In this paper, we contrast the early childhood education and care aims and curriculum in Norway and Australia and the theoretical underpinnings of Norwegian and Australian pedagogy in an attempt to partially explain the different approaches to (risky) outdoor play in these two countries. We argue that Norwegian pedagogical approaches may allow teachers to theorize more about, and place greater emphasis on, physical and motor development than teachers in countries such as Australia. Evidence includes reference to theories typically used in Norwegian and Australian writing. Additionally, we examine interview data from teachers, which reveals that both groups of teachers share similar understandings of the importance of risk-taking in play, but there is more consistency between belief and practice for Norwegian than Australian teachers. We argue that the differences in alignment of belief and practice in the two countries are partly attributable to the differing theoretical bases of teachers' pedagogical approaches in each country. These findings have implications for theorizing about outdoor play and learning. In particular, we argue that early childhood teacher training programmes should include approaches based on Gibsonian and Dynamic Systems theories.