Salty, Sweet, Bitter, and Sour
To realize that there are only four fundamental tastes.
The game develops awareness of the close relationship between taste and smell.
The ability of the child to discriminate taste.
3 – 3 1/2 years
- Two sets of four bottles with droppers, each containing one of the four fundamental tastes:
Salty: salt and water
Sweet: sugar and water
Bitter: tonic water
Sour: lemon and water
- One set has tops with one color and the other set has tops with a different color. (Or a label to distinguish one set from another.) These two sets form pairs.
- Four small glasses of water, two for each person.
- Two spoons, one for each person.
Before beginning the presentation, check the glasses for their cleanliness. If they are not clean, decide whether you want to clean them with the child or before you invite the child. Invite the child to come and work with you. Bring the child to the shelves and show him the tasting bottles. Tell the child that you will be showing him how to use the tasting bottles. Have the child carry the tray to that table, placing it in the upper part of the table.
- Stand in front of the table and take out the four glasses and the two little spoons.
- Place the two spoons on the table and tell the child that you are going to fill up all of the glasses with water.
- You and the child each carry one glass at a time and fill each with water.
- Have the child place the glasses side by side and to the left of the tray.
- Place your two glasses to the right of the tray.
- Place one spoon into each of the glasses closest to the tray.
- Have the child sit down to your left, and then you sit down.
- Take out all of the bottles and line them up in two rows (based on their color or different label).
- Move the tray off to the side.
- Mix one of the lines up, keeping them in a line.
- Bring the first bottle from the left row up near you, thus isolating it from the others.
- Open the bottle and show the child how to use the dropper.
- Drop two drops into your spoon, place the dropper back into the bottle and taste what is in your spoon.
- Replace your spoon into your glass.
- Have the child use his spoon and you drop two drops and allow the child to
- Close the bottle and place it off to the left side of the table.
- You can then take a sip of water from your second glass to clear your palate.
- Taste all of the jars in this same manner, always allowing the child to taste
- Once all of the bottles have been tasted, replace them in a line as they were.
- Isolate the first bottle in front of you and tell the child that you are going to
find that one that tastes just like this one.
- Bring the first bottle from the right line forward.
- Taste the first bottle and then the second bottle. (Rinsing your spoon in between each.)
- If they are not the same, tell the child so, allow the child to taste both, and
place the right bottle to the right of the right line of bottles.
- Bring down the next bottle from the right line.
- Allow the child to taste both, tasting for if they are the same.
- If they are the same, place them side by side in between both of the lines.
- Repeat, guiding the child through the tasting until all of the bottles have been
(Anytime there is a mismatch, encourage the child to take a sip of water.)
- If the child wishes to continue working with the bottles, reline them into their
two lines, mix one of the lines and have the child match as he was shown.
- Once the child is done working with the tasting bottles, show him how to
replace the bottles into two rows (based on their color or label) back onto the
tray. Wash the glasses, spoons and cups with the child. (You each clean your
Matching to food in the environment