At the first Google I/O Youth program this year, we used a new open-source website, the Pencil Code Gym, and it was a smashing success!
The website is a place where beginners can create open-ended creative projects in graphics, music, or interactive fiction, all using a little bit of simple code.
It is based on Pencil Code, which means that you program in CoffeeScript with the Pencil Code editor and turtle library. It comes with lots of ideas, hints, and a nice on-line reference. The students who came through to use it had a wide range of backgrounds and knowledge, with many first-time coders and also a few experienced code-jockeys.
The kids were bold and tried every project we had to offer. I was surprised by the musical talent of some of the kids (check out the projects), and I particularly enjoyed working with the deaf kids who attended - some of the deaf kids even did musical projects.
You can see the projects put together by code gym students here, at the Code Gym Stage.