My martial arts school is doing our annual 'technology camp'
One of the main things is letting the kids make a world in PS. There are 8 kids in the camp so there are 8 crystals to activate - each one is guarded by an enemy that each kid gets to make. Once you defeat the enemy you gain some new powerup like a sword or heart or something.
The kids are so excited - oddly 4 of the 8 have heard of PS or used it before. One kid deleted it though because he couldn't figure out what it was for. All the kids are super excited - "How much does this game cost?" "Can you let me borrow it?" "How can I play our level at home?"
It is fun - the thing about PS is that it takes a long time to get good at it, but once you are you can make games really quickly.
Great, the internet ate my 3 paragraph reply. TLDR - too long didnt re-type. It's an amazing and valuable tool for teaching and learning object-oriented programming. It's a real shame TD/MS didn't support it in this manner by producing accompanying learning materials. It's also a shame they let it die in favor of the much less capable Minecraft.
btw, dont know if you're connected to a network there, but the XBL club Project Spark Team would be a great place for your kids to talk about their projects, get feedback, and show off what they've done. And also to see what other people are currently doing with PS.
I never did figure out why that world kept crashing.... but you know what's weird? I just let the kids play crossroads and they LOVED it. I think as a more serious developer, we can tend to overlook crossroads. I hadn't played it in a while, but for kids just starting out, I forgot how amazing even that program was for 8-10 year olds just learning programming concepts.
I also didn't play the final implementation until long after I was sick of it. I also never saw it as a way to learn Project Spark since I was too busy either grinding for credits or testing it for bugs. So, I really NEVER saw it the way it was intended.