Disclaimer: I'm not connected to these websites or brands even thought I use some of them. I'm offering links to good basic gear that you might find helpful. Feel free to do other research or purchase other brands, and by all means, if you can buy local, I hope you do!
There are all kinds of practice pads but I like basic rubber on a piece of wood. Some pads come with the percussion kit at school. They have a real drum head(see below). I'm not a big fan of those, but if you already have it, then use it! I like the larger pads because they are more stable. They can be cradled in a snare drum stand or rest right on the snare drum if you are warming up at the kit or need to be quiet. Volume control is a great reason to have a drum pad! If you are just starting and only a have a pad, you can place it on a coffee table or a chair in front of you. Just try to keep it close to waist level.
This is the kind of practice pad that might come with a school bell kit.
Practice Pad Sets:
Sometimes getting a real drum set is not an option. It could be too much of an initial investment, or it could be that you live somewhere that playing real drums won't work(you don't need a neighbor banging on your ceiling with a broom handle). A practice pad set can solve that and it's also not a bad place to start. They are quieter and cheaper than real drums.
A bass drum pedal does not come with the set so one will need to be purchased. Something like this would be fine.
You can learn a lot with a practice pad, a pair of sticks, and a little imagination. A magazine off to the side can be a hi-hat and tap you foot on the floor for the bass drum. Get a pad and a pair of sticks and get started!