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care packages for college kids

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I want to put together some care packages for the college kids in our church. (1 guy and 4 gals).  I know that food is always a hit...but what else might be more fun than practical that I should include?  I think all of the girls are in dorms, except one and the guy I think is in an apartment.   Any thoughts or ideas, please send my way.  Thanks. 

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Make sure there are no allergies--dd is allergic to dairy so we couldn't use the college care package service😞

Really, some kids have no time, so I would say nix any movies or funny joke books. Just food and maybe something for their fridge (magnet?) or a card with something encouraging...

 

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When I sent care packages to my dd, the biggest hits were sometimes funny little surprises. Like, in one, I found this funny little pillow shaped like a cat’s head, with a cat’s face screen-printed on it. She loved that! Other fun things were: fuzzy socks, nail polish, cute school supplies, seasonal things. (Once, I made a pinecone into a tiny Christmas tree and sent that.) 

Gift cards to Starbucks, Subway and Amazon have also been constant hits for my girl and my boy. 

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knit gloves if they are where the weather will be turning cool.  the dollar store ones are good for transitional weather, and easily store in pockets.

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I've thought about this, but seriously the cost of postage has me searching Amazon for various things to just send with free shipping. I'd love to make cookies and ship them, but I don't want to pay $8 to ship them! 

Favorite so far was a 5 pound package of gummy worms just in time for a Halloween game night oldest was throwing. Weirded her out too because I enlisted several people to just randomly use the word "worm" in any communications to her. I did the same. She thought something was wrong with all of us.  She liked it when she opened the package. 

I did pick up some extra large Smarties rolls at the grocery store. They were only $0.25/each, so I thought that might be fun. I know they are corny!

 

Edited by Bambam
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When I was in college, my mother once randomly gifted me a pair of Valentines socks. I thought of her everytime I wore them and felt loved.

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My daughter would like cute socks, scrunchies, bobby pins because she loses them all the time, colored gel pens, little notepads, stickers even. 

My son is harder. Like socks; he wears the white socks from Costco unless he needs dark dress socks.  This week I am sending him some shelf-stable chocolate pudding because the dining halls don't have pudding!  I was stunned, really, no pudding? (Seems like such a staple to me.)  Also a spare set of earbuds, some Thinking Putty, a deck of cards and some other nonperishable foods.  His college is in a very small town and he has no car, so fast food gift cards are a waste. I could give him one to the local grocery store, lol, boring but utilitarian. I guess that describes my kid though. (Utilitarian tastes, not boring!)

Closer to Halloween, I plan to send some candy in case there is dorm trick or treating. Also when it cools down a bit, some favorite  homemade cookies.

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I think for those in the dorms, junk food for sure, regardless of the allergy situation.  If you accidentally send something they can't eat, there will most certainly be someone else in the hallway who will enjoy it!  I know my DD has already been hosting a group of kids to play some video games and being able to pull out a snack or bag of candy to share would be so awesome!

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Fuzzy socks, coffee gift cards, ear buds, junk food, fun pens.  Halloween stuff might be fun coming up.  

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By the way, OP, I think that is such a nice idea!  Whether or not everything is a perfect fit does not matter; surely some will be hits and if there are misses, it's great to share with other room/suite/housemates.

ETA: Lip balm!  Flavored for the girl, plain generic chap stick for the boy.  🙂

Edited by marbel
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In our experience:

Boys seemed to like protein bars a lot! 

Girls: little treats for purse like scented hand sanitizer, lotion, lip balm and fancy mints.  

A hit for both groups (an idea I got from this board) was to send a pan of brownies right in the foil pan w/a plastic knife on top then wrapped solidly in plastic wrap - fit right in the medium Priority Box.  

Yes, care packages were pricey, but a few times a semester wasn’t too much of a budget cruncher.  The small items (along with cold hard cash in a card) could be sent first class - cheaply.

Edited by Familia
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36 minutes ago, marbel said:

By the way, OP, I think that is such a nice idea!  Whether or not everything is a perfect fit does not matter; surely some will be hits and if there are misses, it's great to share with other room/suite/housemates.

ETA: Lip balm!  Flavored for the girl, plain generic chap stick for the boy.  🙂

I agree. I think there is just something so happy for a kid in college when a care package comes. It’s about so much more than the actual goodies inside. 

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Snack bowls (assorted sizes) - useful for keys, hair ribbons and other knick knacks, might come in useful for Halloween or block party as well

Whiteboard magnets - cute/inspirational ones. I didn’t have a whiteboard in my dorm room but I had fun decorating my dorm’s sliding windows’ frame with magnets. 

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1 hour ago, Familia said:

Boys seemed to like protein bars a lot! 

Girls: little treats for purse like scented hand sanitizer, lotion, lip balm and fancy mints.  

 

 

My dd would be much more excited about protein bars over the toiletries for her purse.  My sons would like all of that stuff (except not feminine scents of hand sanitizer/lotion).  

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For both genders - seasonal boxer shorts - they are great for wearing around the dorm - Target carries thematic ones around the holidays and American Eagle is great - hearts, pumpkins, Star Wars, flamingos, shamrocks, etc.

