Show the college student in your life just how much you love them with one of these creative care packages. Our ideas—including finals week survival kits, home sickness cures, and just-because packages—are care packages that every college kid can appreciate.

By Katie Bandurski

Leaving home for the first time can be scary. Make the transition to college a little easier with one of these creative care packages. Plus, we've put together a list of care package must-haves that your student will be so thankful for.

Caffeine Fix

Between 8 a.m. classes, late-night study sessions, and irregular sleep schedules, college kids are usually pretty tired. Help them stay alert with a coffee care package. Toss in instant coffee packets, coffee creamers, a reusable insulated mug, sugar packets, and a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. Avoid sending coffee grounds—most dorms consider standard coffee pots a fire hazard and don't allow them.

Under the Weather

One of the first milestones in a young adult's life is being sick away from home for the first time. Although nothing can replace a parent's soothing homemade chicken noodle soup, you can encourage the healing process with a "feel better" care package. Stock it with tissues, hand sanitizer, microwavable soup, cough drops, vitamins, and more. And if your child doesn't have a copy of their medical insurance card, now is a good time to send it. 

Color Coded

Receiving a package on a birthday or holiday is exciting, but getting one at random is even better. Send an unexpected care package "just because" to make your college student's week a little brighter. For added fun, fill the box with their favorite goodies that come in a specific color. For example, yellow products make up a "box of sunshine" and blue items are "from out of the blue."

Finals Survival Kit

There is no time more stressful in a college kid's life than finals week. With all of the exams, papers, and added pressure, it's easy for them to skip out on basic functions like eating and sleeping. A finals week care package can come to the rescue. Packed with nutritious snacks, energy boosters, encouraging notes, school supplies, and more, this kit will help your student finish the semester strong.

Movie Night

Spoil your student by giving them all the fixings for an epic night in. Microwave popcorn, boxes of their favorite candies, and of course, movies, make up this clever care package. Make sure your student has access to a DVD player before sending hard-copy discs. Otherwise include an Amazon or iTunes gift card so they can rent a few flicks, or disclose the family Netflix password.

Bare Necessities

Every mom knows the giant basket of laundry that accompanies her kid the first time he or she comes home from college. Send a not-so-subtle hint to start washing clothes with a laundry care package. Include detergent, dryer sheets, mesh bags for washing delicates, and a roll of quarters. This might not be the most exciting care package your kid receives, but it will be the most useful.

Immune Boost

Dorms are notorious for breeding germs. When one person gets sick, the entire floor does too. It doesn't help that no one has washed their sheets or towels in the past six weeks. Send your college student vitamins, pain relievers, cough drops, first aid supplies, essential oils—any items that can give their immune system a boost.

Homesick Cure

At some point during the semester, your kid is going to get a little homesick—even if they don't admit it. Be at the ready with a care package stocked with goodies from home. Look for mementos from their favorite restaurant (like this Texas-themed package), gear from a local sports team, and photos of home. Your kid will appreciate the love and care that went into this package, and hopefully feel a little more at home.

The 5 Items Every Care Package Needs:

Don't waste precious box space on items your student won't use. Here are five care package necessities that won't go to waste.

1. Food

The dining hall at most schools gets old fast. Add a little variety to your student's diet with easy-to-eat (and easier to make!) meals. Microwavable mac and cheese cups, rice and quinoa packets, peanut butter and jelly, and protein bars all satisfy. And we've never met a college student who says no to a batch of mom's homemade cookies.

2. Money and gift cards

A little bit goes a long way. Even a $5 bill or roll of quarters will be appreciated for a quick coffee run or load of laundry. 

3. Everyday essentials

Restocking on everyday essentials can be difficult—especially if your child goes to school in the middle of nowhere or if they don't have a car. Small necessities, like deodorant, contact solution, feminine products, and toothpaste, will be a welcome surprise. 

4. Reminders from home

Maybe it's a paw print card from their furry best friend. Or maybe it's a favorite pair of earrings that got left behind. Either way, a token to remind students of home goes a long way. 

5. Little luxuries

Send something that your student might not ordinarily buy for themself. Consider little extras in the checkout line, like pretty nail polish, a favorite magazine, or a new pair of ear buds.


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