I think sometimes parents feel that every activity must have a purpose in order to be worthwhile. For example, you might be under the impression that if your child is to tear up little bits of paper, you should then get out the glue and make a collage.
Not so! Just let the kid tear up the paper, for heaven’s sake.
New Kid finds this so entertaining. I find ultra-cheap construction paper works the best. If you are feeling frugal (as I usually do) you can put the leftover bits in a shoebox for collage at a later date.
I guess the purpose of this activity is help Mom get through the day with her wits intact.