Sunshine Box College Care Package

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Wondering what to send to your favorite college student? A sunshine box college care package is perfect for any person and any situation. With these 50+ yellow gift ideas and tips for making the care package, you’re sure to win the best care package award.

While we call it a college care package, really it’s a great idea for a military care package or for anyone.

top image - person handing another a box, bottom image - sunshine box contents with title text reading yellow care package ideas

I went to college 10 airplane flight hours away from home. Yes, all the way from Hawai’i to Pennsylvania! I know firsthand how much of a pick-me-up it was to receive a care package from home.

I’m about to send my third child to college and have sent about 50 care packages to my children, family and friends’ children. This is just to let you know that I’ve got this college care package thing pretty much down to a successful (and happy) science.

Plus, it’s just so much fun to put a care package together. I’m never sure exactly who has more fun, me or the recipient.

What is a sunshine box?

  • A sunshine box is a care package filled with yellow themed items.
  • The color yellow is chosen:
    • Because it’s happy, cheerful color
    • It immediately shares the connotation that the gift is filled with sunshine and happiness
    • Ever since the 70’s the yellow ribbon and even the color yellow has been associated with missing someone (even though it is most often associated with military members and families, it can also be used with anyone you miss).
    • Yellow and sunshine brings the song “You Are My Sunshine” to mind and most of us remember it being sung to us as children.
  • Having a yellow theme guides you in choosing the items you include and in decorating the box.
mailing box of yellow gift items

Sunshine Box College Care Package

Any care package is always a hit with a college student, but a themed box just makes it that much more festive. A sunshine box is perfect for any gender, any college and any situation. Who wouldn’t love receiving a box of sunshine and knowing that you care enough to make and send it?

Once you get started, it’s easy (and a whole of fun) to come up with box of sunshine ideas and all kinds of yellow gifts that are perfect for college students.

What you need to make a sunshine box

Sturdy mailing box

Yellow paper, paint, markers and or stickers to decorate the box

Yellow food items – Look for individually packaged items and items that are easy to store in a dorm room

  • Snack chips & popcorn – you can never have enough snacks
  • Crackers – perfect as a snack or lunch on a busy day
  • Yellow Candy – there are many different choices
  • Drink packets
  • Gum – easy to share with roommates
  • Breakfast foods – look for individually packaged options
  • Salty snacks like nuts – there are never too many snacks in college
  • Cookies & sweet treats – something to look forward to
  • Easy-to-make dinner items – for those all-night study sessions
  • Teas – for a soothing distraction

Personal care items that are yellow or with yellow packaging

  • Toothbrush
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Tissues
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Shower gel
  • Towel
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Face soap
  • Cotton swaps
  • Moisturizer
  • Loofah sponge or washcloth

mailing box of yellow gift items

Office supplies that are yellow

Yellow Room decorations

rows of yellow rubber ducks

Yellow gifts that are fun activities or quirky items

A personal card – Share special memories and good wishes with your college student. You can get 6 free yellow box of sunshine printables here.

6 notecards with yellow text and images

How to make a yellow college care package step-by-step

  • Decorate the outside of the box with yellow stripes or stickers.
    • Add yellow stripes to the outside of the box.
    • Draw yellow suns on the box.
    • Add yellow smiley faces to the box.
    • Add yellow stickers to the box
      • Cheerful stickers
      • Stickers about topics that interest the college student
  • Decorate the inside of the box with yellow paper.
    • You can glue the paper to the inside of the box.
    • Or place yellow tissue paper in the box and then the gift items within the tissue paper.
  • Consider the recipient’s personal preferences and interests.
    • First create a list of items that the college student will appreciate and then look for versions that are yellow or come in yellow packaging.
    • Look for unexpected fun items that are yellow to include.
  • Think about including enough items that your student can share with roommates and friends.
    • This makes your care package a double gift.
    • The student appreciates receiving the gift.
    • The student feels good sharing with friends.
  • Add a personal handwritten card or note.
    • Consider adding several cards that can be opened one a day or one each week.
    • Ask other family members and friends to write cards to be included in the care package.

What makes a sunshine box care package great?

  • A care package is always a great idea!
  • A sunshine box makes receiving a gift a bit more fanciful and fun.
  • It reminds your college student in a concrete way that you care about and are thinking about them.
  • It can help your student by saving money and time, they may not have to go shopping for the items you include.

Frequently Asked Questions about College Care Packages

What are good items for a care package?

Items that will save the student time and money. Items that bring back a happy shared memory. Items that are fun and silly. Items that encourage creativity, like crayons and a coloring book. Items that encourage interaction with friends, like a frisbee. Items, like a jump rope, that encourage burning off energy and stress. Items that are pampering, such as favorite foods, nail polish or skin care.

What do college students need the most?

Think of the items that everyone needs but no one enjoys going out shopping for: personal care items, cleaning items, office items, basic clothing items.

What do college students like to eat?

Of course, each student has their own personal preferences and if you don’t know some of their favorite foods, you should ask. But in general, choose foods that are shelf stable, easy to store and easy to prepare with limited kitchen space and utensils.

Looking for more college care package inspiration?

Be sure to pin this sunshine box for college care package ideas so you can find them again whenever you need inspiration.

sunshine box filled with yellow gift items with title text overlay reading yellow care package ideas
See all my tips, ideas, printables and care packages in the table below.

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