Make the Best Care Package Ever: 11 Awesome Ideas

Send someone special a little love-in-a-box with these fun and practical ideas.

The Personalized Package


If it won't make them homesick, tuck a few meaningful-just-to-them items in your care package: maybe family snapshots, a dried flower or leaf from the back yard, or something of yours your kid would love to borrow while away, like a piece of costume jewelry or a special pen. Source: The Stir

The Drug-Store Dream Box


Personal hygiene essentials tend to run out when it’s least convenient for busy students. They'll appreciate basics in a care package 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. Source: SheKnows

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 welcome in a care package too. Source: SheKnows

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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 in a care package to help soothe your sick kid from afar. Source: Oprah

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 in a care package—er, email. 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

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Your kid might seem grown-up—but a fun, nostalgic toy still makes for an excellent care package idea. Add Silly Putty, a Slinky, water guns, or cards, and they'll be showing the whole dorm their loot.

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The Bake-Sale Box

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Whether it’s 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 kid away from home for the first time; this care package idea 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 lights, like orange for Halloween or green for St. Patrick's Day, are also fun. Source: Oprah

The All-Better Box


Make a mini first-aid care package by filling a tin with adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, and pain relievers, or purchase a ready-made kit at the store. Source: SheKnows

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The Clean Genie


Dorms get dusty and stale-smelling fast, and the novelty of a care package might encourage your student to give her room a quick clean. Pack some multi-surface 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

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Finally, think outside of the box for shipping your goodies. Go low-key and decorate your care package 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!").

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