13 College Care Package Ideas That Will Bring Smiles to Student’s Faces

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13 College Care Package Ideas That'll a Bring Smile to Their Face

Care packages are a great way to show someone you miss them and you’re thinking about them.

Coming up with care package ideas…

Well, that can leave even the most creative person a little stumped when trying to put together the perfect hug in a parcel.


If you’re thinking about putting a care package together and need ideas of what to put in it, then good news!

You’re in the right place to get TONS of great ideas.

As an added bonus:

Care packages can help alleviate some feelings of homesickness for college students. Feel good items, like homemade treats or a knitted scarf, are just what the doctor ordered.

There’s something else that can greatly benefit students, too. Something that may not come to mind immediately when thinking of care package ideas…

And, that something is simply – expensive necessities.

They’re not items a well established adult might ask for as a gift, but trust me college kids will LOVE you for these.


If you send them a pack a razors or  dryer sheets, that’s just one less thing a broke student has to spend their limited money on. And that can be a HUGE relief.

You may not be able to pay their tuition, but a care package can go a long way in helping students feel at ease and stretch their budget.


When picking out fun or cute things for your care package recipient, don’t forget to grab a few practical items as well. All those little things we take for granted can make a big difference in a college students life!

And if you don’t have a lot of time to put together a care package…

Opt for a pre-made one instead.

I recently learned that college care packages services like this exist and I had to share!

care package ideas

I mean:

Who wouldn’t fawn over receiving this Spa Day Care Package? It’s got lots of great goodies in it.

You can even add a personalized message to these care packages, which makes them extra sweet. ?

17 Care Package Ideas for College Students

1. Personal Care Items

First and foremost:

When you move on your own, there can be many things you simply forget when packing.

Or as college student, there can be items you may not be able to afford at the moment. If you’re short on money, buying floss is bound to be low on your list of priorities.

That’s why:

It’s ALWAYS nice to get personal care essentials in a care package! For the sender it may not seem very exciting, but for a struggling college student personal care items can be very useful to receive.

Here are some care package ideas to include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Air Freshers
  • Hair Ties
  • Bobby Pins
  • Mascara
  • Eyeliner

2. Laundry Supplies


Its one of those unavoidable chores in life. It’s also another “not fun” but practical thing to consider adding to a college care package.


Well, because laundry detergent can be a big expense on a college budget.

Help your student out by providing them with enough laundry soap to last a semester!

Laundry pods are easier to ship than liquid detergent, plus they’re easy to use and easy to carry to the laundry mat.


A box of dryers sheets is lighter (less expensive to mail), but would still be VERY much appreciated.

If you have used the same brand of detergent in your home for a long time, consider sending that particular brand. It’ll remind your college student of home every time they smell their freshly laundered clothes.

2. Room/Apartment Decor

care package ideas

It’s no secret that dorm room walls are boring and bland!


Those who are in their first apartment may be lacking in the decoration department, as well.

Help spruce up their room by visiting your local dollar store and picking up some fun seasonal items they can decorate with.

Take it a step further by sending a lightbox or a set of dreamy string lights. They are SUPER popular and trendy with young adults who are decorating.

The best part is:

They don’t cost much and they are light, making including them in a care package easy.

3. An Adult Coloring Book or Two

College can be pretty stressful, right?


A lot of people find that simply coloring helps reduce their stress levels.

Toss in a neat Adult Coloring Book or two into your college care package and you’re bound to get a big smile from the recipient.

Don’t forget the coloring pencils, too!

4. Drink Mixes

care package ideas

I’m talking about drink mixes for beverages like coffee and hot chocolate.

You can send instant coffee like Starbucks Via – no brewing needed.


For students who aren’t coffee drinkers, hot chocolate and tea are nice to have on cold days, as well.


During warmer days, coffee and tea can easily be converted into iced drinks!

While we are talking about drinks…

Why not add in an insulated tumbler to your college care package, too?

It’ll keep the drinks at the intended temperature for a long time while they are running around campus.

5. School Supplies

Is your college student well stocked on school supplies?

The last thing a student wants to happen is to run out of paper while finishing an assignment at the last minute.

If you send school supplies, I guarantee you that they will find a use for it! If not them, then at least a friend who is in need.

