This week was the last lesson of the term. I always try to make the last lesson slightly unique and different. So, this week, we did a taste test… with a twist!
Have you ever tried to draw a taste? Not draw the item that you are tasting, but rather the actual taste itself. So, for example, if you tasted some chilli flakes, you might draw a volcano or if you taste a peppermint, you might draw a snowflake. This is what we tried out in the classes this week.
We chatted about the 5 main tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (savoury). Each child received a sheet with 8 blocks to draw and rate each taste. They could choose the order in which they decided to taste the items on offer. We turned it into a bit of a mindful eating meditation in that there was quiet and simply rang the tingsha bells when they needed to choose a new flavour. Wow – what a fun experience!
And the comments afterwards were great. One little girl expressed: “I didn’t know tomatoes tasted like this” and her drawing was of a rainbow. Hopefully she will eat more tomatoes! It was also interesting how varied everyone’s tastes are. So, some children loved the kiwifruit and rated it as their favourite flavour while others had some very strong views of disgust around the taste of a kiwifruit.
Trying new flavours is not always easy for children, especially those with a limited range of “liked” tastes or children with sensory challenges. But a mindfulness taste test is a fun and safe way to encourage children to try new flavours. If a child feels very weary, I often suggest that they simply smell the food. Some then go on to lick it, while others will be brave enough to taste it. And then the fun part begins – they get to draw the taste! With much enthusiasm they will show you through their drawing how much they liked (or disliked!) the flavour. There is no pressure on the child to enjoy the flavour but often they are pleasantly surprised that they actually do enjoy it.
So, a lovely, fun class to end off another great term of mindfulness.