Ideas for College Care Packages

Baking tips, mailing snafus and everything in between

Getting ready to mail a care package to your favorite college student or loved one far from home? Here's everything parents need to know, from baking to packing and mailing. Make it yourself or buy it online and have it sent - either way, your young adult away from home for the first time will be happy to get something special in the mail from you.

  • 01 of 10

    Mailing Tips

    care package

    The best care packages include baked goods, but finding recipes that are sturdy enough to travel can be a challenge. Between the lag time in the college mail room and the delay until your child finally gets around to reading the school's e-mailed announcement that there's a package waiting - and goes to pick it up - it can be days before those lovingly baked goodies are finally opened. Check out packing and mailing tips here.

  • 02 of 10

    Wondering what to pack? The best care packages are laden with cookies, whimsy, and plenty of love, from cozy socks to silly (but practical) toiletries and quirky gifts. And, of course, cookies. Because no one wants to get a care package from home without cookies!

  • 03 of 10

    A College Care Package Gift Certificate

    girl with gift

    If you're looking for a perfect graduation gift, the promise of care packages adds charm and love to any gift. Give a few coupons - these are printable - for care packages for freshman year. Then mark your calendar so you'll remember!

  • 04 of 10
    healthy snacks

    Finals week needs a different approach. Instead of sending cookies, which send blood sugar skyward, then crashing to earth, send a healthful assortment of things. Make your own bread, send dried fruits and nuts, some beef jerky and you've got a variety of tasty and good-for-you study snacks.

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  • 05 of 10
    woman baking

    When you host a "Care Package Cookie Exchange," you're not just getting pretty treats, you're socializing with friends going through the same empty nest/emotional leave-taking. And for college kids, the box that eventually arrives on campus says it's not just you who misses him. It's the whole neighborhood. Here's how to host a cookie exchange, which can easily translate into a care package party with a few simple additional items, including packaging supplies,...MORE mailing labels and lots of tape.

  • 06 of 10
    birthday cake

    You may not be there for your child's first birthday away from home, but that doesn't mean you can't send a celebration. Here's the scoop on how to ship birthday cakes. Ask your young adult to send you a few smartphone photos of the celebration, or even a few minutes of FaceTime, if he or she is willing! 

  • 07 of 10
    fuzzy socks

    Help your college kid turn his or her dorm room into a cozy nest by sending a college themed fleece blanket. When it starts to get chilly, a snuggly soft wrap is the perfect gift to get from home. If you want to sneak in a few pair of warm socks, that would be good too. Be sure to get socks in school colors!

  • 08 of 10
    banana bread

    Beat mail room delays by packing sturdy, long lasting baked goods and quick breads. A moist little loaf of banana peanut butter bread will arrive looking - and tasting - as perfect as when it left. Make a few loaves at a time and freeze them. Then when you want to send a last minute gift you'll have the perfect thing waiting for you.

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  • 09 of 10

    Every dorm room has a microwave, so why not send a package filled with easy to make microwaveable food? Start with the obvious - popcorn and soup, for example - but there are lots of other great ideas for easy, quick meals. Brown rice comes in microwaveable packages, and there are individual cakes that can be made in the microwave in minutes. 

  • 10 of 10
    twinkle lights

    Liven up the dorm with a few fun, silly decorations for windows, doors and more. Twinkle lights are always a fun choice, and with battery operated ones available they can go anywhere. Send holiday decorations for Halloween, Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine's Day...any holiday will do.