Care Package Ideas for Your College Kids – 3 Essential Elements + free printable

I’ve mentioned a time or two that I absolutely love putting together care packages for my kids who are away at college. My oldest graduated from high school and went off to University in 2015 and I sent her a care package every month for two years. Now it’s my middle son’s turn since he left for college this past September. Generally the idea of sending a care package to someone is to bless the receiver of said package however I’m going to be totally honest with you and tell you that I get just as much out of sending a care package as they do.

Care package ideas for your college kids - 3 essential elements & a free printable at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Sending a care package is how I stay connected to my kids when I’m missing them so much. The day after I send one care package off to them, I start the next. I get an empty box from my grocery store and keep it in my office. Then all month as I’m out and about and I see something that reminds me of one of my kids, I smile to myself and purchase it for their box. Having a box set up, ready to go makes all the difference otherwise the stuff you purchase would be scattered here, there and everywhere which would just lead to chaos and overwhelm. We definitely don’t want that!

It brings me so much joy throughout the month as I find them things and connecting to them in this way helps take away the sting of missing them so much. Often the items aren’t expensive at all, just little sweet surprises, often from the dollar store, that I know they’ll need or will make them smile. When I’m at the grocery store and see my daughter’s favorite chocolate or the drug store and see my son’s favorite soap, I pick it up and tuck it away in their box. By the end of the month it’s usually full and ready to be mailed out.

Care package ideas for your college kids - 3 essential elements & a free printable at I'm an Organizing Junkie

3 Essential Elements to a Really Great Care Package

Practical: Something they need

Most students don’t have a lot of disposable income so when I see these type of items on sale, I’ll pick them up. Both my kids have their own kitchen space so that’s why I always try to include some basic kitchen supplies for them.

  • toiletries (toothbrush. toothpaste, soap, body wash, deodorant, feminine products etc.)
  • socks/underwear
  • clothing (I added a long sleeve shirt for my son as he mentioned he didn’t have many)
  • hat/mitts for winter
  • cleaning supplies
  • kitchen supplies (if they have their own kitchen space)
  • school supplies (pens/pencils/notebooks)

Silly: Something to make them smile

This category involves anything fun and frivolous. Non food treats that will put a smile on their face or just give them a break from the heavy workload of school. I always love to include at least one ridiculous item that will give them a giggle. Basically anything that is totally random with a funny face or a cartoon on it, ha! For instance, I sent a creepy cat pillow one time to my daughter so this is what she saw when she opened the box. Cracked me up.

Care package ideas for your college kids - 3 essential elements & a free printable at I'm an Organizing Junkie

And how cute is the sticky note my youngest put in the box for her? He did that every time and she has kept them all.

In this category, you’ll also want to include those fun things they love but as a student can’t afford to buy themselves.

  • stuffies
  • small toys/games (I sent a slinky to my son who loves to fidget)
  • balls
  • emoji anything (always good for a smile)
  • funny socks
  • magazines
  • holiday decorations for the season
  • planner supplies (stickers, washi tape, etc)
  • nail polish/makeup
  • printed pictures of the family they can hang up in their room

Yummy: Something for them to eat

Pretty sure this is always the favorite part. My son has many food allergies so his box often contains a lot of allergy safe foods since those can often be pricey. Like that $8 loaf of gluten, dairy and egg free bread you see in the picture, yikes!

  • chocolate/candy
  • cookies (homemade or store bought)
  • microwave popcorn or a bag of popcorn
  • chips
  • cake mix with a tub of icing (again only if they have their own kitchen space)
  • granola bars, etc.
  • teas
  • gift cards so they can go buy their own treat

Care package ideas for your college kids - 3 essential elements & a free printable at I'm an Organizing Junkie

What you put in the care package doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Watch for sales and just keep filling the box as you think about your kids all month long.

Care package ideas for your college kids - 3 essential elements & a free printable at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Another idea which is super fun is to do theme boxes as a surprise. For example, this box full of sunshine was such a great care package to put together for a friend away at school. It was a collection of all things yellow and I included this sweet printable as an extra touch.

Care package ideas for your college kids - 3 essential elements & a free printable at I'm an Organizing Junkie

So cute right? Pinterest is full of ideas!

Care package ideas for your college kids - 3 essential elements & a free printable at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Care package ideas for your college kids - 3 essential elements & a free printable at I'm an Organizing Junkie

If you’d like to use this sunshine printable, I’ve made it available as a free printable for my readers which you can get by clicking on the link below.

 Box full of sunshine free printable

So there you have it. Organizing a care package is something I just love doing to put a smile on someone’s face. I’d love to hear about what you include in your boxes if you also send care packages to loved ones. Thanks for visiting today. If you liked this post, please share with your friends :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Filed under: Containerizing, Kid Stuff, My Life

Comments

8 Responses to Care Package Ideas for Your College Kids – 3 Essential Elements + free printable

  1. 1
    Marta says

    That’s fantastic idea! My older daughter is leaving next year and I am realizing how much I would miss her…
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    All the best for your children away from you…

    • 1.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Thank you Marta, all the best to your daughter as well with graduation and beyond :)

  2. 2
    Verena says

    Those are neat ideas. Just a couple questions….have you ever had anything break and leak, do you put some things inside ziplocs? What is the most inexpensive way to send things. Canada Post? Love your blog!

    • 2.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Hi Verena!! Nope never had anything break but I don’t tend to add too many things that are liquid as they tend to be heavy and add to the weight of the box. Since I send everything Canada Post I try and watch the weight of what I’m shipping to keep the cost of shipping down.

  3. 3
    Joanne McAndrews says

    Thank you, Laura! This is great. I’m planning on hosting a care package assembly party next fall when my oldest daughter goes to college.

  4. 4
    Brenda says

    I really like how you explained each category that you include in the box. I’m sure it’s really hard to have your kids away at college, but I’m glad making these boxes for them all month, helps make you smile. That would be hard for your son having food allergies. Does the college serve food he can eat or does he have to make his own?

    • 4.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Hi Brenda, we had to purposely select a school that provided dorms with kitchens. He has so many food allergies he has to be able to make the majority of his meals himself. Just safer that way and he prefers it too. He is a good cook. He also has his own room to avoid any cross contamination.

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