Preschoolers really enjoy learning about the five senses as it is so hands-on and sensory based. Teaching about the sense of taste is always one of my favorite pieces to this theme because it challenges students to explore and try new tastes. One activity we did, I call “What Flavor is It?” and it was a huge hit with my preschoolers.
The purpose of this activity was to share with the students a variety of flavors, (albeit not natural), and encourage the students to distinguish the different flavors from one another.
Instead of using real fruits and vegetables, I chose to use Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (affiliate). They are my favorite because their flavors are so intense and distinctive, so they work well for this activity.
The activity itself is so simple that beyond purchasing some jelly beans it requires literally no preparation. After snack time, where I had read a few books to the students about our sense of taste, I invited my students to enjoy some different flavors of jelly beans. With washed hands, we quickly sorted the beans by color (which also happened to be their flavor), and then I offered the jelly beans to the students one bean at a time, each student getting the same flavor.
I, of course, encouraged the students to use their words to describe what they were tasting. Some students knew right away they were tasting orange, or bubble gum, or sour apple. Cinnamon and black licorice were the least favorites and the most difficult to describe. Other flavors, like toasted marshmallow, were not named by the flavor, but readily described by what the students did know about it. For example, the students didn’t know the flavor was toasted marshmallow, but said things like, “It tastes like cookies!” or “It tastes like frosting!” I accepted any attempt to describe the flavors.
Once the tasting was over, I led the students in a question/discussion of what they thought about the jelly beans. The discussion began with the students sharing how much they like candy, but I guided them into talking about different flavors, and then our talk morphed into the students sharing what their favorite foods were. I ended the lesson with one more book about the sense of taste.
Books we read
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction