Make the Best College Care Package Ever
Send your student some love-in-a-box with these fun and practical ideas.
By Amy Ahlberg
The Personalized Package
If it won't make your child homesick, include a just-for-him memento: a recent edition of the hometown newspaper, some family snapshots, or a dried flower or leaf from the back yard. Or include something of yours you know she would love to borrow for the semester, like a piece of costume jewelry or a tie.
Source: The Stir
The Drug-Store Dream Box
essentials tend to run out when it’s least convenient for busy students. They'll appreciate basics like toothpaste, facial tissues, contact lens solution, and shampoo—one mom swears by razor blades, because as her college-age son reminds her, they're too expensive for his budget—as well as little splurge items like flavored lip balm, a rollerball perfume, or a cologne sample.
The Kitchen Cupboard Kit
Consider snacks, like granola bars, microwave popcorn, and hot chocolate mixes, as well as more
substantial mini-meals—such as instant oatmeal and soup—for rushed
mornings and missed dining hall dinners. Mints and gum are always appreciated
The Cold-Care Kit
With all those crowded classrooms and jam-packed dorms, the spread of
colds and flu is nearly inevitable on campus. Send along facial tissue pocket
packs, cold medicine, herbal tea, and cough drops to help soothe your sick child
The Just-Like-This Gift
Sure, you could just
send money, but college kids aren’t known for making the wisest choices when
cash is burning a hole in their pocket. A better idea to give them gift cards
to stores and restaurants. Choose big-box retailers like Target or Walmart,
coffee or sandwich chains like Starbucks, Subway, and Panera, and local
establishments like the college bookstore.
Source: The Stir
The Toy Store Surprise
Your college age child might seem grown-up—but a fun, nostalgic toy will have him or her gleefully celebrating. Add in silly putty, a slinky, cards, water guns, or cards, and they'll be showing the whole dorm their loot.
The Bake-Sale Box
homemade cookies, a treat from the town bakery, or Girl Scout cookies, a care package isn't complete without a sweet treat. Pack items tightly in a plastic container (fill in extra space with clean paper towels) and then wrap with bubble wrap.
The Away-From-Home Holiday
Festive accessories are surprisingly welcome and uplifting for a child living away from home for the first time; this one is also nice to send in anticipation of your kid coming home for the holidays. Keep items small, like a desktop Christmas tree, a
mini-menorah, and Easter baskets or Halloween pumpkins filled with candy. Seasonally themed light strands, like orange for Halloween or green for St. Patrick's Day, are also a fun treat.
The All-Better Box
Make a mini first
aid kit by filling a tin with adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, and pain
relievers, or purchase a ready-made kit at the
The Clean Genie
Dorm rooms get dusty and stale-smelling fast, and the novelty of a care package might encourage your student to give his or hers a quick clean. Pack some multi-surface cleaning spray, paper
towels, dusting cloths, and electronics cleaner, and throw in a bottle of air
freshener for good measure.
Source: The Stir
Bonus: Wrap It Up
Finally, think outside of the box for shipping your fun goodies. Go low-key and decorate with stickers and funny sayings, or fill the box with colorful packing paper. Wrap each item individually for a birthday present feel, or put little sticky notes on items with the reason you picked them ("I saw this strawberry gum and thought about how it's your favorite flavor!").
Check out our Amazon Wish List for care package essentials >>