Care Package Ideas for College Students

Valorie Delp
care package

Sending your college student a care package is a great way to support their endeavors. Whether you decide to supply essentials like toiletries or fun stuff like snacks, what you send will be greatly appreciated by your student.

Nine Great Care Packages

Putting together an incredibly creative care package for the student you love allows you to customize the package with favorite brands or specific things your student asked for. Need some ideas? These ideas are sure to make the student in your life the envy of his dorm.

Winter Love Care Package

Does your student spend part of the year in a really cold climate? Put together a care package that will make her feel warm and toasty despite the chilled temperatures. A great winter care package could include:

  • A mug
  • Hot chocolate or tea
  • Instant gourmet coffee
  • A mug warmer (check to see if these are allowed in dorms first)
  • Bag of mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate covered spoons
  • Wool blanket
  • Slippers
  • Fleece pajamas bottoms, or long johns
  • Instant soup

Use other warm clothing items like socks, a scarf or hat to add filler to the box.

Cozy Dorm Room Care Package

One of the more difficult things about living in a dorm is making it seem like home. Help your student make her dorm room more than just a living space with a care package from the heart. Include some of these items:

  • Frame a piece of scrapbooking paper and attach a dry erase marker. This makes a cute dry erase board for friends to leave messages.
  • A small magnetic chalkboard for hanging on the door - roommates can leave notes for each other, or friends can leave notes to let them know they stopped by.
  • A sign with a favorite quote
  • Extra packages of sticky tack or blue painter's tape (because you generally cannot use push pins or nails in a dorm room)
  • Lysol wipes and a feather duster for cleaning
  • Pre-addressed and stamped postcards for writing home
  • A favorite blanket, throw pillow and dust ruffle for the bed
  • Inflatable furniture can make a room more fun, and offer people places to sit in lieu of sitting on the bed.
  • Holiday or seasonal decor like window clings, or a poster

Personal Items Care Package

Toiletries can be very expensive on a college campus - especially if your student is attending college in a smaller town that doesn't have a bigger department store. In addition, your college student might not have the time to shop or the money to buy personal items. Items you'll want to consider including are:

  • Plastic flip-flops for the showers
  • Wrap towels so it's easy to cover up to and from showers (guys appreciate this gift too)
  • Shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, and lotion
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
  • Lightly-scented body spray or cologne
  • A foot massage roller
  • Loofah
  • Fun spa items like a face mask or nail polish
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair gel, hair spray or other styling products
  • Contact lens solution, if needed

First Aid Care Package

If your student gets sick or injured, he may not have the time or means to go to the drugstore to pick up some items. You can make this package and send it right at the beginning of the semester so he'll be prepared. He'll definitely appreciate having these things on hand if he needs them. Consider some of these items:

  • Vitamins
  • Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel
  • Band-Aids®
  • Ace bandage
  • Neosporin
  • General cold medicine like DayQuil
  • Zicam
  • Emergen-C
  • Tissues
  • Hot tea bags

Cleaning Aids Care Package

Whether it's dusting a room or doing laundry, the reality is students have to clean up. Make the job a little easier by creating a package that takes care of these specific needs. Some items you might want to include are:

  • A mesh bag for washing delicates
  • Wool dryer ball
  • Quarters for the laundromat
  • A small bottle of laundry detergent for easier carrying
  • Anti-bacterial, all-purpose cleaning wipes
  • Feather duster
  • Handheld vacuum (like a DustBuster)
  • Wipes for electronic devices
  • Paper towels
  • Deodorizing spray or room freshener

Birthday in a Box

If your student is celebrating his birthday while he's away, make him feel loved with a fun, birthday-in-a-box care package. Make sure to include enough for his roommates so that he can have a little party!

