Yesterday I finally had my Aussie Taste-Test. Originally scheduled to be an Australia Party for Australia Day (January 26), then rescheduled due to snow for February 17, and then cancelled completely because of my car accident, this program was a long time coming.
In the early planning stages of the original January 26th program, I ordered a massive quantity of Australian goodies from Aussie Food Shop online. (Shipping was a lot of money). Then the program got cancelled twice and, when I came back to work after my time out on disability, I found the box of uneaten goodies under my desk, begging to be used. So we ditched the program's original name (Australia Day Party), renamed it Aussie Taste-Test (maybe due to me being superstitious, maybe not. Does it matter?) and stuck it in the schedule for August! And it really happened!
Here's the spread (pardon the wonky iPhone panorama alignment):
* Tim Tams (original flavor)
* Tim Tams (caramel flavor)
* Vegemite (served on butter crackers)
* Shapes (Barbecue flavor)
* Shapes (Pizza flavor)
* Shapes (Cheddar flavor)
* Shapes (Cheese & Bacon flavor)
I set all the snacks out on plates with serving utensils, voting sheets, and crayons (as seen above). Then, when the kids came in the room, I had each one take a small plate and a water bottle. Then I split them into two groups. One group came with me starting at the end with Chicos and one group went with our clerk, Mary, starting with the Original flavor Tim Tams. We all made our way around the table, tasting and voting.
The voting sheets had a happy face, neutral face, and sad face, as seen below (left). There was one for each item. As they sampled each snack, I had each kid place a check in the appropriate column. Since I had anticipated a lot of ☺s overall, I also made the favorites voting handout below (right), so a true winner could be scientifically determined:
Caramel Tim Tams: 12 like, 0 neutral, 0 dislike
Barbeque Shapes: 7 like, 4 neutral, 1 dislike
Pizza Shapes: 8 like, 1 neutral, 3 dislike
Cheddar Shapes: 8 like, 3 neutral, 1 dislike
Cheese & Bacon Shapes: 7 like, 4 neutral, 1 dislike
Jaffas: 7 like, 4 neutral, 1 dislike
Vegemite: 1 like, 3 neutral, 8 dislike
Clinkers: 8 like, 3 neutral, 1 dislike
Chicos: 7 like, 4 neutral, 1 dislike
And the overall favorite Aussie snack, according to second voting handout:
Tim Tams! Both flavors were tied for first (and some kids circled both). Is anyone surprised? They're delicious. For those wondering, second place went to Clinkers and third place went to Cheese & Bacon Shapes.
At the end of the hour, as the parents came in to retrieve their kids, many of them also sampled the array of Australian goodies. It was exciting to have adults sample and evaluate things too. A few brave parents even tried the Vegemite--and most liked it!
Overall, this was such a fun program. It's even inspired me to make our entire Winter Reading Club (I know, I know) theme travel so we can end with a massive taste-test of snacks from all different countries! I mean... it's nice to have one measly thing to look forward to in the winter, you know?
What worked best: Guess The Aussie Lingo, the Kids React video, and the Tim Tams. It's a 3-way tie.
What worked least: The boomerangs were fine and I'm still glad that I included them, but they didn't excite the kids the same way the other stuff did. Some of the kids didn't understand what the boomerang was and I wasn't a great explainer. If I were ever to do this again, I would show them a YouTube video about boomerangs first so they'd understand what they were decorating. Even without it though, the kids had fun decorating something--anything, and they all left happy!