You want an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, at least you should, they’re pretty awesome. So why not take this opportunity to buy one and help Adafruit give one to Black Girls Code at the same time. For a limited time, when you go to this page and buy a Circuit playground express for the normal $24.95, Adafruit will send one to the organization Black Girls Code, which helps empower women of color ages 7-17.

If you’ve never seen a Circuit Playground Express, check out this feature list. In my personal opinion, these are perfect for people just getting started, or for educational environments like classrooms.

  • 10 x mini NeoPixels, each one can display any color
  • 1 x Motion sensor (LIS3DH triple-axis accelerometer with tap detection, free-fall detection)
  • 1 x Temperature sensor (thermistor)
  • 1 x Light sensor (phototransistor). Can also act as a color sensor and pulse sensor.
  • 1 x Sound sensor (MEMS microphone)
  • 1 x Mini speaker with class D amplifier (7.5mm magnetic speaker/buzzer)
  • 2 x Push buttons, labeled A and B
  • 1 x Slide switch
  • Infrared receiver and transmitter – can receive and transmit any remote control codes, as well as send messages between Circuit Playground Expresses. Can also act as a proximity sensor.
  • 8 x alligator-clip friendly input/output pins
  • Includes I2C, UART, 8 pins that can do analog inputs, multiple PWM output
  • 7 pads can act as capacitive touch inputs and the 1 remaining is a true analog output
  • Green “ON” LED so you know its powered
  • Red “#13” LED for basic blinking
  • Reset button
  • ATSAMD21 ARM Cortex M0 Processor, running at 3.3V and 48MHz
  • 2 MB of SPI Flash storage, used primarily with CircuitPython to store code and libraries.
  • MicroUSB port for programming and debugging
  • USB port can act like serial port, keyboard, mouse, joystick or MIDI!

These boards have enough stuff already built in, that you can often complete multiple projects and learn many principles without having to buy additional parts. You can find tons of tutorials for getting started with this on the Adafruit Learning System.