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College care packages should be food, fun... AND GAMES!

I can’t believe it’s already that time of year when college students move back to school and start the fall semester. So, as summer draws to a close, parents and students are thinking about school shopping, move-in day and freedom. When move-in day comes, students are excited to start a new chapter in their life, or, if they’re returning to sophomore, junior or senior year, they're excited to see their friends.

Parents are thinking, “Does my child have everything they need? Are they going to make friends? Will they adjust to the new environment, or do well in school?” All you can do is hope you raised them to enjoy the experience, learn something in their classes and meet great friends.

So, now you’re back home and your kids are off to college. What can you do to make them feel at home? Send them a care package! Toss in snacks like popcorn, candy, cookies and chips, and make sure you send enough to SHARE! Is there something missing? What if you could equip them with something fun that would bring value to their social experiences at school? What about a GAME? College students need a break from studying and want to have fun and laugh with friends. Games are a perfect answer.

What kind of games would fit well in a care package? Let’s step back for a minute. Think about what we know about college students. They’re constantly on the go, so their attention span is quite limited. They live in a digital world. Those on the younger side of the age range are likely to have grown up with some sort of anytime, anywhere, portable playing device. On their must-have list are games that can easily be packed up to bring to their friends' apartment. Games that come in smaller boxes are less clunky and easier to store in small dorm rooms.

This is a perfect way to encourage students to engage face-to-face with their friends and laugh. Games like Apples-to-Apples-To-Go, Bananagrams, MadGab and others bring students together for healthy social interaction. They make great icebreakers among students trying to meet and develop new friendships.

Send a game or two in those college care packages! The phone calls and emails and text messages from campus to mom and dad will surely include stories of how much fun they had playing. No doubt they’ll form new friendships and you’ll know they aren’t spending all their time with a screen.

Christen DiNapoli is a global brand marketer and forward-thinking leader who has brought fun and games into the Toy industry for over a decade. She is co-founder of CDK Creative Play Marketing and Design Consultants. Prior to that, she led a Project Management team, and helped bring hundreds of fun and innovative products to market. CDK has over 40 years of combined experience and a deep understanding of marketing and design in the toy and game industry.

Christen and her partners at CDK Creative Play help companies convert ideas, insights and trends - into games - and then help launch them into the marketplace. They have extensive understanding of game product design, taking into account costing and manufacturing barriers. They can provide deep insights on consumer segments including preschool, kids, puzzles, families, and adults. They understand how game companies operate and how to make compelling game presentations to key decision makers.

Contact Christen ( to learn more about how CDK Creative Play can help you grow your ideas.

Michelle Spelman is Editor and Inventor Relations Liaison for Chicago Toy & Game Group. She is a game inventor, and co-founder of Flying Pig Games LLC, cre

ators of award-winning Jukem Football card game. She is also founder of Cincinnati Game & Toy Industry Professionals group, and is the Cincinnati Children’s Toy Examiner. An independent marketing consultant providing contract services, executive coaching and strategic direction, she’s in her sweet spot when she is working with companies focused on women and family-oriented products and services.

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