Senses Exploration: Taste

Oh the many ways we can explore our sense of TASTE!

Outdoor – Since I love integrating nature into my teaching with young children, I always include an outdoor learning activity into my curriculum. For our sense of taste, I asked my children,  “What are some things that we find outdoors that have flavors?” And even in the middle of winter in Vermont, my two children and I went on a walk in the yard and woods around our home and found several things that we could taste.

Research – We began our discussion about our sense of taste. What part of our body helps us taste? We looked in a resource book to see that our tongue we have taste buds and found that different foods have different flavors – salty, sweet, sour, & bitter. My children were interested to learn that our tongue has different areas that taste these different flavors.

Active Game: Play “Simon Says Flavor Game” If you like the flavor of — jump up and down. If you don’t like the flavor cross your arms. (No on gets out- it’s more just a survey of what kids think they like and dislike.)

ArtPizza Pies – children paint a paper plate with red colored glue and then sprinkle on a variety of herbs and spices. This was the first time we made these and the garlic salt made the whole room smell like a pizza shop! YUM!

Math Activity: Apple Jacks Pattern Necklaces – Tape one end of a piece of yarn to the table and wrap the other end so it’s easier to thread. Provide each child with a measured amount of cereal, which they can finish their necklace with or TASTE. I added a photocopy of a tongue about mid-way of their threading. The kids thought the tongues were really silly – next year I would like to draw on a picture to go with the flavor word!

Science Center: Tongue Mapping – I read about a family doing a tongue mapping activity and thought I would give it a go at preschool. Not all the kids got the idea that they were to touch a specific part of their tongue but they all enjoyed trying out a variety to flavors.  Each child got their own tray: salty= salt, sweet = sugar, sour = lemon, bitter = unsweetened cocoa. I planned on giving a fresh q-tip for each flavor but the kids just started dipping away! If I do this again, I would do it in small groups instead of all together! See the link at the end of this post for the printable to use with this activity.

Dramatic Play – kitchen set up with a large variety of foods!

Water Table – plastic foods to wash in water table along with a variety of spoons, cups, strainers, scoops, etc.

Sensory Table– beans, various cups, funnels, spoons, etc.

Writing Center – provide grocery store circulars and food magazines for kids to cut. Encourage them to glue pictures of foods that they like the taste of to a paper plate.

Closing Circle– “What is something you learned about TASTE today?” Pass around the Surprise Box with a fresh orange inside!

Books for the sense of taste:

Food Alphabet by David Drew

Green Eggs and Ham  by Dr. Seuss

Mouths Are For Smiling: The Sense of Taste  by Katherine Hengel

Tasting (The Five Senses) by Rebecca Rissman

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

What Do I Taste? by Annie Kubler

Yoko by Rosemary Wells (great message about diversity through food)

You Can’t Taste a Pickle with Your Ear by Harriet Ziefert



Other Taste Test Ideas for future lessons:

Taste bud Taste Test: salty – pretzels, sweet – honey, sour- lemon, bitter- unsweetened cocoa. Talk about which of the foods they like the best.

Tasting Party – have each child bring in a food to share. Serve small portions of each food. (The teacher could assign foods instead so a wider variety of foods would be sampled.) Suggest that families bring a food that is sweet, salty or sour such as fruits, vegetables, pickles, crackers, flavored cereal, etc. Children could sort them by taste or by texture (soft, chewy, crispy). Graph foods that the children liked the most.
“Bring two foods that look similar but taste very different (orange and lemon, sugar and salt, yogurt and sour cream, etc.) Put them in plates next to each other. Let your children use their 5 senses to try to determine which is which. Asked the children to describe how the substances smell, feel, look, sound (as you gently shake the plate) and finally taste.” idea from

3 different clear liquids – sweet sugar water, salty salt water, and sour lemon juice!

Popcorn Varieties: Make three types of popcorn – one with brown sugar, one with salt, and one with lemon. The children taste each of the popcorn flavors and decide which their favorite is. Make a chart to show which is the favorite flavor.

On-line resources & ideas for teaching about TASTE:

The tongue mapping activity here –


Check out my pinterest board for more 5 senses activities!



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