Tasting parties are a fun way to expand a child's food experiences and to reinforce verbal skills. They also assist the child in developing problem-solving skills. To conduct a tasting party, the parent-teacher selects a variety of foods, both familiar and new. Care should be taken to select foods that have varying qualities and flavors. Variety is key! Generally, it is best to stick to sliced, whole foods rather than mixtures and blends. To participate, the child is blind-folded and then given a food to taste. From their bite of food, they guess what it is and then use as many ADJECTIVES as they can to describe it. Have them describe flavors and textures. It is fun for them to rate each food on a scale of 1 - 10. The teacher-parent can place the items in order (or make a list) so that the child can see and evaluate how they rated the food tasted after the tasting party. They might be surprised which food(s) they liked best!
Here are words that the teacher-parent can use to guide the child with their descriptions:
- Flavor: tart, bitter, spicy, bland, sweet, salty, mild, tangy, blend, mellow, sour
- Texture: mealy, smooth, tender, crisp, rough, wet, stiff, hard, lumpy, tough, stringy, dry, compressed, mushy, soft, creamy, firm, crunchy, moist, granular, sticky
- Mixtures: batter, dough, sauce, gel