction.  f. Children of different physical capabilities such as walkers and non walkers are drawn together by sharing the common activity of crawling during use.  g. The combination prevents damage to hardwood floors.  h. Use protects skin from friction during active play.  i. Use creates a change in perspective granted by movement from upright, human posture to four legged animal posture.  j. Changes in perspective granted through use promote empathy for animals.  k. Use involves a positive after affect.  l. During a return to the wearers' natural human role, a clearer understanding and appreciation for the identity as a person within society is developed.
 Accordingly, an object of one embodiment is to provide a compelling aid which triggers the imagination by simulating the reality of having animal fur thus inducing a continuously variable exercise. Another object of one embodiment is to provide entertainment and fun to wearers while protecting skin from the effects of friction during play. An additional object of one embodiment is to provide ease in sliding knees over hard or carpeted surfaces while simultaneously providing stability for the hands during activity. Another object of one embodiment is to promote inclusive interaction between persons having various physical capabilities. Briefly stated, still another object of one embodiment is to strengthen the wearer's identity as a person in society.
 FIG. 1A shows a perspective view of the dorsal portion of paw-shaped hand cover as it is donned on the hand according to one embodiment.
 FIG. 1B shows a perspective view of the palm portion of the first embodiment.
 FIG. 2A shows a side view of the knee cover as it is donned on the thigh, calf and knee in a semi flexed position.
 FIG. 2B shows an elevated perspective view of the knee cover in a vertical position.
 FIG. 3 shows a human wearing the combination of hand and knee covers while in a crawling position.
 FIG. 4 shows three separate poses demonstrating a continuously variable set of actions performed by a human wearing the combination of hand and knee coverings.
 FIG. 5 shows a human with limited physical abilities (indicated by the presence of a wheel chair) and a human with average physical abilities engaged in group play while wearing the combination.
 1 Paw-shaped hand covering  2 Palm pad for paw (1)  3 Digit pads for paw (1)  4 Slot in body of paw-shaped covering for allowing thumb (8) and fingers (9) of hand (10)  5 Elastic strip which grips the wrist (11) of the hand (10) to which the paw-shaped hand cover (1) is donned.  6a Stalls for multiple fingers (9) to be donned by hand (10)  6b Stall for thumb (8) to be donned by hand (10)  7 Body for covering hand (10)  8 Thumb  9 Fingers  10 Hand  11 Wrist  12 Knee Covering  13 Body for covering the front side of the knee, thigh, and calf.  14 Calf  15 Thigh  16 Slot in body of knee covering for allowing calf, knee, and thigh to be donned  17 Body for covering behind the knee, thigh and calf  18 Cushion material  19 Seam where front (13) and back (14) of knee cover (12) meet  20 Knee  21a Human  21b Human with different physical ability  21 Wheelchair representing human's (21b) different physical ability
DETAILED DESCRIPTION--FIGS. 1-4 FIRST EMBODIMENT
 We contemplate that features of this embodiment be made of plush but other materials are also suitable. In this embodiment, FIG. 1A shows a paw-shaped hand cover (1) having a texture to simulate animal fur, three wide finger stalls (6a) and one thumb stall (6b). The width of each finger stall accommodates a plurality of fingers. This aspect permits ease in donning the paw-shaped hand cover, particularly for young children who struggle to align and separate fingers while donning a common glove with five narrow stalls.
 FIG. 1A further shows a perspective view of the dorsal portion of the paw-shaped hand cover (1) and how it is donned on the hand (10) of a human (21). A plurality of fingers (9) and thumb (8) are fitted into finger stalls (6a) and thumb stall (6b) via slot (4) while elastic strip (5) grips wrist (11) for a secure fit.
 FIG. 1B shows a perspective view of the palm portion of the paw-shaped hand cover (1) with integrated palm pad (2) and digit pads (3), elastic strip (5) and a slot (4) for donning on the hand (10).
 The dimensions of paw-shaped hand covers are typically but not exclusively as follows: 6'' to 8'' from the tip of the middle finger stall to the wrist, 5'' to 7'' wide from thumb stall to opposite finger stall and 1/8'' to 1'' in thickness.
 Accordingly, one method of assembly of the paw-shaped hand cover proceeds as follows: Elastic strips (5) are wrapped within the bottom edge of the palm and dorsal portions of FIGS. 1A and 1B. Palm pad (2) and digit pads (3) are integrated onto textured side of palm portion. To provide the simulated reality of an animal paw, palm pad (2) is positioned and seamed onto the center of the widest area of the palm portion, while digit pads (3) are positioned and seamed near the tips of finger stalls (6a) and thumb stall (6b). Palm portion of paw-shaped hand cover (1) is mated with dorsal portion of (1) so that the reverse sides of textured fabric face outward. A seam is then sewn around the edge, leaving a slot (4) at the bottom. The paw-shaped hand cover is then turned texture side out.
 FIG. 2A shows a perspective view of the side portion of a knee cover (12) and how it is donned on the thigh (15), knee (20), and calf (14) of a human (21). A body (13) for covering the front or knee cap portion having a texture simulating animal fur is sandwiched on top of cushion material (18) and seamed together with a body (17). The seam (19) connecting textured front side (13) to back (17) is perpendicular to elastic strips (5) which secure the knee covering (12) when donned. FIG. 2A also shows slot (16) representing an opening in which the knee covering (12) is donned on the thigh (15), knee (20), and calf (14).
 The dimensions of knee pads are typically but not exclusively as follows: 7'' to 9'' in length, 51/2'' to 71/2'' in width having a 9'' to 12'' circumference at the top opening and a 7'' to 10'' circumference at the bottom opening.
