Best Buds

on August 17, 2015


  • Cotton swabs or toothpicks, several per child ††
  • Disposable bowls with salt mixed with water ††
  • Disposable bowls with sugar mixed with water (dissolve the sugar in hot water and allow to cool) ††
  • Disposable bowls with coffee or onion juice mixed with water
  • †† Disposable bowls with lemon juice ††
  • Small cups of water, 1 per child ††
  • PTC paper (available from online sources), 1 small piece per child ††
  • Design Card—Tongue, 1 per child

Class Time Directions

We’re talking about our tongues today. Did you know God made our tongues with taste buds? Taste buds are important in helping us figure out different flavors of foods. Who likes salty food? Take responses. What salty food can you think of? Take responses. Who likes sour food? Take responses. What sour food can you think of? Take responses. Who likes sweet food? Take responses. What sweet food can you think of? Take responses. Does anybody like bitter food? Take responses. What bitter food can you think of? Take responses. Our taste buds pick up on those various flavors and more. Let’s try a little taste test to see if you can figure out which parts of your tongue are most sensitive to which types of food.

Have the trekkers dip their cotton swabs in the first liquid. Touch the swab gently to the tongue and then on different areas of the tongue. Discuss where on the tongue the taste is strongest. After each flavor (for instance, after the salty taste test), everyone should drink a little water before going to the next flavor. Continue and discuss your findings.

Caution: Be careful when testing the back of the tongue because it may make you gag! And no double-dipping of the cotton swabs!

The ability to taste bitter substances comes from information in our DNA that we inherited from our parents (like we inherit eye color, hair color, etc.). This is important in a fallen/cursed world because many toxins or poisons taste bitter. Usually if a person tastes something bitter, it tastes bad, and they spit it out, which protects the person from eating something poisonous. Some people have a specific form of bitter taste bud that allows them to taste the nonpoisonous chemical PTC, and some do not. If you can taste it, you are known as a “taster.” If you cannot, you are a “non-taster.” This comes from a difference in the DNA that we inherit from our parents. Don’t worry if you can’t taste the PTC, your DNA has information for many other bitter taste buds that help protect you from eating poisonous substances.

Have the students put the PTC paper on their tongue and see if they can taste the PTC.

It’s fun to experiment with how our tongues work, but what’s most important about our tongues is what kind of words come off them. You know how we talked about our hearts yesterday? Well, did you know Jesus taught that from the overflow of our heart, our tongue speaks? Read Luke 6:45. What do you think that means? Take responses. What we’re thinking about in our hearts and minds ends up being reflected in the words we say. So if we’re thinking mean thoughts about someone, often times mean words will spill out of our mouths about that person. If we’re thinking fearful thoughts, we’ll often speak anxious words. If we’re ungrateful, we’ll often speak grumbling and complaining words. If we’re jealous of someone, we’ll often say unkind things about them. Can you think of a time you’ve ever had words spill out of your mouth that you wish you hadn’t said? Take responses. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about our speech. God wants our speech to reflect His love and kindness and gentleness and goodness. Read or have children look up these verses and discuss as time allows: Proverbs 10:31, 12:18, 15:2, 17:20, 21:23. Pass out the Design Card—Tongue, one for each child.