Originally published August 29, 2016 and updated on May 14, 2022.
When you’re looking for the perfect care packages for college students, these more than 47 college care package ideas to make or to purchase will help you find the perfect gift idea for your special student. I’ve sent three of my “babies” off to college and sending them college care packages is how I show them how much we miss and love them.
I enjoy creating fun and unique college care package ideas as a way to surprise my babies, make them smile and to distract me (if only briefly) from how much I miss them. Creative care package ideas make a fun college care package that your favorite college student will be thrilled to receive.
How to Make a College Care Package
The best college care package ideas are those that play to your student’s favorite things.
- What Are Your Student’s Particular Interests?
- Hobbies & interests
- Pets or Animals
- Sports Teams
- Favorite Movies & Actors
- Favorite Books & Authors
- Favorite books
- Favorite Music
- Home City or State
- College Colors
- Hobbies & interests
- What Are Any Limitations You Need to Consider in What Can Be Sent?
- Are there any school limitations to what items the student can receive?
- When can the student pick up packages?
- This impacts what kind of homemade baked goods you send.
- What can the student store in the room.
- This impacts what types of food items you send.
- What Seasonal Inspiration Can Help Create the Care Package?
- The First Month of College
- Temperature-Related Ideas
- College Finals
- My Secrets to a Guaranteed Hit Care Package
- Always send a silly or childhood related item
- Always send enough to share with roommates and friends
- Send items they need packaged in a fun, unique way
- How Can You Best Pack the Care Package to Survive Shipment?
- Carefully pack homemade baked goods so they arrive intact
- Take individually-packages items out of the box to make more room
Best Care Packages to Purchase
Subscription boxes can be purchased as a one-time gift box. You aren’t required to sign up for a recurring subscription.
- Best Geeky Subscription Boxes for nerds and gamers.
- Best Monthly Book Subscription Boxes
- Care Packages for College Students – 20 of the best care packages for college students to let them know you’re thinking about them. Gifts in 3 categories: food, tea & coffee, and general.
Food Care Package – More than 25 of the best food care packages. Ideas in 3 food categories for college students, military members, family and friends.
Best Candy Subscription Boxes – The 16 best candy subscription boxes to give as a one-time or monthly gift. The best boxes for every occasion and candy preference.
- Best Subscription Boxes for Men
- Best Subscription Boxes for Women
- Relax and Breathe – A quarterly subscription box filled with items to help you unwind, decompress, and make you smile
- Fit Lifestyle Box – Best monthly fitness subscription box.
- Laurel & Reed – Luxury beauty & skincare subscription box featuring non-toxic, all-natural and cruelty-free items.
- Fruit for Thought – Scented Flavored and Colored Gifts with a different fruit theme each month.
- FabFitFun – Quarterly women’s lifestyle subscription box!
- Gift Card Care Package
- You can send gift cards directly via email to your favorite student.
- You can purchase gift cards and wrap them in creative ways to send as a care package.
- Gift card ideas:
- Grocery store
- Fast food
- Streaming service
- Amazon gift card
- Favorite restaurant
- Food delivery
- Movie theater
- Uber or Lyft
College Care Package Ideas
College Care Package Basics
- Care Package Ideas for the First College Care Package – Tips and college care package ideas from an experienced fellow college mom for the first college care package of the year.
- What to Put in a College Care Package – A simple outline of the most popular categories of care package items, along with a couple of time saving tips.
- Making a College Care Package – I share tips I’ve learned from making over 50 college care packages.
- First College Care Package of the Year – Wondering what to do now that you’re missing your college student? Surprise them the first college care package of the year.
