I came up with this game to experiment with a mindful eating practice to tune into the present moment with a few key senses.
How you play
I took a single piece of fruit (a grape, a blackberry and a piece of pineapple) and put them each in a small dish. I then placed a blindfold over my daughter’s eyes and set the 3 dishes in front of her. She had to pick up a piece of fruit, pause, feel the fruit and describe the texture of the fruit. She then had to put the fruit in her mouth and describe the flavors as she was eating the piece of fruit very slowly. And then finally she had to guess what fruit she just ate, but she wasn’t allowed to tell me until she had gone through all 3 taste tests. Once she had tasted all three, she had to name the fruit and the order that she ate them in. My daughter loved the game so much that she wanted me and her younger sister to also play it afterwards.
What we learned
First, when I explained the game to her and that she would be blindfolded, she was enthusiastic to start playing right away. I think the blindfold added a particular allure, so my daughter was smiling almost the entire time we played the game. When she felt each piece of fruit, she had incredible descriptive words such as “cold, soft, round” for the grape, or “smooth, rectangle” for the pineapple, and “bumpy, squishy, triangle” for the blackberry. When she tasted each piece, she had a harder time with the descriptive words and mostly said it was yummy and juicy for each of the pieces. The memory recall of naming all three fruits in the right order was also a fun twist to the game. She remembered that her first pick was a grape, but had to pause and think about the second one, and knew the third right away as well.
As soon as we finished playing the game, she wanted her little sister to try it. That didn’t quite work out as well because my toddler did not want to be blindfolded, and she was just content with a small bowl of grapes. So my older daughter moved on and asked if I could play the game next. I had never done a mindful eating exercise and really enjoyed feeling and tasting each piece of fruit with deliberate attention. It was pleasantly surprising to recognize textures and flavors of each fruit that I had not noticed before. For instance, I had not realized that some parts of a pineapple piece could feel a little rough, almost like sandpaper, while others are soft and grooved. I had never realized that the smooth skin of a grape had almost a silky texture to it. And the three flavors of each fruit were so distinct as well. I noticed a burst of flavor with the pineapple, whereas the blackberry was almost tart and grainy and the grape was juicy and sweet. No wonder pineapples and grapes are a couple of my top favorite fruits!
This game was definitely a favorite, and especially the blindfold, so I think we will be experimenting with a lot more blindfolded sensory activities.