Blinky Grid is a 7x8 LED grid kit from Wayne&Layne that has an ingenious method of programming. Instead of connecting it directly to your computer using old fashioned 'wires' - the board is held up directly to your computer screen, and an easy-to-use web page will 'blink' in the text or image you want. Its a fun and simple kit but with the bonus that you get to make it look the way you want when done, without a microcontroller programmer!
This is a great beginner kit, easy to make even if you are have never soldered before. You will need basic hand tools such as a soldering iron, solder and diagonal cutters. Then to program, use any computer with a FireFox or Chrome web browser. You'll have a finished custom blinky in under an hour!
There's a lot more information including soldering tutorial, programming page, schematics and more at the Blinky Grid Page