The SparkFun Inventor's Kit (SIK) is a great way to get started with programming and hardware interaction with the Arduino programming language. The SIK includes everything you need to complete 15 circuits that will teach you how to read sensors, display information on an LCD, drive motors, and more. You don't need any previous programming or electronics experience to use this kit.
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The full-color SIK Guidebook (included) contains step by step instructions of how to connect each circuit with the included parts. Full example code is provided and explained and even includes troubleshooting tips if something goes wrong.
The kit does not require any soldering and is recommended for beginners ages 10 and up. The new V3 version of the kit replaces the translucent red breadboard with an opaque white breadboard (now you'll be able to clearly see which socket you are inserting your hook-up wires into).