100+ Wonderfully Thoughtful Ideas for a College Care Package

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The Best DIY College Care Package Ideas

Trying to figure out what to put in a college care package?

You’ve come to the right place for tons of ideas your college student will love!

an opened college care package on a white background

Care packages are a great way to show someone you miss them, and that you’re thinking about them. I like to think of them as a hug in parcel.


Surprise mail from home can help college kids feel a little less homesick. Feel good items, like homemade treats, are just what the doctor ordered.

Ideas for a college care package don’t need to be complicated or fancy. Making someone’s day (or week) is not only worth the effort, but also super easy.

In this post, we’ll cover:


What should I include?

When it comes to students, keep in mind:

Kids who are away at college aren’t well established adults, yet. So sending a few everyday necessities can make a huge difference in their life.


A of pack a razors or a box dryer sheets are simply one less thing your child has to spend money on. For broke college student’s, that’s a quite a relief and much appreciated!

You may not be able to pay for tuition, but a care package can go a long way. The best care packages have a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.


When picking out fun things for your recipient, don’t forget to include a few practical items. All those little things we take for granted can really improve a college students life!

To help you get started, here are over 100 care package ideas for college students.

Related Video – Little Box of Sunshine College Care Package Tutorial


100+ Ideas for a College Care Package

woman relaxing on a bed with self care items

 Self Care 

College can be pretty stressful, right?

A self care routine can ease some of that stress. That’s why these are awesome inclusions for care packages.

 1.  Scrunchies – yes, scunchies are back in style!

 2.  Mud Mask – this is the only mud mask anyone needs.

 3.  Sheet Masks 

 4.  Epsom Salt

 5.  Bath Bomb – try these easy DIY instructions to make your own.

 6.  Sugar Scrub

 7.  Microfiber Hair Wrap this one has been amazing for my needs!

 8.  CBD Infused Lotion, Balm, or Salve – nice to have for easing tension and stress.

 9.  Nail Polish

 10.  Neck Pillow – when there’s downtime in between classes, students often stay on campus. A neck pillow will make it easier for them to take a nap while they wait.

 11.  Multivitamins

 12.  Hair, Skin & Nails Vitamins this brand works just as well as the trendy Instagram brands, only without the price markup.

a pair of feet wearing pink fuzzy slippers


Give your student the warm fuzzies inside and out with one of these pleasant ideas.

 13.  Heated Blanket

 14.  Snuggie – it’s not the most fashionable thing in the world, but it sure is cozy.

 15.  Lounge Wear – like sweats or pajama pants.

 16.  Slippers

a loaf of homemade bread on a white table

Snacks & Treats 

There’s just nothing like mom’s 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 student’s 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, and often don’t have much to cook with. So, they value convenient snacks.

Here are some popular snack and food ideas:

 17.  Kind bars

 18.  Protein bars

 19.  RXBARS – an awesome snack, but not always something a student can afford to buy.

 20.  Larabars

 21.  Cliff Bars

 22.  Boom Chicka Pop – this is my favorite bagged popcorn. It’s super yummy and healthier than most others.

 23.  Microwave Popcorn

 24.  Instant Oatmeal Cups – this kind is packed with protein.

 25.  Brookside Chocolates – it’s better to send chocolate (and other foods that can melt) when the weather is cooler.

 26.  Jerky or Jerky Bars 

 27.  Squeezable Applesauce – not just for kids! These pouches are perfect for throwing in a backpack before a long day on campus.

 28.  Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookies

 29.  Barkthins – delicious, but they can melt in transit if it’s too hot out.

 30.  Pumpkin seeds

 31.  Fruit snacks

 32.  Dried Chili Mangos – if you haven’t tried these before, you’re missing out! Look for them at Trader Joe’s.

 33.  Fruit Leather

 34.  Portable Soup – quick to warm up in a microwave and so nice to have in the winter months.

 35.  Nut Butter Packets – an easy way to enjoy peanut butter without a spoon.

 36.  Dang Coconut Chips – hands down, these are the BEST coconut chips.

 37.  Cheddar Crisps a perfect snack idea if your college kid is following a keto diet.

 38.  Granola

 39.  Pretzel Crisps

 40.  Harvest Snaps

 41.  Popchips

 42.  Seaweed Snacks – healthy, nutritious, and great for on-the-go.

 43.  Nuts

 44.  Pocky

 45.  Candy – your student’s favorite kind can really brighten their day! Theater box candy like this is the perfect addition for a care package.

 46.  Gum or mints

 Homemade Food Ideas 

 47.  Cereal Bars – check out these awesome recipes!

 48.  No Bake Cookies

 49.  Homemade Bread – such as banana, zucchini, or Amish Friendship bread.

 50.  Trail Mix

 51.  Rice Krispie Treats

 52.  Banana Chips – all you need is an oven to make them!

a tea bag with a red tag


For many, coffee is a must on class days. However, not everyone drinks coffee.

But everyone likes to sip on something other than water.

These drink ideas are easy to send in the mail:

 53.  Hot cocoa

 54.  Tea

 55.  Instant Coffee – like Starbucks VIA packets.

 56.  Mio

 57.  Crystal Light

 58.  Hawaiian Punch Packets

 59.  Mug – if you’re including some drinks, why not a special mug to go with it?

 60.  Insulated tumbler – help keep those drinks hot or cold all day long! Hydro Flask tumblers always have the best color options and they’re incredibly durable.

an adult coloring page with flowers

 Fun Things 

A little something fun is a welcome sight in a care package from home!

