The ultimate care packages for your university student

Updated April 6, 2023 | Published November 18, 2018

Fall is almost upon us, bringing shorter days, cooler temperatures and quieter evenings, partly because teenagers have gone off to university.

When a child leaves home for university for the first time, it’s an adjustment for the entire family. Suddenly, there’s one fewer face at the dinner table and one cheery voice missing from the conversation.

For the student, it’s also a major change. Suddenly, they are living amongst peers. They’re facing new responsibilities that include studying, laundry, cleaning and making new friends. Undoubtedly, they’re a bit homesick—and you are missing them in return.

A student receiving a package

Create some cheer

While it’s important for you as parents to let your children fend for themselves and learn to handle the challenges that come their way, there’s no reason you can’t brighten their days and remind them that the folks at home are thinking of them. What better way to do that than by sending a care package?

While there are commercial services that will package and send all manner of gift items for a price, there’s nothing like a care package put together by loving hands with the recipient in mind.

It can be an enjoyable exercise for parents too, because you’ll smile as you look at each item and imagine your student’s delight in receiving it.

Even better, make the care package a family activity. Get everyone together, decide on a theme and brainstorm to come up with a list of items that fit the bill. Divide the list and the shopping responsibility or head out as a group.

Once the items are assembled, wrap them to add to the suspense and fun. Find a suitable box to hold the gifts, package them, and head to the post office or delivery service.

Stumped when it comes to deciding upon a theme for your care package? Never fear! One of the following ideas is sure to appeal to you, or at least spark your imagination.

Holiday hilarity care packages

Decorated mini pumpkins with teeth and eyes

If your child is going to be away for a holiday that you’ve always celebrated together, why not help them anticipate that event with joy, rather than sadness? Some holiday treats and a few decorations will add spirit to a dorm room.

Halloween, for example, comes a month or two after the start of school, and provides the perfect theme for a care package. Fill your box with:

  • Gummy pumpkins
  • Candy corn
  • Mini-chocolate bars
  • Ghoulish face paint
  • Spooky decorations
  • Spider web spray
  • Fake blood
  • A witch’s hat and black mask

Stop the stress care packages

Man with blue afro, green sunglasses and a water gun

Being away from home for the first time can be stressful, but so are the daily tasks a student faces: studying, assignments, papers and exams.

Why not assemble a stress-buster care package to lighten the mood as the pressure mounts? Here are some fun items to tuck into the box:

  • A Slinky
  • Water pistols
  • Card games, such as Uno, for study breaks
  • Silly string
  • A book of jokes or silly limericks

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Study session care packages

Group of men and women students studying together

Encourage your youngster to hit the books and keep on top of their homework assignments with a care package devoted to making studying easier and more enjoyable. This package might include:

  • A clip-on light that attaches to a textbook
  • Highlighters
  • Sticky notes and tabs for marking key pages
  • Pens and pencils with clever or attractive designs
  • Paper clips
  • A stapler
  • A soothing classical music CD
  • Noise-cancelling headphones

Kiss it better care packages

You may not be able to kiss your child’s bruised finger to take away the pain, but you can send along a care package with many of the first aid supplies your student may need if a cold, the flu or an injury slows them down.

First aid items can be pricey and may not be easy to purchase near campus, so you’ll be doing a good deed by sending a box that includes:

  • Aspirin or another pain medication
  • Adhesive and elastic bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Vitamins
  • Tea bags
  • Tissues

Come clean care packages

Close up of cleaning supplies stacked together

Your child is now responsible for keeping their room in residence clean, something that may be hard for a parent to imagine. Make it even easier for them to develop a cleaning routine by assembling a care package that includes the often-costly items they’ll need to police their lodgings:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets or wool dryer ball
  • Woolite for sweaters
  • Rubber gloves
  • Air freshener spray
  • Wipes for electronic devices
  • All-purpose cleaner for hard surfaces
  • Cloths for cleaning and dusting

No matter which theme you choose, there are a couple of items that every care package should include, because they are shorthand for love.

Homemade cookies are a real treat and are full of memories of childhood. A handwritten letter telling your child how proud you are of them and how excited you are about this new stage of their life is something that will be cherished long after the other contents of the box are forgotten.

So, what are you waiting for? Choose a theme, make a list and get shopping! Your student will be touched and delighted. Don’t forget, make sure you remind your student to protect their new belongings with contents insurance.

Want to learn more? Visit our Renter resource centre for more tips and information about life as a renter. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.


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