Care package ideas include:

  • Pens & Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Notebook Paper
  • Notebooks
  • Sticky Notes
  • Sharpies

6. Headphones

Just about everyone loves music, which is why including a pair of headphones in a care package is sure to be a hit!

A college student may put up with a janky pair of earbuds for a long time before shelling out the money for a better set.

Surprise them with a better pair, it’s unexpected but totally appreciated.

Headphones are a simple gift that every student can use!

7. Pictures

care package ideas
Via Pinterest @kaybabe2k16

Pictures are next up on my list of care package ideas!

College students may have phones full of pictures, but not necessarily any physical ones.

Art gallery walls are a popular way to decorate dorm rooms. It’s as simple as sticking favorite memories on the wall, but you need some pictures to work with to get started!

Send some photos you have at home (like ones of a beloved family pet), or even let them print their own photos with a pocket printer.


Think about sending command strips if you send a picture frame! Just so it can be hung without damaging the walls.

Another thing to consider:

You could also send handmade art or wall art like this “Dorm Sweet Dorm” printable.

8. Personal Safety Devices 

I know we all don’t like to think of the safety risks of our friends or family at college…

But, there is still the possibility for something to go wrong.

Help your college student be prepared for the worst by including a personal safety device in a care package.

Better than safe, than sorry! Even if it is just for your own peace of mind.

A self defense cat keychain, pepper spray or even a stun gun is small enough to carry around without being a hassle, yet still gets the job done in an emergency.

I keep this this one on my own keys;, I like it because it’s metal and sturdy.

9. Snacks & Goodies

care package ideasThere’s just nothing like moms cooking…

Especially when you’re far away from home and away at college!

Snacks and goodies are just one of those care package ideas you can’t go wrong with.

Know your students favorite snack?

Throw some in!

Are there any special homemade treats only you can make?

Those would be perfect.

College students are on the go and busy, so they value convenient snacks. So, when putting together your care package think snacks like:

  • Cereal & Granola Bars
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Gummy Candy
  • Nuts
  • Protein Bars
  • Jerky
  • Gum & Mints

These are all things they want, but probably don’t always have the extra money to buy.

Or, make it easy on yourself:

And go with a snack pack variety box. It would be nice to have those on hand to share with pals during late night, group study sessions.

10. A Good Book

Not textbooks for class, but something that can enjoy or learn from in their spare time.

You could send a book that has been on their reading wish list for a long time.


If they are a college freshman, you may want to send a book that offers them guidance. This can help ease nerves about college and make the transition smoother.

Here are a few good books I recommend:

11. Get Well Items

care package ideas
Via PositivelyStacey.com

Next up on my list of care package ideas – get well items.

This would include:

  • Bandaids
  • Cough drops
  • Tissues
  • Teas
  • Lip blam
  • Excedrin, Tums, Rolaids, etc.
  • Instant Soups
  • Anything else you may need when you feel sick.

No one likes to go to the store when they are sick, especially if you don’t have a lot of money. Having these things on hand will help a college student out BIG time.

Check out what Positively Stacy included in her College Get-Well & Stay-Well Care Package here or find out how to make your own DIY first aid kit with Dollar Store items here.

12. A Portable Speaker

Let’s back pedal to the subject of music real quick.

When you have the freedom to blast music:

It makes studying or cleaning SO much more enjoyable. Which is why a Bluetooth speaker would be a great surprise from home!


These days Portable Speakers are pretty affordable.

And don’t worry, this isn’t an item that will just become clutter. It’ll be used quite often!

13. Cash or Gift Cards

Another sort of “boring” item for care packages is money. Or gift cards!

All college students can use money or a gift card. It’s just a fact.


It doesn’t need to be a lot. An extra 10 bucks can make a world of difference in a college budget.

Going the gift card route, you could pick places to grab a burger or just do a store that carries everything like Walmart, Target, etc.

Either way:

It’s money they don’t have to spend, so they’ll really appreciate it!

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Got any other care package ideas?

Leave a comment with your own item ideas!


I'm Jen, one of the co-founders of College Life Made Easy: a lifestyle blog that focuses on helping students navigate college life on topics of finance, organization, dorm living and more.

  1. I am so happy I have come across this post. Thank you for sharing all you have learned! They are some wonderful ideas and I really want to try the get well kit and more. Thank you again,

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