Taste Buds Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Tiffany Donald

Tiffany has taught Special Education and First Year Experience on the collegiate level. She holds a master's degree in education and in religion.

Have you ever bitten down into your favorite piece of candy or licked an ice cream cone and wondered why it tasted so good? Well, you can thank your taste buds for this. We will discuss what taste buds are and how they work in this lesson.

What are Taste Buds?

Taste buds are really important organs in the human body. They are one of the five sensory organs. Sensory organs help you see, feel, hear, taste, and smell. To better understand taste buds, here is a little task that you should try.

Find the closest mirror to you. If you are at home, you can run into the bathroom. If you are in class, you may want to ask your teacher if you can be excused to go to the restroom. If you are near your mom or older sister, you can probably ask if they have one in their purse. Now, stick out your tongue, and take note of what you see. If your tongue is normal, then it probably looks something like the picture below.

Did you notice all of the bumps on your tongue? I am sure that you saw a lot of them!

How do Taste Buds Work?

The bumps that you see on your tongue are called papillae (puh-pill-ee). These bumps have all of your taste buds living inside of them. Now, do you see the tiny hairs on your tongue? These little hairs send messages to your brain to tell it what something tastes like. This is how you know that milk chocolate is sweet, lemons are sour, grapefruit and dark chocolate are bitter, and popcorn is salty.

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