However, my current hot favourite is the Raspberry Pi (B+ model, no less).
If you've not heard of the Pi, here's the blurb from raspberrypi.org:
The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.All this from a device that is yours for around £30? Brilliant!
However, the next bit is most exciting for me:
What’s more, the Raspberry Pi has the ability to interact with the outside world, and has been used in a wide array of digital maker projects, from music machines and parent detectors to weather stations and tweeting birdhouses with infra-red cameras. We want to see the Raspberry Pi being used by kids all over the world to learn to program and understand how computers work.This is the fun part; I've been writing code for years, but everything I've written only existed inside the virtual world of the computer I was using. The Pi's GPIO connectivity quickly and relatively easily provides a way to have the Pi interact with the real world.
Today the camera for the Pi arrived and it takes only a few lines of Python to start capturing images or videos.
Next up is to order the 'cobbler' kit to start using the Pi's GPIO connector and getting busy with switches, LEDs, resistors and breadboard.
If you have any interest in coding at all, consider getting a Raspberry Pi.