Wizard101.com is an online game in which the player creates his/her own wizard character to enter the magical world of The Spiral. Here, each wizard navigates the streets of this mystical place, battling evil creatures, taking direction from different schools of magic, and completing quests while amassing treasure and experience. Players get to customize their own wizard, choosing everything from hair and eye color to outfit and jewelry. The graphics are colorful and engaging, and the free version of this game offers surprising depth and complexity. There are options to buy a membership to the site, which unlocks even more worlds and other options, but I think that the site's "never-ending free trial" is more than sufficient to keep my kids busy.
Players are encouraged to make friends and work together to complete quests. The site allows player-to-player menu chatting or, with a parent's permission, text chatting with limitations for security. Each wizard has a special set of skills and magical spells, based on the type of wizard he or she is and the magical training they've completed.
When I first heard about this site, I created my own wizard character and played for a while to make sure it was appropriate for my 8 and 9 year old kids. I have to tell you that I really had a great time checking it out! The site touts itself as appropriate for children ages 6-106, and I'd say that's pretty darn accurate. If you're looking for a fun diversion for yourself or your child, check it out!