Care Package Ideas for the First College Care Package

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I have sent two of my “babies” off to college (much too far away). I am so proud of my babies and so excited for their grand adventures, but I also miss them like crazy.  The way I handle missing them so much is to send to them frequent care packages. I couldn’t even guess how many care packages I’ve sent at this point, but given how much my babies and their roommates appreciate them, I think I’ve hit upon a winning formula. These are my tips and college care package ideas for the first college care package of the year. 

basket holding colorful toys, office supplies and candy with text Care Package Ideas First College Care Package of the Year.

I’ve sent care packages to both of my babies for combined total of four years (32 months, 960 days and I’ll just stop there). I’ve sent care packages to my niece and nephew, cousins and friends’ children. I truly do enjoy coming up with creative care package ideas and the first college care package of the year is an extra special one. 

Care Package Ideas for the First College Care Package

Letters from Family and Friends

Write a personal letter from you. Take the time to tell your college student how much you miss her and how proud you are of her.

pile of envelopes on a white table.

Collect notes from family and friends. As much as your college student is excited to be out on her own on a grand adventure, she will love hearing from her foundation of family and friends who know her.  I collected cards from family and friends at my daughters’ graduation parties with this graduation party idea, but you could simply reach out to family and friends who would be happy to write a note. 

Creative Care Package Notes – Make the next care package you send even more special with a creative themed care package note. With 48 different notes, there’s something for every situation and every person on your care package list.

48 different brightly colored printable notes for care packages.

Silly Fun Toys

Your student is having a wonderful time being a grown-up and living on his own. But there’s always a small part that is longing for the carefree childhood days. Add silly fun toys to the care package. These are also great for stress relief. 

striped small beach ball, modeling clay and colorful paddle ball game.

Include Gifts for Roommates

3 colorful balls and 3 mini rubber ducks.
3 co

Be sure to include gifts for your college student’s roommates. It can be tough to watch a roommate receive a care package when you haven’t. Including some gifts for roommates is thoughtful. It allows your student to be generous and thoughtful in sharing those gifts you include. 

turquoise Cratejoy banner with text reading 100's of College Care Packages in One Place.

Coloring Book 

Coloring always brings back happy childhood memories and is such a relaxing activity. Coloring books are a great stress buster and provides hours of peaceful activity that gives your brain a rest while you create. Include colored pencils or crayons to complete the relaxing gift

My friend, Darlene at Let It Shine has created over ten coloring books for adults. She creates coloring images for mindful meditation and stress relief. Her books range in topics from dogs to cats to Christmas to inspirational quotes and more. Be sure to check out her coloring books on Amazon.

coloring book and colored pencils.

Practical But Still Fun Items

Think about practical items that your college student may need and won’t think to purchase. Even practical items can be fun. Look for bright, happy colors or fun names or packaging. 

cleaning sponges, sticky notes and pens on white table.

Reminder of Pets

square pillow with picture of a dog.

Both of my daughters commented after their freshman year on how strange it was to never see a dog on campus. And, of course, they both miss our dog, Lila. Your college student will miss her pets, too. Send a photo of your pet or your student with their pet. I found these adorable pet pillows on Etsy. They’re very well made, beyond adorable and perfect for cuddling. 


Include treats that your college student will enjoy. Consider health issues, allergies, food restrictions and food preferences. Choose fun treats tailored for your college student’s specific likes. And consider sending him extra to share with roommates and friends.  

gum and candy on white table.

I’ve shared some of my favorite cookie, brownie and bars recipes here in the past. Be sure to check out my tips on how to package brownies for shipping so that your baked goods arrive whole and fresh. 

If you’re not a baker, these are truly delicious cookies that are a great option (and that I eat (almost) every day!).

I’m off to mail a college care package to each of my daughters. Who do you know that would appreciate these care package ideas? You’ll make a college student’s day (and week) when you send them a college care package that shows them how much they’re missed. 

See all of my care package ideas in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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  1. What a neat idea to include letters from other friends and family also! I really like the idea of including gifts for the roommates. It would be hard to see someone receiving these great care packages, and never getting one yourself. Just like last night, my son was packing his snack for school and he said his friend often doesn’t have a snack so he shares his with him. I told him to go ahead and bring an extra snack so his friend can have one too.

  2. Your care packages are so obviously packed with love, the most important ingredient! I love that pillow! How wonderful to have something to hug when your fur buddy isn’t around. šŸ™‚

    1. You get me, Wendy. šŸ™‚ I miss my “babies” so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud of them and excited for them, but I miss them.

  3. You have always created such great care packages. It seems to be a real talent for you. I know your babies appreciate them.

    1. You know me well, Cynthia, and know it’s my way of showing them how much they’re loved. (and distract myself by keeping busy šŸ™‚ )

  4. Thanks for going over some ideas for care packages. I’m glad you mentioned it could be good to pack practical items that are still fun. It could be a fun time to find some strange items that are still practical.

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