The latest trend among chip manufacturers is to sell really inexpensive development boards. Thanks primarily to mobile phones, components are getting smaller and smaller so bread-boarding is often out of the questions. You don’t just pull out your soldering iron to attach six leads to a component that measures 2 by 2 mm. The best way to work a new part into your design is to buy a development board. I think most manufacturers now charge less than USD 50 for processor development boards. If you don’t need a development board, they will give you samples of most any part for free. Unless they are National Semiconductor who won’t even let you view their promotional material if you don’t register first with a corporate-looking email address. My advice: forget manufacturers who has their head up their ass.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.