DIY Care Package Ideas for Kids in the Hospital or Facing Health Challenges

Brighten a sick kid's day with a comforting care package. You can show love and support to the family with these simple ideas.

Published November 2, 2023
Grandmother visiting her sick granddaughter in hospital

Show your support with a gift you put together yourself. What you put in a care package for a sick child (or for their parents) depends on the age of the kid and the situation they're facing, but we've got tons of great ideas for you to try. This is a super personal and meaningful way to show how much you care.

Creating a Care Package for a Child in the Hospital

Anyone who has spent a little time in the hospital knows it just doesn't really feel like home, and it can be boring too. Whether a child is facing an illness, serious medical condition, surgery, or other health challenge, giving them a gift basket with comforting items and things to do can help them feel loved and provide some distraction. We like packing everything in a reusable storage tote so it will be easy to take home when the time comes. What you put inside has to do with the age of the kid.

Care package

Toddler or Preschooler Hospital Care Package

When the littles are sick, it's all about comfort and entertainment. They might not have the energy for their normal active play, but these care package items can keep them busy and calm:

  • Weighted blanket
  • Bead-stringing kit or other simple, creative toy
  • Stuffed animal
  • Pretend doctor kit
  • Washable markers
  • Coloring book
  • Hospital gown or robe in fun print

Hospital Care Package for a Child in Elementary School 

Bigger kids need comfort too, especially when they're in the hospital. Put a few of these items in your care package:

  • Pillow pet or Squishmallow
  • Small craft kit or paint-by-number
  • Travel board game
  • Colored pencils
  • Coloring books or activity books
  • Stickers
  • Cute hospital gown or bathrobe

Tween and Teen Hospital Care Package

Tweens and teens will have their phones to play on, but even Instagram gets boring after a while. Show them a little love with these fun items:

  • Cute pillowcase
  • Adult coloring book
  • Colored pencils
  • YA book in their favorite series
  • Lip balm
  • Hospital gown or PJs
Quick Tip

Skip anything edible like candy or snacks, since you don't know what the hospital dietary restrictions will be. It's also good to avoid anything scented like body or hand lotions because some people are really sensitive to scents when they aren't feeling well.

Care Package for a Child With Cancer

Kids with cancer are facing a special challenge. Some of the items in their care package might be the same as what you'd put in a gift for a kid in the hospital, but others are specific to what they're going through. We like using a backpack or bag with handles for the "basket" part of the care package so they can bring the items with them for treatments. These are a few things you might want to include:

  • Cute or funny hats
  • Fuzzy socks to help warm cold feet
  • Blanket or fuzzy hoodie in case they feel chilly during treatments
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer in a cute bottle
  • Small framed pictures of family or pets
  • JZips shirts to allow access to ports so kids don't have to wear a hospital gown
  • Coloring and activity books
Quick Tip

Cancer treatments can make kids more sensitive to smells and can cause mouth sores. They may also have dietary restrictions. Don't include flowers, anything scented, candy or treats, or balloons (latex allergies are common).

Care Package Ideas for Parents of Sick Kids

Having a sick child can be incredibly stressful, and it's nice to support the parents too. Let them know you're thinking of them with a care package that focuses on their needs and self-care. You can use any kind of basket, but we like a simple tote that can be easy to grab when they go visit kids in the hospital or take them to appointments. Include some of these items:

  • A book you know they'll enjoy
  • Favorite tea
  • Travel mug
  • Offer of help running errands or taking care of things around home
  • Gift certificate for a massage
  • A book of crossword puzzles

Gifts for Siblings of Kids Dealing With Medical Issues

Having a sick sibling can be really hard. The sick child gets a lot of attention (understandably), and that can leave siblings feeling left out and sometimes bored. Keep them busy with a care package packed in a mini backpack or small suitcase. They can bring it along on appointments. Here's what we like to include:

  • A great book or series of books
  • Coloring books
  • Washable markers or colored pencils
  • Blank journal or sketchpad
  • Snacks
  • Small toys like little cars, animals, or fidgets

Tips for What to Write With a Care Package for Kids & Families 

It's nice to include a tag or card with your care package for a sick kid, but it's important to think about the message you put on it. These tips can help:

  • Keep it cheerful and fun. A simple and cute "thinking of you" card is perfect.
  • Use a quote for kids dealing with serious medical challenges to add something inspiring or positive to your note.
  • Avoid "get well" cards for kids who may have a long recovery or who are struggling with cancer. This type of message can feel demoralizing for them.
  • A blank card with your own personal note is always great, especially if it's got something funny or super positive on the front.

Your Support Means So Much 

It's not always easy to know what to say or how to help a kid who is struggling with a medical issue, but a gift basket can be a really thoughtful present. Don't stress over what you include. Just putting together a care package for a sick kid is enough to show you are thinking of them and supporting them throughout their health journey. That means a lot.

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DIY Care Package Ideas for Kids in the Hospital or Facing Health Challenges