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When my son was in college, I would usually include a small "toy" for him to fidget with - like a little LEGO set, or a tiny model he could put together. I also sent Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty - I chose one of the more unusual colors. He really liked having these small things to play with. Another thing he appreciated were toiletries, because that meant he didn't have to spend his own money on them - so a tube of toothpaste & a new toothbrush, or razor blades, for example. In the winter I sent him a travel mug and some really good hot chocolate mix. I sent his favorite snacks - Oreo's, Ritz Chips. At this time of year, a variety bag of Halloween candy might be good. At ds' uni, the children of uni employees did trick or treat in the dorms one day before Halloween.

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20 hours ago, Bambam said:

I've thought about this, but seriously the cost of postage has me searching Amazon for various things to just send with free shipping. I'd love to make cookies and ship them, but I don't want to pay $8 to ship them! 

 

 

 

I sent this to my son at camp this summer.  I paid $22.99 for it because there was a coupon, and it was delivered in around 24 hours.  I didn't have to box it up, or spend gas to go to the post office, or pay the postage.  I thought it was a pretty good deal.  

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0754M9LZT/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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My ds19 wanted me to send him some work gloves.  I bought the gloves on amazon, but it was not enough for free shipping.  I ordered a large bag of his favorite candy -- it was the same price as at the store -- which bumped us to free shipping.  The candy cost a bundle for me to ship to him last year, so I was thrilled to get to send him candy without spending $$ on shipping.  Also, they ship the chocolate with a cool pack of some sort so the candy doesn't melt.  This was really great to learn.  I will no longer be shipping him candy from home, but I will send it through amazon when I can add something to it to get free shipping and I won't have to worry about  him receiving melted chocolate. 

Edited by Junie
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Stickers and decals can be good. They're cute or funny but don't take up space. They're pretty cheap so no big deal if they don't get used as intended. It can be amusing to award 'adulting' stickers to friends: Did not have ramen for dinner! 

One of my college kids loves to get stationery supplies. Planning stickers and washi tape are always needed. She got a kick out of the 'profanity pencils' I sent; they are really nice pencils, deep black with gold lettering for a professional look, but when you look closer you realize the lettering is not a business slogan or motivational phrase. Clearly not for everyone, lol. 

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Amazon has ready made care packages.  I've sent one of the gluten free boxes before and it was a hit. 

Oldest dd loves tea.  I sent her a tea advent calendar last Christmas and she is already dropping hints about getting another one this Christmas.  I've also sent her a pretty tea cup/honey sticks/and her favorite tea (all from amazon).  I've also sent her stress balls, heat packs, bath salts. 

Youngest I've sent a Build a Bear college care package.  She has asked for a little lego set. 

Other ideas:  socks, Starbucks gift cards, laundry pods, mechanical pencils, aloe infused gloves, thinking putty

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4 hours ago, Junie said:

  Also, they ship the chocolate with a cool pack of some sort so the candy doesn't melt. 

 

One thing I'll say about this, and I don't know if my situation was an aberration, but I recently ordered a bag of chocolates on amazon with the cold pack, and then I had to sign for the packages.  I was really surprised since the chocolates were only $9.95.  The cold packs were pretty much melted by then, too.  I'm guessing I had to sign to prove that the chocolate arrived in a timely manner?

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1 hour ago, Serenade said:

 

One thing I'll say about this, and I don't know if my situation was an aberration, but I recently ordered a bag of chocolates on amazon with the cold pack, and then I had to sign for the packages.  I was really surprised since the chocolates were only $9.95.  The cold packs were pretty much melted by then, too.  I'm guessing I had to sign to prove that the chocolate arrived in a timely manner?

Not sure.  Ds19 hasn't picked his up yet from the campus post office.

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3 hours ago, HollyDay said:

<snip>

Oldest dd loves tea.  I sent her a tea advent calendar last Christmas and she is already dropping hints about getting another one this Christmas.  I've also sent her a pretty tea cup/honey sticks/and her favorite tea (all from amazon).  I've also sent her stress balls, heat packs, bath salts. 

<snip>

Thanks for mentioning this. I found an assorted teas and honey stick package on Amazon for my daughter.  She has 3 roommates so I'm pretty sure if there is a tea she doesn't like, someone will.  And she loves honey sticks, always likes to get a few at farmers markets and such where she can just buy one or two! 

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On 9/6/2019 at 3:15 PM, Lori D. said:

Thank you! Dd has a birthday coming up, and I need to put together a couple of little surprises for her to open. Surely I’ll find something good on this list! (The big birthday gift is that she and her father have tickets to the Jane Goodall lecture this month in D.C.!) 

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On 9/6/2019 at 8:44 PM, Myra said:

For both genders - seasonal boxer shorts - they are great for wearing around the dorm - Target carries thematic ones around the holidays and American Eagle is great - hearts, pumpkins, Star Wars, flamingos, shamrocks, etc.

Wow, how warm are the dorm rooms kept? Pumpkins are presumably for Hallowe'en?

My boys have appreciated coffee cards.

Edited by Laura Corin

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22 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Wow, how warm are the dorm rooms kept? Pumpkins are presumably for Hallowe'en?

At one of my kid's schools, the air conditioner is likely to be running at Halloween. At my other kid's school, the air conditioner will definitely be running, lol. No heating needed to run around the dorm in boxer shorts. 

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