Thursday, June 9, 2016

Taste Test Challenge

Taste Test Challenge! This is probably the most "me" program ever to exist (I love tasting things; I love socially eating; and I love guessing games), but to be perfectly honest, I stole the idea from another library (Thanks Patchogue-Medford)! When I saw it, I knew it was for me.

I had fun shopping and prepping for this program. The idea was that I would put out unmarked samples of snacks and see if the kids could "put their palette to the test" to determine the difference between brands...all coming to a crest with samples from three local pizzerias.

Here is my complete list of samples:

Tasting # 1
Cheez-Its vs Cheese Nips

Tasting # 2
Bachman Pretzels vs Utz Pretzels

Tasting # 3
Ruffles vs Wise Ridgies

Tasting # 4
Fruit Punch Powerade vs Fruit Punch Gatorade

Tasting # 5
Chips Ahoy vs Chips Deluxe

Tasting # 6
Coke vs Pepsi

Tasting # 7
7up vs  Sierra Mist

Tasting #8
Wildberry Seltzer vs Lime Seltzer vs Orange Seltzer

Tasting # 9
Rosa’s Pizza vs  Gino’s Pizza vs Little Vincent’s Pizza

I had each kid take their own voting sheet and walk around the room quietly, tasting the samples and checking off which snack they thought was which. You can view and/or download my full voting sheet here!

Then, when all the kids (err, well most of the kids at least) were done tasting and voting, instead of revealing the answers, I built up suspense by playing another game with them: What Candy Bar Am I? This game was very generously sent to me from Jenna at the Peapack & Gladstone branch of the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey.

The game was in the format of a simple Power Point presentation. It showed 11 candy bar cross-sections and the kids had to guess what they were. I ran through the presentation, having the kids mark off their guesses on the form, then I revealed the answers. I thought it'd be a quick game but it was longish and the kids really liked it! Another thing the kids really liked: Making shadow puppets in front of the projector. 

Then, it was time for the big answer reveal. As I went down the line of snacks, the kids marked off their own papers. I asked them to raise their hands to show what they guessed and everyone was pretty loud about it. It was fun and I don't know, at least for me, it was kind of exciting! I liked seeing how they all did.

At the end of the program, my coworker and I gave each other the taste test and honestly, I did just really really badly. I was surprised how difficult it was! Especially with the seltzer flavors. So hard! 

What worked least: I tried really hard to keep this 100% sanitary with every sample portioned out (by a gloved hand) in a little cup, but some of the kids didn't get how the little cups worked. For example, I saw someone take a Cheez-It from a cup and then leave the other Cheez-It in the same cup and walk away. I kept saying, "Take the whole cup and then hold onto it or throw it out." KEPT SAYING IT. But I don't know. Ya can't see everything, you know? I guess maybe this is just par for the course with kids and food.

What worked best: The whole program was super fun! I loved how enthusiastic all the kids were when I revealed the answers--big groans and loud "yes!"-es. Everyone really, really enjoyed themselves and my turnout was pretty good too! Big group + Happy kids = Success! Yay!

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