Play with Me Sesame is a 24-minute program that premiered on April 1, 2002. It features a framing structure starring Grover, Prairie Dawn, Ernie and Bert while also showcasing old inserts from Sesame Street.
The first two seasons were produced for Noggin, and contained 26 and 52 episodes, respectively. In the second season, Cookie Monster, Ernestine, Slimey, and Zoe started making occasional appearances on the show. Chicago the Lion also made at least one appearance. The third and final season was produced solely by Sesame Workshop with 26 episodes. The show aired on Sprout until 2016.
A typical show follows this format:
- Ernie Says ... (similar to "Simon Says")
- Classic Muppet clip
- Prairie Dawn showcases drawings made by kids
- Classic Muppet clip
- Bert plays on the computer
- Classic Muppet clip (a song segment)
- Bert shows computer-generated "oatmeal art" submitted by kids
- Classic Muppet clip (an Ernie and Bert segment)
- Finale: Grover invites the viewer to dance with him (occasionally includes a classic clip)
Other airings of the show (including those on PBS Kids Sprout) include a fifth insert, removing Prairie's segment. The Sprout airings featured her segment only during The Sunny Side Up Show, where it would cut to in-studio art presentations.
For the third season, the format was altered in many ways. "Ernie Says" was replaced with a series of interactive games with Ernie, Prairie Dawn's segment focused on music instead and Grover's musical segment would be preceded by a series of set-up scenes shown throughout the show.
- In Britain, the series is modified to include Domby and Kit; see Play With Me Sesame (UK).
- When Play with Me Sesame aired on the Hallmark Channel in Asia in October of 2003, the Prairie Dawn segments were cut out.
- In Denmark the show was included as its own segment on Sesamgade.
- Baghch-e-Simsim in Afghanistan includes locally-produced live action segments.
- Broadcast in over 50 countries, the series is currently seen on such networks as Disney UK, Disney Asia, ABC Australia, YTV/Treehouse Canada, Cartoon Network India, MiniMini (as part of Sezamkowy Zakątek, known as Bawmy się, Sezamku, or "Let's Play Sesame"), Minimax, Magma, and Rai Sat Italy. Small portions of the show are used and dubbed for episodes of international coproductions of Sesame Street, including Plaza Sésamo, Sesamstrasse, Ulitsa Sezam, Rechov Sumsum, and Sesamstraat.
- Fran Brill as Prairie Dawn and Zoe
- Eric Jacobson as Bert and Grover
- David Rudman as Cookie Monster, Ernestine and Chicago (Season 2)
- Steve Whitmire as Ernie (Seasons 1 and 3)
- John Tartaglia as Ernie (Season 2)
- Pam Arciero
- Lisa Buckley
- Tyler Bunch (Season 3)
- Jim Martin
- Carmen Osbahr
- Matt Vogel
- Producer and Director: Jocelyn Hassenfeld, Nadine Zylstra (Season 3)
- Head Writer: Karen Kuflik, Christine Ferraro (Season 3)
- Writers: Joey Mazzarino (Season 3), Cathi Rosenberg-Turow (Season 3)
- Puppet Wranglers: Andrea Detwiler, Michelle Hickey, Lara MacLean
- Music Composers: Mike Renzi, Russell Velazquez