  • Freeze-dried ice cream
  • Microwave cake
  • Streamers or a birthday banner
  • Birthday hats
  • A party noisemaker
  • Favorite snacks

Ultimate Sports Fan Package

Whether your student watches the big games in the stadium or in the dorm room, keep her prepared with a care package that indulges her sports-fanatic side. This package might include:

  • Fan items purchased from the school store like foam fingers, pom-poms or sports pennants, etc.
  • College sweatshirt or other clothing items in college colors
  • Hand or seat warmers for watching fall games in the stadium
  • Microwave popcorn and a popcorn bowl for watching at home
  • Face or body paint in school colors for the serious fan
  • Temporary hair color in school colors

Stress Relieving Care Package

College is stressful. Finals, exams, papers and seemingly endless reading can make things difficult and stressful. Help your student and her friends relieve stress with a package that oozes silliness. Make sure to pack enough for sharing! Your package might include:

  • Silly string
  • Slinky
  • Marshmallow gun with marshmallows
  • Playing cards or card games like Uno, Phase 10 or Dutch Blitz
  • Fun group games like Bop It
  • Silly Putty or Play-Dough
  • Chia pet or bonsai tree

Studious Student Care Package

Do you want to let your college student know that you support them in their educational goals? Try sending a package that specifically focuses on studying. Lots of these items are a bit costly for a student budget, but are sure to be incredibly useful. Consider including:

  • Bookmarks
  • Highlighters
  • Pens and pencils (especially ones with fun designs)
  • Handheld pencil sharpener
  • Classical music CD
  • Sticky notes
  • USB drive
  • Paper clips
  • iTunes gift card for educational apps
  • Stress ball

Premade Packages You Can Buy

If you want to send a care package but you don't have time to put it altogether, try a company that caters to this need. These companies take the guess work out of packing for you, promising your student gets a great package every time.

Hip Kits

At Hip Kits you can find packages that are especially designed with the college student in mind. All of the boxes include food items, a 'bit of inspiration' and something fun. Options range from organic choices, to junk food, to everything in between. Shop by themes like exams, thinking of you, or holidays. Hip Kits also has a Kit-of-the-Month club where your student gets something delivered each month.

What is especially nice about Hip Kits is that you can customize the pre-made options with various 'add-ons,' making it really easy to create a personalized care package. Kits range in price from $20 to $50, so they will not break your bank.

CarePackages.com

Carepackages.com allows you to shop for several different-themed baskets via a variety of categories such as 'exams,' or 'holidays.' They offer ready-made packages ranging in prices from $20 to $100. All care packages include snack food and there is a wide range of options. Customers can choose from a tin of cookies, to a full package including candy, chips and other fun items that vary with the theme.

They also offer various care package plans. The plans range in price from $90 for three care packages for the fall, to $161 for six care packages sent throughout the year. You can also send personalized messages to your student in your package.

Mirth-in-a-Box

If you have a student who doesn't take himself too seriously, Mirth-in-a-Box might be just the place for you. Mirthinabox.com sends packages full of fun novelty items. Examples include things like Shakespearean insult mugs, disguise glasses or Frisbees.

You can shop by occasion such as a holiday, by reason (such as sending a get well soon package), by the type of package you want to send, or you can peruse their college section which features boxes full of fun novelty items and snacks. You can also build your package from the ground up, which is a neat feature for a care package company. Because of the huge variety, prices can range from $30 to about $90, so you're sure to find something to fit your budget.

From Mom

Care packages from From-mom.com focus on food items like cookies, candy, soup and snacks. You have multitudes of options including themed packages for things like finals, packages that contain just cookies, a 'Club Mom' option that lets you pre-order care packages for the whole year, and a customizable option so you can build your own care package.

Prices vary greatly, with a box of cookies for just under $25 to a more developed theme package for over $100. You can also order a pre-made package and add individual items, adding to the total cost of the box.

Gift Boxes by Mail

Gift Boxes by Mail specializes in customized gift boxes for $20 or less. You build the box with a wide selection of novelty and snack items. While the company doesn't do large gift boxes or baskets, they do make nice boxes full of sweets or snacks (or anything else you want to put in there) that are perfect-sized for fitting into a shoebox.

Amazon Prime Pantry

While Amazon Prime Pantry is not specifically geared toward sending care packages to your college student, it is worth considering, especially if you have a student who is in an apartment. Items available include snacks, cleaning supplies, and even toiletries. For a flat shipping rate, you get to fill a box and they will deliver it. You can also shop from past lists, which makes it convenient to remember what you have sent.

To Student With Love

Whether you are supporting your student by sending needed items like toiletries, or you just want to send a little something that says, 'I Love You,' it's hard to go wrong with a care package. Create your own or buy a prepackaged box from a company, or alternate between the two the keep your student guessing.

Care Package Ideas for College Students