Explore with your senses: Taste
Are you ready for some deliciously entertaining activities? That’s perfect, ‘cause we’re exploring with our taste! We’ve already looked into the fun ways we can play with and test our senses of sight, sound, smell and touch. If you missed them, check them out here!
We’re concluding our journey through the senses with the super sense of taste. Our sense of taste is amazing! We experience so many different tastes daily – whether it’s the sweet taste of a morning cuppa or bedtime hot chocolate, the savoury taste of the snacks fuelling our expedition or, of course, the taste of victory after unearthing the hidden treasure! We use our sense of taste all the time, and it’s even linked to our sense of smell!
But there’s more to our sense of taste than we realise, and more ways we can play with it and test it out for fun! Check out our fun facts and sensory activities that will help you explore your sense of taste.
Sensational facts about taste
There are lots of cool things you may not know about your sense of taste or your mouth.
- Have you ever seen a diagram of a tongue with different sections marked as sweet or salty? It’s wrong! Any taste bud can perceive any taste. You have taste buds on the roof of your mouth, inside your cheeks and in your throat too.
- Whether or not you like the taste of coriander may be linked to your genetics. Some people have a variant in one of their genes that is super sensitive to aldehyde chemicals, which are found in coriander. It makes the herb taste like soap!
- Everyone has a varied number of taste buds, which is why things taste different to each person. You might have anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000, while some people have even more!
- Have you ever had a sip of juice after brushing your teeth or eating a particular meal and noticed it tastes weird? You can actually tweak your taste buds by mixing different foods with certain chemicals. One of the chemicals in toothpaste suppresses your sweetness receptors, as does a compound in artichokes.
- Your sense of taste and smell are linked. If you can’t smell very well due to a nasty cold, you’ll find that your sense of taste is dampened too.
But what about taste in the rest of nature?
Not all animals can taste in the same way humans do – some have much better taste receptors, while others can barely taste at all!
- Catfish have more than 100,000 taste buds – that’s more than 10 times as many as humans have – and some larger catfish have up to 175,000! They have taste buds all over their bodies, but mainly on their mouth and whiskers, and can taste when food is nearby, which helps them hunt.
- At the other end of the scale, chickens only have 24-30 taste buds.
- Several animals can’t taste sweet foods, including cats – domestic or wild, like lions and tigers – and dolphins.
Explore with taste at home
There are tonnes of ways that you can explore with your sense of taste at home. Try these activities out!
Activity #01: Make a meal out of it!
We all have our favourite foods, our favourite tastes – how can we not when chocolate tastes so good?! But how often do you really take your time while eating, savouring every delicious bite or spoonful?
Take the time to truly treasure those tastes by selecting some of your favourite bite-sized goodies and making them last for at least one minute when you eat them. How does it taste – is it sweet, salty, sour? Is it super juicy and ‘popping’ in your mouth? Does it bring back any memories or trigger certain emotions?
Not only will this reaffirm your appreciation for your favourite tasty treats, but it will also help to remind you to take your time during mealtimes to truly savour the flavour.
Activity #02: That tastes like…
Now that you’re a pro at savouring the flavours of your favourite goodies, it’s time to kick it up a notch!
Take it in turns to choose three mystery foods and make sure the portions are either bite-sized or fit on a spoon. Then, have the other sensory explorers put blindfolds on and feed them the foods one by one for a taste test! Have them each describe the food they’re tasting – the types of flavours, the textures and whether they like it – before guessing what it is.
CAUTION: You’ll need to have an adult sensory explorer check that all of the foods are suitable for eating before you hold the blindfold tests. Please be aware of allergies, disliked foods and choking hazards.
Activity #03: Cook up a storm!
Grab your chef's hats and aprons – it’s time to get cooking! Challenge your fellow sensory explorers to a cook-off by picking five ingredients from the cupboards and fridge that they have to use to create a dish for you all to eat.
The five ingredients must include one carbohydrate (pasta, rice, grain, bread or potato), one vegetable and one item from the herbs and spices rack. The other two ingredients are your choice. Score their creation out of 10 for taste and presentation since we eat with our eyes too!
CAUTION: You’ll need to have an adult sensory explorer to help with the cooking by making sure the ingredients are suitable for eating and that everyone is safe around the knives, oven and stovetop. Please be aware of allergies, disliked foods and choking hazards.
What a puzzling sense…taste!
For taste, we’re tantalising your taste buds by tasking you with recreating the perfect sandwich! There are certainly some interesting taste combinations going on. Your job is to solve the recipe riddle to work out where the fillings go! Solve the just-for-fun puzzle, then find the answers below. Good luck!
Make ’em laugh!
Examine morsels of evidence on a Treasure Trail!
Now that you’ve challenged yourselves to some fun sensory activities, it’s time to test your sense of taste on a Trail adventure! Use it enjoy sipping a drink as you blend in with the crowds on a spy mission, savour that tasty snack to keep you fuelled on a stake-out and see if you can taste that gold as you bite down on it to see if it’s real at the end of your treasure hunt.
But, while you’re out and about, try to stay conscious of all the different ways you could use the sense and knowledge of taste in your surroundings. Has the vile villain been here to plot their crime using that inedible plant? Will that water keep you refreshed during a perilous quest? Definitely not – it’s seawater! – but luckily, there’s a snack shop around the corner. Wait… what’s that lingering in the air? The taste of victory, of course – you cracked the code and saved the day!
Wow – you really are sensory explorers now!
Our journey through the senses may be over, but you can still go back and test out your skills as a qualified sensory explorer. Follow this link to keep exploring the five senses.
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