 61.  Adult Coloring Book – college students get a kick out of adult coloring books. They’re even good for relieving stress.

 62.  Bubble Wrap – for popping!

 63.  Slime

 64.  Stress Ball – this squishy cat is a super cute pick.

 65.  Hammock – perfect for relaxing around campus or for impromptu adventures.

 66.  Portable Speaker

 67.  Wireless Earbuds

 68.  Shirt from their College or Favorite Team

 69.  Ugly Christmas sweater near the holidays – see what you can find at a thrift store!

small potted succulent held up by a woman's hand


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. That’s why decor and other things for their room are thoughtful care package ideas for college students.

 70.  Air Fresheners – such as Glade, scented beads, essential oil spray or a diffuser. Most dorms don’t allow candles.

 71.  Poo-pourri – a funny little gift for bathroom trips.

 72.  Childhood Pictures – plus, double-sided tape to hang them!

 73.  Pocket Printer – so a college student can print pictures from their phone.

 74.  String lights

 75.  Felt Letter Board – put a funny message on it before mailing your college care package!

 76.  Cinema Light Box

 77.  Macrame – this kind of wall decor has come back into style and is very trendy right now.

 78.  Fake plants – the Dollar Store actually has some pretty cute ones.

 79.  Succulents

 80.  Air Plants – like succulents, these plants are hardy and easy to take care of.

 81.  Cactus

 82.  Small Salt Lamp – it’s the perfect size for a small dorm room!

 83.  Blackout Curtains

 84.  Holiday Decorations

a girl reading a book in bed

Good Books 

A book is something that can bring them enjoyment in their spare time.

You could send one that’s been on their reading wish list for a long time.


If this is their freshman year, 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:

 85.  175+ Things to Do Before You Graduate College

 86.  College Hacks

 87.  Stuff Every College Student Should Know (Stuff You Should Know)

 88.  The Freshman Survival Guide

a bar f handmade soap

Personal Care 

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:

Practical essentials like these are always appreciated in a care package!

 88.  Razors

 89.  Deodorant

 90.  Favorite Body Wash or Soap – my mom sent me Method body wash on my birthday and I loved the gift!

 91.  Makeup Wipes – communal bathrooms can be a pain, but makeup wipes make cleaning up easier.

laundry basket full of converse shoes


Even cleaning supplies can feel spendy when you’re on a college budget.

I think this is a good opportunity to send something that smells like home. Clothing freshly laundered in Gain brings up nostalgic memories for me.

 92.  Tide-to-go – this stuff is a life saver and a personal must-have at college.

 93.  Wet Ones

 94.  Disinfecting Wipes – students are more likely to clean when it’s quick and easy.

 95.  Laundry Pods

 96.  Laundry Scent Boosters – choose a scent that reminds them of home!

 97.  Dryer Sheets or Dryer balls

 98.  Wrinkle Release Spray – no iron needed when you have this spray handy.

 99.  Keychain Hand Sanitizer

glasses, tissues and a mug sitting together

 Get Well Items 

Maybe your child is feeling a little under the weather. Or maybe you just want to help them not get sick.

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

 100.  Bandaids

 101.  Yin Chiao – I swear by this stuff, it prevents sickness during cold & flu season.

 102.  Cough Drops

 103.  Tissues

 104.  Emergen-C – a little vitamin C can go a long way for boosting an immune system.

 105.  Lip Balm

 106.  Medicine – such as Excedrin, Tums, Rolaids, etc.

 107.  Extra Warm Socks

 108.  Anything else special that comforts your child when they’re sick 

school supplies for college

 School Supplies 

Is your college student well stocked on school supplies?

Running out of paper while finishing an assignment is the last thing any student wants to happen.

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

 109.  Pens & Pencils

 110.  Planner – time management is something college students struggle with, but a planner is a big help.

 111.  Highlighters

 112.  Notebook Paper

 113.  Notebooks

 114.  Index flash cards

 115.  Sticky Notes – the flag variety are especially useful for studying.

 116.  Sharpies

woman holding a black purse on her forearm

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

 117.  Pepper Spray

 118.  Stun Gun

 119.  Self Defense Keychain – I keep this one on my own keys, I like it because it’s metal and sturdy.

a speaker and a phone charging near an outlet

 Other Useful Things 

Last are some college care packages ideas to use if you want to make your gift extra special.

 120.  Tile – a great little gadget for finding items that might get lost. Like keys, a wallet, a backpack, and more.

 121.  Charging Station Perch – it offers extra outlets, it’s surge protected, and it has a spot to hold phones while they charge.

 122.  Extra Long Charging Cable – outlets are never as close to the bed as students would hope.

 123.  Cash or Gift Cards – it might be a little “boring”, but all college students can use money or a gift card. It doesn’t need to be a lot! An extra 10 bucks can make a world of difference in a college budget.


a brown package being handed to a woman from a man

Conclusions on College Care Packages Ideas 

Those are just some care package ideas for college students. But I’m sure you know of even more.

Feel free to share in the comments some of your favorite items to send or receive!


More gift ideas for college students:


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What to Put in a Care Package

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  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,

  2. Wow! This is a great read. I now have a list of care packages to get for my son when he finally goes off to college all thanks to you.