I've made a memory quilt for each of my kids as they've gone on to college. It represents things from their first 18 years at home. Here is the one I made my daughter this year.
I'm not sure you could do it since time is an issue, but I collect squares of fabric that represent their interests...collected for some time. I've done that because I've been too afraid to try applique, which would be fantastic.
Anyway, I've done this with my first three kids and will continue to collect fabrics as my younger two expand their interests. For example, my youngest son is getting into ping pong. I'll try to find some ping pong fabric and make sure his quilt has a square of that.
This is the overview. I made a twin sized quilt.
Here is a closeup. I used 6" squares