GRAND RAPIDS –  The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum will share its popular Corporate Recess program at Thursday’s sold-out TEDxGrandRapids, showing how free play spurs innovation.

The theme of this year’s TEDxGrandRapids is “Tag – You’re It,” what organizers call  “our playful way of inviting you to get in the game, make new connections, and be a catalyst in your community.”

TEDxGrandRapids, to be held Thursday, May 9 at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, will offer the usual TEDx presentations — “ideas worth spreading” — with speakers sparking deep discussion and connection between attendees.

And the children’s museum will also offer three “recess” breaks for play during the event, at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

“We are facilitating three Corporate Recess breaks during the day, doing what we do best for TEDx participants,” said Robert Dean, the museum’s executive director. “We will also be bringing over our Imagination Playground pieces and doing a group art mural project so participants can personally experience the critical thinking, behavioral, and interpersonal skills free play develops.”

Research shows more unorganized play leads to:
•   Stronger communities, stronger teams and better communications.
•   More problem solving, innovative thinking, organization skills and creativity.
•   Improved curiosity, resiliency and healthy social, cognitive and emotional development while play deprivation leads to mental health challenges.

More about the museum at

TED — an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design — was founded in 1984 as a single event in Monterey, Calif. The early emphasis was on Silicon Valley technology and its social impact, along with modern design. (The first presentations included demos of that then-novel medium, the compact disc, and the first Apple Macintosh.) Today, TEDx events are held in cities around the world, addressing a wide variety of topics in technology and culture. More than 1,400 TED talks are available free online at


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