A Breadboard Electronics Starter Kit for Teens and Beginners
Mallison's Bread Board Electronics Starter Kit is a great introduction to proper electronics but without the need to solder.
A breadboard is a plastics board that is pre-wired so that you can just poke wires or the legs of components into the holes to connect them up into circuits. You don't need to use solder and you can easily reuse the components in new projects.
Breadboard is used by hobbyists and professionals to make prototypes of projects before they solder up a final version.
This is a proper electronics kit and it is possible to create short circuits and overheat components so care needs to be taken. Responsible teens should be capable of this, it's important that parents give appropriate supervision.
This Breadboard kit is a good way for a teenager or beginner to start working with proper electronics components. The kit comes with a few starter projects (and a few online) and has lots of components that can be used to create further projects of your own choice - either ones you find online or ones you design yourself (once you reach the appropriate skill level.)
You can buy components individually, but when you're getting started you don't know what to buy yet! This kit nicely packages a good range of beginner components that will get you started. Later you can add individual components when you have a specific project in mind.
Learning to solder is a fun and useful skill to have, but it's not necessarily one you need to be learning at the same time as you are getting to understand the principles of electronics.
I studied electronics as a teenager and I did learn to solder. This kit has been a great way for me to refresh my knowledge now that my kids are getting interested in electronics. I'll be sharing it with them when they get older.
Once you have the hand of bread board you can learn to solder your prototypes into a more permanent form.
An organizer like this with adjustable compartments is a great way to keep an electronics kit organized.
This video shows the kit in more detail so you can see how it works.