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Have kids? Drop everything, and pack these 10 things in your car ASAP. (Image: Thinkstock)

Ten summer car packing essentials

The recent heat wave has sent our family to the beach at least once every few days. Sometimes that means we spend all day in the sand. Sometimes it means we grab take out and just enjoy dinner lakeside in the grass. However you spend these hot summer days, I find it is always a good idea to keep my car stocked for any summer adventure that comes our way!

Baby Powder. This is my number one item for summer. There is NO easier way to get sand off of skin than by covering the area with baby powder. Sticky sand brushes off in no time with a quick coating of baby powder!
Swimsuit. We always keep an extra suit for each kid in the back of the car. After a few beach stops where the plan to just dig in the sand for a few minutes ended with two fully clothed kids drenched from head to toe, we decided it was worth it to be prepared.
Sweatshirt. A sweatshirt seems like the last thing anyone wants to touch in this heat, but keep an extra one in the car. If you end up staying out later than planned and the sun sets or if your kid is blue lipped from cold water, a sweatshirt will come in handy.
Sunscreen. We all know to sunscreen up before we head to the beach or playground, but Pacific Northwest summer days can go from overcast to scorching in the blink of an eye. Keeping sunscreen in the car ensures everyone will stay protected from surprise rays. Also, when the one in your bag runs out at the worst possible time, you will have a backup on hand.
Towel. Much like the extra swimsuit, keep an extra towel in the car just in case someone ends up wet when it wasn't planned.
Pop up mesh laundry basket. You can find these at the dollar store or Target and they are great for storing summer beach toys in the car. After a long day of play, throw the toys in the basket and give it a hearty shake. Most of the sand will come off of the toys and fly out of the basket. Your car will stay a tad cleaner and you are ready for the next beach day.
Heat-proof snack. Everyone seems to get "hangry" (hungry and angry) a bit faster in the heat. Ward off freakouts by keeping an emergency snack in the car.
Extra set of clothes. Everything is more fun and messier in the summer. Ice cream, dirt, seaweed, ripe fruit juice, and sand are just a few of the things that are coating one or all of the kids every day from June to August. Keep a fresh set of clothes in the car because sometimes they (and you) are just too dirty to go on.
Waterproof bag. This can be as simple as a garbage bag or as fancy as a lined reusable zippered bag. We have covered the fact that things will get wet. Don't forget to keep a safe place to store them.
First aid kit. We always have a basic first aid kit in the car, but we have a larger one we use in the summer. It includes extra bandages and disinfecting wipes for those inevitable cuts to the feet. We also include a 2nd Skin blister pack because tender feet, sandals, and long walks often end in a blister for at least one of us. Finally, we add an extra large tube of aloe vera to soothe red skin.