An Arduino is a microcontroller that allows you to control external devices, in this case an old toy.
If you have never used or know what an Arduino is, that is not a problem for there are a lot of different tools out there that can help you get started. Programming Arduino by Simon Monk is one of the tools I used. This book is easy to read and it comes with a lot of helpful information. It tells you what an Arduino is, where it originated, different types of Arduinos, and most importantly it tells you how to program it. It also has a lot of helpful examples to make the learning easier.
Arduino has its own software you can use to program . Here is the download link if you wish to download it ( http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software ). The main programming language that Arduino software uses is C. If you have never used C before don’t panic, Programming Arduino by Simon Monk also teaches you the basics of C. If you don’t have access to Programming Arduino there is always tutorials in you tube or other website. Also the Arduino website has references and examples.