The other night G and C asked for a taste test! This is a game that we play every so often, originating from a group that I frequently run. This weekly group has a fun activity paired with learning about each sense. The taste week is always a fan favorite! We have done this so many times at our house that we decided to make it really tricky this time… in between things that we knew they would recognize (starburst, kit kat), we included something bitter – a drop of coffee, something salty – salted snap pea crisps, and something sour – a not quite ripe blueberry. Their faces were priceless!
We play the game by having them close their eyes. In groups that are not comfortable with closing their eyes, I place the food item into a small paper cup with a napkin over it. I then tell the participants to pour the item into their mouth, without looking or touching. For G and C, we put the food item in their mouth, so they are not using the sense of touch as a way of identification. We ask them to move the food item around, notice the shape, texture, temperature, etc. before biting. I often provide a sheet to check off descriptive words for each taste test item. After the item has been explored, then they can take a bite. Just one, and notice again. Then they can write down a guess. G and C took turns sharing their guesses aloud. Even if they cannot recall the name of the item, they are pretty good at providing descriptive words – – like – – “crunchy and chewy”, “sour”, “kind of like a cucumber” “oh, oh, a PICKLE!”
On top of it being really fun to see their faces, this is a great game for many reasons.
- Learning about the senses is an important way to understand your surroundings and yourself. Practicing in a hands-on way enhances processing, learning, and comprehension.
- Using the senses is a great way to practice mindfulness. For each piece of food, taking the time to notice its qualities helps with staying focused on the present moment. Some of the really strong sensations – bitter, sour, spicy – can actually be used for grounding and bringing one back to the current moment. A taste test is a way to find out which sensations might do this for your participant.
- Foods definitely provide the sensation of taste, but also offer touch and oral motor! Putting something in your mouth that you can suck or need to spend some time chewing or crunching can be soothing. Sucking, chewing and crunching involve exercise for your mouth or PROPRIOCEPTIVE input!
Here are some of my favorite foods and types of foods to include in a taste test:
Jelly Belly beans – so many flavors, they really make you think!
Hershey kisses – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate – same textures and shape so you really have to hone in on the flavor
something salty, something bitter, something sweet, something sour – this way you can talk about the taste buds
a hard candy like a hot ball, or chewy item like a Twizzler. These take a some time to finish and can give you an opportunity to talk about how these types of food items can be regulating tools.
and with a group that trusts you – something that will bring out this face 😉
Other things to consider and prepare for;
- allergies and food sensitivities
- food as a memory trigger, bringing out positive or negative emotions
This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.