Teaching Children to Identify Different Tastes

Some children might find it difficult to express what they like and don’t like to eat, making it even harder for parents to operate a smooth meal-time. As a parent, you need to arm yourself first with some basic information about taste, and then move on to find out which tastes appeal more to your child.

  1. There are 4 basic taste categories that your child can be taught to identify.
  2. The 4 categories are: sweet, salty, sour, bitter.
  3. By age 2, children can easily identify sweet and salty.
  4. By age 4, you can introduce sour and bitter.

Let’s Play a Game of Taste-Testing!

Taste testing can help children link the 4 basic tastes to various foods, it can also introduce them to a wider variety of foods.

  1. Choose which foods you will present your child for the taste test first, here is a general guide, but you can add your own touches:
    Salty: salted cracker, pretzels, salted butter.
    Sweet: honey, banana, mango, grapes or any other ripened fruits.
    Sour: slice of lemon
    Bitter: baking chocolate, mustard
  2. You can use an ice-cube tray to put small portions of different foods in each cube. Or you can use small plates.
  3. Your kids will enjoy turning this into a game, so perhaps use a blind fold or ask them to close their eyes, then have them pick up a piece of food.
  4. Encourage them to smell it first as smell is closely related to taste.
  5. As your child is chewing slowly, encourage them to explain what they’re feeling and identify the taste to them so that it registers mentally.
  6. Make sure your child drinks a few gulps of water between tastes.

Becoming More Adventurous Eaters

Taste tests are not just a fun activity, but they are a great way to get your kids out of their comfort-zone when it comes to food. You can get creative with the kinds of foods you present them in a taste-test, from cheese to pickles, olives, Jello, celery, and more!

You can even turn lunch time into a taste test with larger portions and a wider variety of foods!