Breadboards and perfboards make is easy to build all kinds of electronics, but they're not exactly easy to understand at a glance. Adafruit has a video that walks you through the basics.
Breadboards are a staple of DIY projects because they allow you to test your electronics without permanently attaching anything. This means you can test away without every touching a soldering iron. Once you're done with the prototyping, you'll move all those electronics over to a perfboard and solder them in. The video makes it all pretty easy to understand it all.