Should children be shown images of humans and animals since they may learn from them?.
The basic principle concerning image-making is that it is haraam except for that which has become unavoidable because it has become so widespread. So it is not permissible for the Muslim to make images of human beings or animals or any animate being, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the image-makers as narrated in al-Bukhaari, 5374. And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Every image-maker will be in Hell.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2225; Muslim, 2110. And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him): “Do not leave any image without erasing it.” (Narrated by Imam Muslim, 969).
If children need to look at images of human beings or animals, whether these are photographs or images on video tapes, if that is for a purpose – such as children or adults looking at pictures of our brothers in Palestine, Chechnya or Afghanistan – there is nothing wrong with a child looking at some pictures in order to learn. But we should also tell the child that making images is haraam and that this is only done by way of necessity, so that the child will grow up knowing the shar’i ruling.
And Allaah knows best.