ESP8266-12Q getting started help

Hello, I got an ESP8266 for a few bucks, and I am not sure how to start working with it.
My idea is simple, I send some values to it and it forwards it to Arduino's program, for starters controlling LEDs.
Where do I start. Do I need to flash a new firmware on it? How do I connect it, and as far as I've seen I can program it over arduino IDE(but does that mean it's connected through arduino)?

Thanks in advance

My idea is simple, I send some values to it

From where?

From a pc