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College Care Packages: Ideas for Fall Packages

College Care Packages:  Ideas for Fall Packages

Girl Version of College Care Package

Fall College Care Package for Daughter

Fall College Care Package for Daughter

My daughter is a senior in college this year (Bradley University in Illinois), but I don’t think they ever outgrow their love of receiving care packages.  She is somewhat nervous about being a senior and trying to figure out what comes next in her life, so the security of a college care package from home is perhaps as important now as when she was a freshman.

As far as what goes in a college care package….well, your knowledge of your own kid will determine most of it, but there are some key rules that I follow to give me a framework for ideas.  Here’s some of the tried and true ideas that work for me:

  1. Food:  All kids (people) like some kind of food in a care package.  My daughter is lactose intolerant, likes my cooking, and loves root beer.  Hence, I made her some root beer float brownies (recipe can be found here).  Really rich and moist and put in a hard plastic container to send.
  2. Non-academic reading material:  My daughter has been really interested in voting, but doesn’t have the time to watch and listen to the debates, so I included a (hopefully) non-partisan summary of a voters guide for her.  On the other end of the spectrum, she is obsessed with the reality show, Teen Mom, so included is a trashy magazine highlighting this show.
  3. School color accessories:  One of Tesla’s work study activities is managing the basketball team, for which she needs semi-dressy flats to wear at games.  Hence the shoes in her school colors.
  4. Love from mom:  The card was a perfect (and hilarious) rendition of our past conversations of supporting each other.  I know it will bring a smile to her face.  It’s always nice to add some love and supportive words of wisdom of your own in the card also.
  5. Money:  Speaks for itself.  Always welcome.  Never enough.
  6. Necessities and non essentials kids love to have but hate to spend money on:  For her I added some lotion, lipstick, and a shower brush; all things that she will use, but probably wouldn’t buy for herself right now.
  7. Aids for independence:  My daughter does not enjoy cooking for herself, but does enjoy food quite a bit.  I thought this recipe for “Mug Cakes” would be right up her alley.  They’re easy, quick, tasty and they use the microwave.  I included the recipe, the measuring spoons, an over-sized mug in her school colors, and most of the ingredients.  Recipes for all kinds of mug cakes can be found here.

Boy Version of Fall College Care Package

Fall College Care Package for my Son

Fall College Care Package for my Son

My son is a sophomore this year at Yale and, unlike his freshman year, he is now feeling like a old veteran at living away from home.  Unlike my daughter, the senior, being completely on his own is a long ways out there for him to be worried about jobs and security.   Life is pretty sweet for him right now.  In addition, he is an athlete, so his needs are a bit different.  Using the same general parameters for ideas, this is his fall college care package:

  1. Food:  Unlike his sister, he does not eat many sweet snacks.  There are a few treats that he enjoys however, but not much that is homemade.  I included his favorite spread (nutella) and a bucket of Sweet Martha’s cookies from the state fair (something he always indulges in).  The state fair outing has always been a traditional outing in our family that the kids now have to miss due to college, so the cookies double as a good memory.
  2. Non-academic reading material:  Last year, I got my son turned on to Men’s Health magazine, which he now has a subscription to.  I included Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal this year to see how he liked those.  I think he might enjoy Rolling Stone.
  3. School accessories:  Yale’s mascot is the bulldog, and I found this little vase of a bulldog at a garage sale.  Instead of putting flowers in it, I thought he might use it to burn some of the sweet grass included.  He likes to burn his dad’s sweet grass at home, and is really into “smell”.  Which reminds me, next time I’ll need to add some of those laundry crystals he loves to put in the washing machine for sweet-smelling clothes.
  4. Love from mom:  The “caring” card I got for Cooper was a congratulations card for winning a trophy in his first golf tournament of the year.  Everyone does love to be acknowledged for their accomplishments and you can usually find something to let your kid know how proud you are of them.
  5. Money:  Speaks for itself.  Always welcome.  Never enough.
  6. Necessities and non essentials kids love to have but hate to spend money on:  For him  I added some lotion and a scented candle (those good smells again).  He stocked up heavily on necessities while still at home on his dad’s dime, thinking ahead (even got an under-the-bed plastic tub to hold them all).
  7. Athlete’s Aids:  Gel pads for shoes (he’s always complaining about his feet hurting), Focus Zone powdered drink enhancer (apparently the go-to drink to enhance your golf game), and a hot-cold pack for sore muscles.

College care packages are fun, and personalizing them is so much more appreciated than the college care packages you can send from the school.  They may not like every item you send, but the fact that you were thinking specifically of them as an individual is a big deal to college kids (and most people in general actually).  Other care package ideas from last year can be found here.

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