Developing Your Child's Taste Buds

At a recent faculty retreat one of my colleagues was cheerfully talking about her weekends over the summer spent with nieces and nephews.  One of the fun activities she set up was food taste tests. – a clever and loving way to develop a child’s palate.

Sometimes she would set out 4 or 5 different kinds of cheeses.  Not only would they get to vote on which was their favorite, but the children would be queried as to “how does this taste different than that?”, encouraging the children to describe the subtleties. Brilliant!  Her lucky young relatives tried various kinds of chocolate and who knows what else.

Types of apples?  Pickles?  Herbal teas.  Do you like your carrots baked, roasted or blanched?  How about 3 different varieties of winter squash. The game keeps food in the realm of joy and exploration.  There are no right or wrong answers.  No shoulds or ought tos.  Sounds fun, right?  I want taste test in June’s kitchen.  How about you?

psst: (for more ideas on developing a wider food palate in children, watch our video offering ideas for parents of picky eaters)

7 thoughts on “Developing Your Child's Taste Buds

  1. I love this idea!!! One could go simple with little ones (or picky eaters) or get extravagant with the adventurous ones.

    I am sooo using this idea with my school-age kids! Fall fruit and veg taste test! LOVE IT!

    Thanks for keeping the good stuff flowing!

  2. When my son was a baby and I was desperate for activities with a constantly-in-the-sling-baby, I used to have “smell tests” with spices. I’d get them all out, and put them in front of his nose to sniff one at a time. He loved it! We actually did it almost weekly. As he got older he started tasting the spices, and loved that too (then it became quite a messy activity).

    He is 41/2 now and can identify several herbs and spices that he likes a lot (cumin, caraway, basil etc).

    I love the idea of discriminating between varieties within a food type, and cooking methods; will definitely try it!

  3. Such a simple idea but getting kids involved means they’ll be more likely to eat different and healthy foods. Great! Thank you!

  4. We do this with apples at the preschool I teach at and make a chart of the everyone’s favorite to look at in class. It is even more fun with a group!

  5. I. Love. This. Idea. Thank you so much. My Montana nephews have … stagnant … taste buds. This is perfect for the next time I visit.

  6. My son’s French teacher did this with cheeses and it was awesome! We’d have sliced baguette, apple slices and grapes, and about 5 cheeses and the kids would vote and rank them with smiley-to-sad faces on the white board. Wonderful! I’d love to do this with my preschool class! It hurts my heart to see how they turn up their noses at fresh fruit and veggies and want Goldfish crackers and gummy fruit!

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