Santa — joined by some of his reindeer — has water-skied on the Potomac River since 1986. Head to Alexandria, Virginia, to see him on Christmas Eve this year. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Winter break is almost here for most kids in the Washington area. So it’s worth asking: Do you know what you’re doing these next few days? Putting the finishing touches on your gingerbread house, perhaps? Making your own hot chocolate, with extra marshmallows?

If you start feeling cooped up inside, KidsPost has a few suggestions for activities that’ll get you out of the house (and even out to the water). If that’s not enough, you also can catch one of our holiday movie recommendations, build your own snow-globe craft or visit the illuminated National Zoo.

Celebrate with science

Learn how to make your favorite “Star Wars” sound effects or experiment with hot chocolate as part of the Maryland Science Center’s “12 Days of Science.” Each day features a different workshop or demonstration, leading to a party at noon on New Year’s Eve with crafts, noisemakers and a performance by the rock band Milkshake.

Thursday-Jan. 2. Maryland Science Center, 601 Light Street, Baltimore. $18.95-$23.95. mdsci.org.

Hear the sounds of the season

If your favorite part of the holidays is the music, try attending a free concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. You can even join in the hallelujah chorus of composer Handel’s “Messiah” at a special singalong performance Friday (December 23). Watch a jazz jam session on Christmas Day, or stop by Monday or Dec. 27 for Holiday Vaudeville, a show that mixes comedy, juggling and traditional Eastern European music known as klezmer.

The U.S. Botanic Garden's “Season's Greenings” exhibition features model trains and flowery models of national parks and landmarks. (U.S. Botanic Garden)

Nightly, 6 p.m. Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street NW. Free. kennedy-center.org.

See Santa ski

For 31 years, Santa has let off steam on Christmas Eve by water-skiing down the Potomac River. Incredibly, old man Kringle has never fallen into the water. Watch from the waterfront in Alexandria, Virginia, to see whether he can continue his dry streak. You might even spot his reindeer and that mean Mr. Grinch.

Saturday (Christmas Eve), 1 p.m. Old Town Alexandria, between King and Oronoco streets. Free. waterskiingsanta.com

Let your holiday spirit grow

The U.S. Botanic Garden’s annual “Season’s Greenings” show decks out this glass-domed garden with colorful poinsettias and a towering, decorated tree. Be sure to check out the model trains that whir past models of national parks and historic places — think Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty — made entirely from plants and natural materials. Stay late on Tuesdays or Thursdays to catch a concert.

Through Jan. 2. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue SW. Free. usbg.gov.

Go ice-skating

You don’t need to chassé, twizzle or land toe-loop jumps to have fun at an outdoor ice rink. A warm sweater certainly helps, though. Try the rinks at Washington Harbour in Georgetown, which has two-for-one admission Tuesday evenings, or the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden on the Mall.

One of the best places to ice skate in Washington is at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden rink on the Mall. (Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)

Washington Harbour, 3050 K Street NW. $9-$16. washingtonharbour.com. National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue NW. $7.50-$11.50. nga.gov.