 FIG. 2B is an elevated perspective view of knee cover (12) in a vertical position. A body (13) having texture comprises front portion of knee cover. Cushion material (18) is sandwiched between textured body (13) and body (17) which we contemplate will be comprised of a stretch knit material although other materials are suitable. The body (17) wraps around the circumference of thigh (15), knee (20), and calf (14). Seams (19) connect textured body (13) to knit body (17). Slot (16) represents an opening for donning on the thigh (15), knee (20), and calf (14) of a human (21).
 Accordingly one method of assembling a knee cover is as follows: Elastic strips 5 are wrapped within the top and bottom edges of body (17) and seamed. The body (13) is sandwiched on top of cushion material (18) and body (17). The body (13) is then seamed on all sides. The resulting composition comprising an elasticized rectangular sheet with padded plush addition is then folded in half so that the longest sides are aligned together with texture side in. The resulting longest open side with mated edges is then seamed. Knee covering (12) is then turned textured side out.
 FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a human (21) donning the combination of paw-shaped hand coverings and knee pads while in a crawling position.
 FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a human (21) donning the combination and demonstrating three movements performed during the continuously variable exercise prompted by imaginary play.
 The manner of using the paw-shaped hand cover and knee pad combination is to apply each component beginning with the knee pads. To apply the knee pads, the wearer uses similar motions needed to apply socks. With a pointed toe, the wearer slides the pad over the feet, continuing to slide the pad up and over the knee. To apply the paw shaped hand covers, the wearer slides fingers, thumb and hand into the slot, directing fingers and thumb into stalls, choosing one stall to accommodate more than one finger.
 Once the hand covers and knee pads are in place, the wearer's senses are triggered through the simulated reality of having fur. This tactile and visual sensory experience activates the wearer's imagination, thereby inducing continually variable physical movements and expressions. These may include, but are not limited to, crawling, sliding, rolling or scampering. During this activity, the advantage of ease in sliding over hard surfaces provided by the soft knee pads is realized. Simultaneously, the advantage of stability provided by the texture of the paw pads on the hand covers is realized. Further, the advantage of protection from friction caused by crawling on hard surfaces or carpet is also realized. These advantages allow the wearer to extend their time spent in imaginative play acting.
 To remove the combination, the wearer begins with the paw-shaped hand covers. These can be shaken off using waving or flapping motions. Alternately, they can be removed in the same manner as one would remove gloves, one at a time while grasping the material at the wrist with the alternate hand. To remove the knee pads, the wearer may grasp the material at two places on either side of the knees and push or pull toward the ankles and slide over feet.
 In the first embodiment, the paw-shaped hand coverings and knee pads may be composed of plush that can be machine or hand washed, allowing for extended use. Additionally, the components may be constructed using repurposed or recycled fabric, adding an eco friendly aspect.
 Once the components of the first embodiment are removed, an after affect occurs. The wearer transitions from imaginative play acting to resume their normal activity as a person within society. With this transition, a deeper understanding of their privileges as a human being occurs. One example is the recognition of extended vision granted from standing upright in contrast to the lower plane of vision allowed during crawling on hands and knees. An additional example is the experience of eating a meal at a table with utensils after crawling on the floor pretending to eat pretend kibble without hands.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION--FIG. 5 SECOND EMBODIMENT
 FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a human (21b) with different physical abilities interacting with a human (21a) with average physical abilities. Both are donning the paw-shaped hand covering and knee pad combinations. The empty wheelchair (22) is a symbol representing the event of physical activity shared equally between persons formerly separated by ability.
Description of Operation of Alternative Embodiments
 In the second embodiment, the combination functions as a bridge between children previously separated by a lack of unifying activities. When used in group play, children who cannot walk can play equally with children who can. This is because imagining, crawling, sliding, rolling or other actions are typical manifestations of play during use.
 Other embodiments are possible in which the hand covers and knee pads simulate aspects of various animals or imaginary creatures. For example, the hand coverings could be made in shapes related to aspects of double-toed chameleons, monkeys, imaginary purple monsters or scaly dinosaurs.
 Thus the reader will see that according to one embodiment we have provided at least one solution to the problem of reducing boredom during exercise while fulfilling the needs described above and succeeding beyond the prior art. Through the texture and form of the components, the wearer is granted the simulated reality of having fur without over heating the body. In the activity of imagining themselves in another role, wearers of the combination perform various physical movements. The soft outer surface of the knee pads allow for ease in sliding on hard surfaces while the hand coverings provide stability. The combination also prevents friction caused by movement over hard surfaces and carpet. Use inspires social interaction through imaginative performances. Entertainment is provided to the wearer and to others through play. Empathy for other beings and a deeper appreciation for being human is an after affect of use. The combination is beneficial in group play for the bridge it creates between children with differences.
 Thus the reader will see that at least one embodiment provides one or more ways to perform physical activity using the imaginative mind. The combination in other embodiments is useful persons of all ages and physical abilities. Use encourages social interaction while entertaining. When removed the combination has an after affect of developing the wearer's identity as a person in society and compassion for other beings. While the above description contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope, but rather as exemplification of one or several embodiments thereof. Many other variations are possible. For example by altering the shape of the hand cover to a frog's webbed foot, another creature or animal is imagined.
 Accordingly, the scope should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated but by the appended claims and their equivalents. The previous is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the embodiments. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the combination to the exact construction and operation shown and described. This is due to the variety of real and imaginary creatures that influence the colors, shape and sizes of each combination. All modifications may be resorted to falling within the scope of the combination as claimed.
Patent applications in class Knee pads or rests
Patent applications in all subclasses Knee pads or rests