I am helping with my friends first robot! He primaily wanted tractor treads and an Arduino "because he heard they were good" ( I didn't disagree with him. :-)
We decided on an inexpensive kit was a good starting point and then it can be expanded later.
Our choice was the BrutusBot and electronics package (looks like I get to solder 2 boards, lucky me...). It was fairly cheap.
He seems good in the programming and mechanical areas, he isn't so good with the electronics part (he does fine with some guidance).