Make the Best Care Package Ever: 11 Awesome Ideas

Updated: Feb. 08, 2017

Send someone special a little love-in-a-box with these fun and practical ideas.


The Personalized Package

If it won’t make them homesick, tuck a few meaningful-just-to-them items in your care package: maybe family snapshots, a dried flower or leaf from the back yard, or something of yours your kid would love to borrow while away, like a piece of costume jewelry or a special pen.

Source: The Stir


The Drug-Store Dream Box

Personal hygiene
essentials tend to run out when it’s least convenient for busy students. They’ll appreciate basics in a care package like toothpaste, facial tissues, contact lens solution, and shampoo—one mom swears by razor blades, because as her college-age son reminds her, they’re too expensive for his budget—as well as little splurge items like flavored lip balm, a rollerball perfume, or a cologne sample.

Source: SheKnows


The Kitchen Cupboard Kit

Consider snacks, like granola bars, microwave popcorn, and hot chocolate mixes, as well as more
substantial mini-meals—such as instant oatmeal and soup—for rushed
mornings and missed dining hall dinners. Mints and gum are always welcome in a care package too.

Source: SheKnows


The Cold-Care Kit

With all those crowded classrooms and jam-packed dorms, the spread of
colds and flu is nearly inevitable on campus. Send along facial tissue pocket
packs, cold medicine, herbal tea, and cough drops in a care package to help soothe your sick kid
from afar.

Source: Oprah


The Just-Like-This Gift

Sure, you could just
send money, but college kids aren’t known for making the wisest choices when
cash is burning a hole in their pocket. A better idea to give them gift cards
to stores and restaurants in a care package—er, email. Choose big-box retailers like Target or Walmart,
coffee or sandwich chains like Starbucks, Subway, and Panera, and local
establishments like the college bookstore.

Source: The Stir

istock/essenin quijada

The Toy Store Surprise

Your kid might seem grown-up—but a fun, nostalgic toy still makes for an excellent care package idea. Add Silly Putty, a Slinky, water guns, or cards, and they’ll be showing the whole dorm their loot.

istock/rami halim

The Bake-Sale Box

Whether it’s
homemade cookies, a treat from the town bakery, or Girl Scout cookies, a care package isn’t complete without a sweet treat. Pack items tightly in a plastic container (fill in extra space with clean paper towels) and then wrap with bubble wrap.


The Away-From-Home Holiday

Festive accessories are surprisingly welcome and uplifting for a kid away from home for the first time; this care package idea is also nice to send in anticipation of your kid coming home for the holidays. Keep items small, like a desktop Christmas tree, a
mini-menorah, and Easter baskets or Halloween pumpkins filled with candy. Seasonally themed lights, like orange for Halloween or green for St. Patrick’s Day, are also fun.

Source: Oprah


The All-Better Box

Make a mini first-aid care package by filling a tin with adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, and pain
relievers, or purchase a ready-made kit at the

Source: SheKnows


The Clean Genie

Dorms get dusty and stale-smelling fast, and the novelty of a care package might encourage your student to give her room a quick clean. Pack some multi-surface spray, paper
towels, dusting cloths, and electronics cleaner, and throw in a bottle of air
freshener for good measure.

Source: The Stir

istock/Kristian Septimius

Bonus: Wrap It Up

Finally, think outside of the box for shipping your goodies. Go low-key and decorate your care package with stickers and funny sayings, or fill the box with colorful packing paper. Wrap each item individually for a birthday present feel, or put little sticky notes on items with the reason you picked them (“I saw this strawberry gum and thought about how it’s your favorite flavor!”).

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest