With the Kids

Exploring Our 5 Senses: Taste

We’re continuing with our Exploring Our 5 Senses series and today it’s all about taste! When my girls were small, I started setting up simple taste tests to encourage them to try new foods and flavors. Since taste tests are more about experimentation and fun, and they aren’t tied to meal time, my girls always seemed more willing to try something unfamiliar or different. All in the name of science!

Vanilla Ice Cream Taste Test

What Foods and Flavors Do You Taste?

I’m going to share two of our recent taste tests below, plus a handful more ideas to get your wheels turning. First, here are a few handy taste test tips:

  • Small pieces and a pretty presentation make the food more appealing to young tasters.
  • Make things official with secret ballots or food report cards. (This doesn’t have to be complicated! A little fill-in-the-blank on an index card works just fine.)
  • Mystery taste tests (eyes closed) require a lot of trust, so we always promised to do familiar, well-liked foods for that type of activity.

Taste Test #1: Strawberries 3 Ways

Strawberry taste test for kids

This one would be perfect for Valentine’s Day! We sampled fresh, dried, and freeze-dried strawberries, comparing their sweetness, texture, and flavor. You could do this taste test with apples, too.

Taste Test #2: Vanilla Ice Cream Blind Taste Test

Vanilla ice cream taste test for kids

Okay, no one needed convincing to join in this taste test! We bought three different brands of vanilla ice cream and I prepared the sample scoops in secret. The whole family tasted each one, and discussed creaminess, sweetness, and strength of vanilla flavor. Then, everyone voted for a favorite. We were pretty much split among the three brands we tried. Yum!

Even more taste test ideas:

  • Sample different kinds of bread, such as sourdough, rye, naan, brioche, and ciabatta.
  • Taste a variety of cheeses. Keep it simple for less-adventurous eaters (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, mozzarella) or try feta, blue cheese, or Brie.
  • Gather foods for a single-color taste test. For example, a green taste test might include kiwi, green grapes, pesto, cucumber, basil, and avocado.
  • Take a trip to the grocery store and have each person choose a new food to try. The produce department and ethnic food aisles are a great place to start.
  • Try a vegetable three ways – raw, steamed, and roasted. This works great with carrots, broccoli, or zucchini.

Set-up a taste test at home, and you might be surprised at all the foods your kids will try. Have fun!

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