I know nothing about robotics, can somebody give me a place to start? I need a hobby that can also teach me valuable skills, so this seems like a logical choice. Are there any kits that teach me along the way about programming and electronics?
The offerings from Parallax (parallax.com) are probably the most beginner-friendly.
For straight electronics, I like the “300-in-one”-type kits that used to be available in Radio Shack and other stores. They step you through many different circuits, and you get a lot of hands-on experience.