activity: using your senses to experience food

Have you ever been to a wine tasting? It’s quite the experience.

There are a lot of steps that go into tasting a wine. It’s not just taking a sip to see what it tastes like. It’s about the anticipation and calling upon all your senses to fully experience all the wine hast to offer. Food can be enjoyed in the same way.

Choose 4 foods. The first 3 should be foods that your child is already familiar with. Make the 4th food one that your child has never tasted before. Go through the following procedure with each of the food selections

Talk about where the food came from. At a wine tasting the sommelier (wine expert) will describe the region the grapes were grown in, the soil conditions, and maybe even stories about the vineyard, winery, or winemaker. If you chose a banana as one of your food selections you could talk about how bananas are grown in hot, tropical locations on banana trees. This step uses thoughts and knowledge to experience the food.

Look at the food: At a wine tasting, the sommelier will ask the participants to look at the wine. They’ll talk about the colour, the opacity, and whether the wine has “legs” when swirled, which indicates alcohol content. Discuss the food’s appearance.

  • What colour is it?
  • What shape is it in?
  • What texture does it have?
  • Is it liquid or solid?

This step uses vision and touch to experience the food.

Smell the food: At a wine tasting, the sommelier will direct the participants to swirl the wine, smell it, and describe the scent. There are many ways to describe a scent. You can use adjectives or compare it to another food or beverage. Get your kids to smell the food and describe it. You may need to alter the food to get the full scent. In the case of the banana, you may want to peel it. Or you can smell it before and after you peel it.

Here are some adjectives to describe scents:

  • Earthy
  • Musty
  • Floral
  • Fruity
  • Sour
  • Sweet
  • Spicy
  • Sharp
  • Pungent
  • Rotten
  • Rancid
  • Minty
  • Fresh
  • Light
  • Woodsy
  • Tart
  • Soapy

This step uses scent to experience the food

Taste the food: At a wine tasting, the sommelier will direct the participants to take a small sip and move the wine around the mouth before swallowing. Instruct your children to do the same with the food. Take a small piece and chew slowly, allowing the food to move around in the mouth before swallowing. This allows the individual to experience the complexity of the flavours.

Describe the taste:






Did the flavour change over time in the mouth? Did the flavour in your mouth change after you swallowed? This is known as an aftertaste.

This step uses taste to experience the food.


This process really awakens the senses and allows a person to realize how complex experiencing a food can be!