Top 10 College Care Package Ideas

care-package-by-Hometown-Invasion-Tour.jpg Even if you don’t have a child who is college age and away at school, I’ll bet you know someone who is.

College kids are nearly always short on something (or broke, as most of us know from personal experience), so getting a care package from home can be a really nice treat.

This is especially true if they have been living on Ramen noodles and Cheetos. And if it’s the middle of the quarter or semester, then you can almost bet that money is going to be tight until they can go get their financial aid check for the next quarter.

Here are some great ideas for care packages for kids who are away at college…


#1  Personal care items

Some ideas: skin cream, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, disposable razors and other toiletries that can be safely shipped.

These are the things that college kids may find they don’t have extra money for all the time. And trust me, as a former college kid, if it comes down to buying food over shampoo, you can bet I bought food and used bar soap to wash my hair!


#2  Non-perishable foods

college-care-package-from-home-by-Michael-Lehet.jpg Think: potato chips, pretzels, hot cocoa, instant oatmeal, and microwave popcorn to name a few.

Try to choose healthy items as much as possible, because your college age child is probably already eating plenty of junk food.

So, it’s a good idea to slip in some dried fruit, raisins, ganola bars and things like that too.


#3  Medicine cabinet items

One thing your college age child may not have extra money for is over-the-counter medications that can make them feel better and help them get through their classes when they have a cold or the flu.

Items to include: cold medicine, allergy relief, cough drops, and pain relief medicines.

Also consider adding flavored Zinc lozenges, because dorms in particular are breeding grounds for all kinds of bugs. Zinc has been scientifically proven to reduce the duration of a cold — if you start taking them at the first onset of symptoms.


#4  Vitamins

As well all know, college age kids are notorious for not always eating healthy.

Making sure your child has a good supply of a multi-vitamin is a wise idea and will help to make sure that what they aren’t getting from food, they are at least getting from their supplement.

While it is always best to get the nutrients you need from the food you eat, sometimes that isn’t always possible.


#5  Quarters

This is a big one since your child will most likely be doing laundry at a college laundromat and using vending machines that are stocked with soft drinks and other food items.

Sending rolls of quarters is a great way to help ensure she has clean clothes, bus fare, and vending machine money, without her having to break the bank.


random-fun-stuff-in-care-package-by-LetTheCardsFall.jpg #6  Blank CD’s or thumb drives

Even with iPods, college kids are still downloading music and other files onto thumb drives and CDs for their friends and for themselves.

CD’s are also handy for saving school work on, so purchasing a pack of 50 and sending them along will be a practical gift idea.


#7  Gift cards

Gift certificates to their favorite clothing store, favorite restaurant, or even online sites would be a good idea.

Since college kids are often busy studying (he he), laundry sometimes takes a backseat. Sending a gift card for their favorite clothing store will not only let them know you are thinking of them, but will also help them to have enough clothes to get through finals week!


#8  Pictures from home

If this is your child’s first time living away from home, being homesick is a very real possibility. So don’t overlook personal photos and videos from home. They really help!

Funny cards or cartoons, as well as pictures of the family pet doing something cute are always welcome and can go a long way towards making it easier for your child to cope with being away from home for the first time.


#9  Printer cartridges

There’s nothing more annoying than printing out a paper for class only to discover that you’re out of ink. This leaves you with 2 options: go and buy expensive ink cartridges you don’t really have money for, or go the computer lab and hope you can get on a computer there.

Sending your child back-up printer cartridges for their own personal printer will be very appreciated.


#10  Personal letters

fun-things-to-send-in-letters-by-bowena.jpg Just as important as all the other things mentioned on this list, letters from you and any other relatives can be a breath of fresh air for a college student who hasn’t been home in awhile.

Personal letters can also be quite motivating during crunch times — like finals week.

If your college student likes to scrapbook, then these letters will likely be included in scrapbooks about their college days.


These are just the tip of the iceberg as far as ideas for what to put into your college student’s care package.

Truthfully, just about anything you send will be appreciated. (I know this from personal experience.)

Receiving a box of goodies when you’re away from home can also make a big difference in your morale and motivation to do well in school.

And if a holiday is right around the corner, don’t forget to include at least one “themed” item especially for that holiday — like Halloween or Christmas.

Oh, and if your college student is living with other roommates, then you may want to send a little bit extra. That way, they can all share and enjoy. This is especially nice when roommates don’t receive care packages from home much. Your generosity will be very much appreciated.


Best Times To Send Care Packages

  • Soon after each semester begins
  • Before final exams
  • After final exams
  • After winning an award (financial scholarship or educational award — like honor roll; dean’s list)
  • Before a big game (for athletes)
  • After being selected for a fraternity/sorority or some other club
  • Before any holiday (especially if they aren’t able to come home for the holidays)


More Fun Ideas For College Care Packages

How To Make The Best College Care Package… Ever!