Ideas for care package contents:
- Healthy snacks & favorite snacks
- Favorite homemade cookies or treats
- Games to play with friend and roommates
- Board games
- Personal care products
- Soap & body wash
- Toothbrush, floss & toothpaste
- Disposable razors & shaving cream
- Hand sanitizer
- Lip balm
- Feminine hygiene items
- First aid kit supplies
- Cold medicine & cough drops
- Dorm room maintenance supplies
- Air fresheners
- Trash bags
- Favorite junk food
- Hot cocoa, tea, coffee (instant coffee if they don’t have a coffee maker) & energy drinks
- Laundry supplies
- Laundry detergent
- Dryer sheets
- Quarters (if the machines still take quarters)
- Convenient food items
- Protein bars & granola bars
- Microwave popcorn
- Individual servings of snacks and dinner items
- Fun and favorite things
- Nail polish & makeup
- Cozy socks
- Face mask
- Little things to share with roommates
Whenever possible include personalized or handmade items. Things like handmade treats, handwritten notes and cards from other family members and friends. Even pictures drawn by younger siblings can bring a smile to a homesick student.
Fall and Winter Care Packages
- Halloween Care Package – Bring back sweet, happy childhood memories with a Halloween care package.
- Holiday Decorating Care Package – Help them decorate their first home-away-from-home with this care package.
- Valentine’s Care Packages for College Students – Show your favorite student how much he or she is missed and loved by celebrating Valentine’s Day in a way that will be appreciated.
- How to Make to Make a Care Package for Valentine’s Day – Tips and ideas to make a special care package to celebrate Valentine’s Day for your student.
- Red College Care Package Idea – This college color-themed care package works perfectly as a Valentine’s Day care package, too.
Sick Care Packages
- College Care Package Idea – Cold & Allergy Season – Cold and allergy season is tough on anyone, but it can be even more difficult when you’re living on your own for the first time.
- Cold Season Essentials College Care Package – Your student may think they’re all grown up until they get sick for the first time out on their own in college. Send them just what they need to feel better soon.
Care Packages for Finals
- College Finals Care Package You Can Make Today – You’re busy, but want to show your college student you’re thinking of him or her. You can make this care package today and mail it out tomorrow
- College Finals Care Package – Show your support during the stressful finals season with a final exams themed care package.
- DIY Finals Test Treat – A simple-to-make treat to add to your college finals care package.
Spring Care Packages
- Spring College Care Package – Spring gives students hope that they’re actually going to survive the year, see the flowers bloom and hear the birds sing. Send a care packaging celebrating spring.
- Green College Care Package Idea – A green care package works for St. Patrick’s day or a college with green as its main color.
Color-themed Care Packages
- Red College Care Package Idea – It’s fun to celebrate with the college colors.
- Green College Care Package Idea – A green care package works for a college with green as its main color.
- College Gift Packages – Maroon and Gold – Cheer on your student at a school with maroon and gold.
- Sunshine Box College Care Package – A yellow-themed care package sure to bring sunshine and happiness to your student.
- Pink Care Package Ideas – 50 tips and ideas for making a pink care package they’ll love for any occasion.
Care Packages for Women
- College Care Package Ideas for Women – Pamper your female college student and her roommates, too.
- College Care Package for Women – Create a care package to meet a woman’s unique needs each month.
Care Packages for Guys
- College Care Package Ideas for Guys – Make a fun care package tailored to guys’ interests.
General Care Package Ideas
- Birthday Care Packages – 20 unique birthday care package ideas, including DIY & gift box ideas. Perfect for college students, military troops & long-distance friends & family.
- Unique College Care Package Idea – Cleaning Up – Create a fun-loving and practical college care package.
- Fun and Simple College Care Package – Send some carefree fun to help your student let go of some of that college stress.
- Cake in a Can – A fun way to send birthday cakes to your student.
- College Care Package – Personal Care Items Edition – No student wants to go shopping for personal care items. Surprise them with a care package stock full of exactly what they need, but don’t want to have to go buy.
- Heroic Habits Dental Care Package – Pamper your student and her or his teeth with this care package.
How to Package Brownies for Shipping – Home-baked treats are the foundation of any college care package. These tips will make sure brownies arrive whole and fresh.
Having received memorable care packages when I was in college, I promise that a little bit of effort spent in creating a fun care package for college students will make their day or week or month and will be remember for years to come.
Pin this College Care Package Ideas collection so that you can easily find it for inspiration in the future.
See all our favorite college care package ideas and more 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.