Wake Up Taste Buds is an exciting game for the children to explore their senses. By eliminating their sense of sight, they must utilise their other senses to determine what food they are trying. As they need to rely on their peers or Educators to feed them this is also a great exercise in trust!

The Science

Seventy to seventy-five percent of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell. Taste buds allow us to perceive only bitter, salty, sweet and sour flavours. It’s the odour molecules from food that give us most of our taste sensation. There is also some research that states losing one sense can enhance another, hence using the blindfold in this activity.

Suggested Resources

Blindfolds, scarves, different foods and liquids (such as: sugar, salt, ice cream, honey, orange, banana, lemon juice, crackers, sultanas, chocolate, milk, vinegar), containers, straws, spoons and drinking water.

Experience

When choosing the foods and liquids for this experiment select a variety of sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavours. Also, try to select different textures; granules, solids, liquids, smooth and rough. Most importantly, remember to take into consideration the food allergies of children in the service.

With the children, collect and prepare all the different foods that they are going to use. Multiple spoons will need to be available for testing the food to prevent cross contamination. To test the liquids, use straws as droppers. This can be done as the children place the straw in the liquid and position their thumb over the top of it to trap a drop or two of the liquid.

In small groups or pairs, put a blind fold on one or two children, these are the testers. The others will be the feeders, their role is to place one item at a time on the child’s tongue. The testers will need to try and guess what the food is. They can use their sense of smell and taste to help them figure it out.

Try this again but ask the blindfolded child to pinch their nose as the food is being placed on their tongue. Could they tell what it is?

Potential Extension: With the use of a mirror, look at your taste buds and explore tongue movements.

Questions for Exploration

Once all the willing participants have done the taste tests, relfect on this experience as a group. You could discuss the following questions and record their responses:
1. How did you feel when you were blindfolded?
2. Which foods did you like and dislike?
3. What happened when you pinched your nose during the taste test?

Ideas for Reflection

How did you ensure the children’s health and safety?
How did the children build trust while wearing the blindfold?

Possible Framework Links

Identity Take considered risk in their decision-making and cope with the unexpected: This experience encourages the children to take considered risks. The children have the choice whether or not to take on the role of the food tester. They are aware of how it will be undertaken and what foods they will eat. They can then weigh up their feelings on this matter to make their decision. As the tasters are blindfolded, they will not know what food they will be given next, some children may nd this exciting, overwhelming, scary or nerve racking.

1.2. Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency

Wellbing Understand different ways of contributing through play and projects: In Wake Up Taste Buds there a variety of ways the children can contribute to the experience. They can participate by; choosing the ingredients, setting up the area, being the feeder, volunteering to be the taster, sharing their thoughts and experiences and listening to the discussion.

2.1. Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation

Community Use their sensory capabilities and dispositions with increasing integration, skill and purpose to explore and respond to their world: This experience encourages the children to use their sense of taste, smell (initially) and touch as they can feel the textures of the food with their tongues. Through their senses and cognitive skills (e.g. memory recall, problem solving, process of elimination) the children can aim to determine which food they believe they have tasted.

3.2. Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing

Communication Experience the bene ts and pleasures of shared learning exploration: As the children explore this experience they can share humour with one another as their reactions to some of the foods and liquids may be funny. The children can also celebrate any successes of correctly guessing the food they tasted. The children can also help each other to put on the blindfold, suck up the liquids with the straws and feed one another with spoons

4.4. Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials

Learning Recognise and engage with written and oral culturally constructed texts: Through the discussion portion of this experience the children’s responses are recorded for their viewing. This could help notice (via listening or visually) some similarities and differences amongst their peers. Also, by watching the Educator scribe their responses they can realise that text has meaning.

5.2. Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts

Build on the child’s experience by personalising it based on foods they like and dislike. If you enjoyed this learning experience, and are looking for inspiration to include more “Sensory Play” based learning in your service, find out more by requesting a demo.

“The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide his explorations of the world, they cast a light upon it which makes visible to him more things in greater detail than he could see in the dark, or uneducated state.”

~Maria Montessori,
The Absorbent Mind

Did you know you can view many more learning experiences relating to Sensory Play on Tot Tok? To learn more, Request a demo



Centre DirectorEducator

Samantha Kyretses

Author Samantha Kyretses

Samantha is an Early Childhood Education author and creates inspiring resources to assist Early Childhood Educators to incorporate the Early Years Learning Framework into their programs and practices.

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