single sense materials

Tasting Bottles

Material Description:

Eight little jars with droppers, with pairs of bottles containing various substances with distinct tastes; two contain saline solution, two sweetened lemon juice, two plain lemon juice and two a solution of bitter aloes.  Each set is distinguished from the other by a colour coded top.  Four small glasses and two spoons, a jug and wiping cloth, a tray and some tissues


  • Pour fresh water into the jug
  • Bring the tray containing the items to a chowki and place it on a cloth on the floor


  • Introduction – Contrasting Tastes
  • Set two glasses before yourself and the child and put the spoon in the right glass
  • Ask the child to pour water into all four glasses and wipe the jug
  • Remove both sets of bottles and place them at random in two rows at the right and left of the chowki
  • Bring any bottle, but preferably the sweet one, forward from those on the left to the centre
  • Place it on the chowki and unscrew the dropper
  • Hold the spoon with the left hand and with the right release one or two droplets into the spoon
  • Pour the drops from the spoon onto your tongue, replace the spoon into the glass
  • Sip the water from the right glass to refresh the palate
  • Invite the child to do the same and replace the cap
  • Bring one bottle from the right, until it’s pair is found; if a bottle does not form a pair keep it at the base right corner until a pair is found and then bring the rejected tablets back into circulation
  • Put the pair at the far middle of the table
  • Continue to take bottles in the same manner until another pair is found
  • Put the bottles back into their two sets and mix them, invite the child to try




  1. Pairing the bottles
  2. Pairing the bottles holding the nose




“Salty”, “Sweet”, “Sour” and “Bitter”



Criteria of Perfection (Control of Error):

  • In the child’s ability to differentiate tastes



Direct Aim:

  • To realise that there are only four fundamental tastes
  • To become aware that the olfactory and taste senses are linked, the olfactory strengthens the sense of taste



Age at Presentation:

Three to three and a half years




  1. Substances should be natural, wash the bottles and prepare the flavours daily
  2. Later encourage the child to taste edible fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers, herbs, leaves, food and drink in the kitchen, including sweets and savoury foods from around the world to recognise other tastes, smell them to to encourage awareness of the link between scents and taste.  Describe the look, texture, smells, tastes of the food to build experience and language. (Bitter tastes are the hardest to find sources include; olives, citrus peel, quinine in tonic water herbs include bitter aloes, yarrow, barberry and chamomile, dandelion.)
  3. Change the material regally to maintain interest and give a wider variety.  Use different bottles or clean using bicarbonate of soda or similar to neutralise any smell
  4. Avoid exchanging the lids as the smells and tastes will become contaminated
  5. Rinsing the mouth between tastes provides a control





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