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The Arduino Inventor's Kit from Sparkfun is a great way to get started with programming and hardware interaction with the Arduino programming language. The kit includes everything you need to complete 16 circuits. The full-color Guidebook (free download) contains step by step instructions of how to connect each circuit with the included parts. Full example code is provided.
With this version 4.0, components are introduced in the context of the circuit you are building, and each circuit builds upon the last, leading up to an autonomous robot.
The difference between the other Sparkfun Inventor's Kit is that this kit has the original Arduino Uno R3 SMD, but no booklet.
More information is available on the website of Sparkfun.