My daughter is heading off to college soon, and I started to think about creative college care package ideas I can put together to remind her that we are still with her in spirit. I remember how fun it used to be to get mail while I was away – a real treat! Plus, it helps minimize spending, which is always a bonus.
When it comes to packing snacks and goodies, load up on your child’s favorites! They will want something easy to eat, and fun to look forward to opening up every day. Here are a few ideas to help you plan ahead for those long days without access to Mom’s kitchen.
What is a College Care Package?
A care package is a curated gift box filled with your college students’ favorite treats. Include everything from snacks to candy to toiletries to books and clothes. There is no specific time of the year designated to send one. Just pack one up every time you miss your child!
A care package doesn’t necessarily need a theme, but there are families who like to stick to one. You can create food-themed, dorm-themed, holiday-themed – you name it! It’s entirely up to you!
For example, around Halloween, you could put together a box with some decorations and candy.
It’s all about choosing gifts that will make your student feel loved and appreciated. You cannot go wrong.
Know Your Student’s Favorite Snack
What do your students love eating most? Do they prefer salty chips over sweet ones? What about fruit? Or maybe it’s sweets that they crave. Whatever it is, know what type of food they enjoy the most and pack accordingly. If your student likes cookies or candy bars, pack plenty of both. But avoid bringing too much junk food because it could end up being unhealthy.
Throw Some In!
If you’ve got a little extra space left, why not throw in some extras? Maybe a bottle of water or sports drink, granola bar, trail mix, dried fruits, nuts, etc. These items aren’t necessarily required, but they’ll come in handy during those times when you’re running low on energy. And don’t forget to include things that taste good, too!
You might even consider making a few special recipes that your student can’t live without. Whether it’s chocolate chip cookies, brownies, oatmeal raisin cookies, banana bread, or anything else you think your student loves, now’s the perfect time to whip up a batch. Even better, bake several batches and freeze half of them. This way, you won’t run out of yummy treats when you least expect it.
Dorm Room Essentials
The best college care package ideas are custom. While every freshman year is different, most students will enjoy receiving word from home. Include personal care products, random items, and laundry essentials in your gift basket. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Dry shampoo – Dry shampoo is a girl’s best friend. That’s the tweet. It’s one of the best solutions to refresh your locks in seconds without having to spend hours blow drying and styling.
- Medicine pack – College students are often ill away from home, so it’s smart to make sure their campus care package includes a little medical kit containing the kinds of items they might need, such as pain relievers, stomach remedies, cold medication, aloe vera, antacids, antibiotics, antihistamines, cough syrup, and fever reducers.
- Hand sanitizer – College students need hand sanitizer. These small, portable bottles are perfect for students who want to avoid washing their hands too often during the day and don’t want to take up space in their bags with bulky bottles of hand soap.
- Extra hair ties – Where do all the hair ties go? No, really. Hair ties are one of those things we just don’t think about until we’re standing in front of our closet trying to decide what to wear. I just ran out and bought two packs for myself, and I am always very careful, yet lose them all! How?! It’s a mystery. If you are sending your daughter a package, include some and thank me later.
- Deodorant – I’m pretty sure this is a must-have item for any college student. Deodorant is an essential part of life. You never know when you may be sharing a dorm room with someone who doesn’t have deodorant. So, if you’re sending a package, make sure to include some. The last thing you want is for your child to run out of this item.
- A pair of scissors – Kids won’t have the necessary tools that they are used to having access to while at home. You might not think about this now, but does your child have scissors?
- Reusable Water Bottle – It seems like every college student has a water bottle. They’re convenient, easy to carry around, and great for hydration.
- Coffee Mug – This is another thing that kids will appreciate. Coffee mugs are great for keeping hot drinks warm and cold drinks cool.
- Laundry Supplies – If you’re sending laundry supplies, remember your shipping will go UP. It’s always best to let them purchase these items locally. But in case you want to include this into the mix, consider detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, and dryer sheets.
- Gift Cards – We have debit cards for our children where we can automatically transfer money into their accounts through an app. It’s very convenient and something we’ve used for years. I highly suggest you do something like this for your kids …. RIGHT NOW. We started at the age of ten! There are children-specific accounts you can create. However, if you’d like, another option is to send various gift cards to places you know your child loves to visit. When I was in college, my parents used to send me gas cards, supermarket cards, and gift cards for the local mall. It was always a nice little surprise.
- School Supplies – Most of your child’s life will be digital – that is a fact. But there will be times when they will need highlighters, sticky notes, and notepads. It might be nice to throw in a few fancy pens as well.
Other notable items:
- Lip balm
- Room decor
- Grocery store must haves
- Cold medicine
- Protein bars / Granola bars
- Fuzzy socks / Cozy socks
- Nail polish
- Fun things to do with friends
- Disposable razors
- Fast food gift cards
Include A Handwritten Card In Your Package
A personal note makes everything feel that much more special. You don’t have to go out and buy a fancy card; anything will do. As long as you express yourself clearly and honestly. And remember: don’t overthink it. Just let your little know how much you love them. Have every family member leave words of encouragement.
The first time your student visits their college dorm, they will realize what they are missing. Take note of everything they say, and then create a great care package filled with special treats for the school year. It’s the little things that count the most. Your homesick student will thank you later!