16 Care Packages Any College Kid Would Love

Tips From A Mom About Sending College Care Packages

Top 10 College Care Package Items

Create Your Own College Care Package




Some of my favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with living green, saving money, pregnancy, weddings, and dogs. When I'm not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.

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  • Bttrcp

    This is ridiculous…. vitamins are mentioned because kids are notorious for not eating right…. really??? LOOK whats in those care packages!! I don’t think its the kids with the problems….I think the other non food items such as CD,s batteries, thumb drives, etc are wonderful. But the food stuff?? Perhaps if people stop sending the total garbage that it is in those “Care Packages” they might not need extra vitamins…. seriously. In those pictures there is only one healthy thing I see. 2 oranges or perhaps they’re grapefruit… sitting on top of a garbage heap of candy and chips and cupcakes and cakes… its all pure junk. In all those pictures with edible is candy, chips, processed crap, cookies, red bull…. seriously? If that’s what people feed their kids, no wonder everyone is overweight, diabetic and just unhealthy…..  When parents send them that type of stuff, it sends a definite message… this is ok for me to eat. Perhaps parents should rethink how they teach their kids to eat. I wasn’t raised on that type of food and I didn’t raise my now grown kids on that type of food either. None of us have weight issues. So please, if you want to send a care package, send healthy crackers like baked grain crackers instead of greasy potato chips, apples, carrots, trail mix, bread, peanut butter, small single use jam/jelly packets, plastic utensils, paper plates and cups and napkins. I wouldn’t feed my dogs the food items in those not very caring care packages listed…..

    • Sazz1994

      i think its cool to send someone comfort food….

  • Dolphinfail

    According to a certain world-famous cardiologist, most people – including those who eat very healthy – cannot get ALL the nutrients their body needs EVERY single day in sufficient amounts.  Multivitamins are great for picking up the slack, especially when you are under a lot of stress and your immune system starts to feel the pinch!

    Not all “convenience” foods are unhealthy; you just need to find the right kind!  Quaker Instant Oatmeal has the same fiber content as a serving of plain rolled oats, and can be made in the microwave.  BetterOats are all natural, less processed, taste great, and contain lots of fiber, a little protein, and some Omega 3s; they come in “measuring cup pouches” that make measuring water very easy; they take just 2 minutes to microwave; and they are packaged in a space-saving box.  Kashi makes great all natural, minimally sweetened granola bars, all natural microwaveable meals (frozen and unfrozen), all natural/whole grain crackers, etc.  Several companies sell individual-serving cups of plain brown rice.  Companies like Anne’s sell organic, all natural individual-serving cups of macaroni and cheese.  There’s also a company that sells all natural, vegan-friendly cups of soup mix (just add water and microwave in the cup).  Plain or “healthy option” microwave popcorn (little or no salt, hydrogenated oil, etc) is an EXCELLENT source of whole grains.  Tea bags are a healthy, tasty, convenient care package item, since water can be microwaved.  Even some hot cocoa mixes (in individual envelopes) are fairly healthy; since most mixes are made with powdered milk, they often contain as much calcium as a glass of milk.  Plus, hot cocoa is very comforting — and there are low sugar/sugar free varieties available.  Dark chocolate (the higher the cocoa % the better) is an antioxidant rich snack and may quell some chocolate cravings!
    Fresh fruits and veggies are hard to mail sometimes.  Dried fruit with no added sugar or salt is great!  Almonds and other nuts are also great, as long as there are no added oils, excess salt, etc.  Individual jam and jelly cups are wasteful when they can’t be recycled, as they are often made of plastic and won’t breakdown in the soil (at least, not this millennium).  Plastic, recyclable jars of natural peanut butter (some brands don’t require stirring or refrigeration) and jelly or jam are a better option and won’t break when you ship them.  There are TONS of possibilities when it comes to healthy convenience food for a care package!  Of course, junk food in moderation is perfectly okay, especially if it’s your student’s favorite treat :)
    FYI – thumb / flash drives are a better option than CDs for saving homework.  CDs are harder to reuse, less convenient, and less durable than flash drives.  Plus, flash drives with at least 4-8G hold more data than a CD with less bulk.  Dollar for dollar, flash drives also save money.

  • abnormaldarlene

    T1e – Recently I would be so down on money and debits were killing me from everywhere. That was UNTIL I learned to earn money on the Internet. I landed on surveymoneymaker p net, and started filling in surveys for money, and yes I’ve been greatly more able to get around financialy!! i am glad, that I did this!! MFj